2023 Audi Q4 50 E-Tron
We review the all-electric 2022-2023 Audi Q4 in 50 e-tron Quattro guise
Audi’s answer to Tesla owners who don’t like Elon anymore and want to dump their car for another EV.
By Roy Nakano
Wed, Feb 22, 2023 01:14 AM PST
Featured Image: The all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron in front of the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA.
All photos are by the author.
Okay. So you’ve owned a Tesla Model 3 for the past half-decade. It’s time for a new ride. The Tesla’s been great, and moving up to the crossover SUV Model Y is a logical progression. But, the antics of its CEO and his preoccupation with Twitter is causing you grief, and frankly making Tesla ownership a bit embarrassing in your opinion. You’re sold on electric propulsion, but ready to consider another brand.
There are now lots of choices, including new electric vehicles from BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Genesis, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Polestar, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
And then there are the models from the first letter of the EV alphabet: Audi. They include its various e-tron models, from the S to the GT. But it’s the cheapest Audi that seems to be in the best position to draw the attention of non-Audi EV shoppers - the Q4 e-tron.
The Cheapest Electric Audi
At $49,800, the Q4 e-tron crossover SUV undercuts the cheapest Tesla crossover by $5,190 ($54,990 for the Model Y) - and that’s factoring in the recent price reductions announced by Tesla. The Q4 e-tron has a few other things in its favor worth noting.
First and foremost, the Q4 has good bones. It’s based on the Volkswagen ID4 platform, mechanics, and electric propulsion. So if you like the ID4, you’ll like the Q4 e-tron. Similar to the ID4, the Q4 e-tron is a jack-of-all-trades - not a standout in any one category, but it’s an all-around good performer as a family crossover SUV. And that includes the superior ride quality of the ID4. The Q4 suspension is tuned for more responsive handling than the ID4, but it’s still more comforting than the stiff ride of the Model Y.
It’s Bigger Than You Think
The alpha-numeric designation of Q4 suggests this vehicle slots between the Q3 and Q5 in size. However, the Q4 is actually roomier than the Q5 in certain areas. The Audi Q4 e-tron has more legroom up front and in the rear than the Audi Q5. There’s 41.2 inches of front-row legroom in the Q4 e-tron versus 40.9 inches in the Audi Q5. In the rear, the Audi Q4 etron has 38.3 in of legroom versus the Audi Q5's 38 inches. Counting the mirrors, the Q4 is also wider than the Q5, albeit the Q5 has about two inches in length over the Q4.
Like many electric vehicles, the Audi Q4 e-tron can be had with a panoramic sunroof. These are great to provide an open, airy view for drivers and passengers alike. For some reason, many of the more popular electric vehicles don’t have a shade for when things get too hot during certain parts of the summer (the Mach-E and all of the Teslas come to mind). Thankfully, the panoramic sunroof in the Audi Q4 e-tron comes with a motorized shade for those times when the sun is unwelcome. It can also open up to help draw in fresh air.
Audis are known for their interior aesthetics, and the Q4 interior is certainly Audi-esque. The dashboard dazzles, and accent lights are pretty. For many, it’ll be a refreshing change from the stark interiors of the Tesla Models 3 and Y.
On the other hand, there are some slight-of-hand optical illusions taking place here. From afar, the interior doors are attractively sculptured and accent light-illuminated. Look closer and you’ll find most of the door is hard plastic. This may be easier to overlook in a $49,800 car, but our test car (equipped with Audi’s Prestige and S-line plus packages) carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price just north of $60,000. For a $60,000 car, hard plastic doors are unbecoming - especially one carrying an Audi badge.
Not For Drag Racing
If you plan on weaning yourself off of Tesla in favor of the base Audi Q4 e-tron, you’ll need to be okay with doing without the ability to win the stoplight drag races. The base Audi goes from 0-60 mph in a leisurely 8.3 seconds. That’s similar to the VW ID4. By comparison, the Model Y will do it in a neck-snapping 4.8 seconds. The dual motor AWD Q4 50 e-tron quattro will close the gap in 5.8 seconds, but it starts at $55,200 - $210 more than the Model Y’s $54,990. Bottom line: If winning the stoplight drag races is high on your priorities, look elsewhere.
The State of Charging
You’ll also need to be okay with having less than ideal access to Tesla’s state-of-the-art charging network. “Less than ideal” because Tesla is opening up its network to non-Teslas, but you’ll need an adaptor and it won’t necessarily mean you can just plug it in and expect the charger to know your account and be able to start charging. That day may come, as the Feds work to standardize the operation of charging stations. In the meantime, if out-of-town travel is a part of your regular routine, sticking with Tesla is still be the best way to go if you insist on pure electric propulsion.
The good news is you can still go out of town when the occasion arises. The network of non-Tesla charging stations continues to grow. The Q4 e-tron is fitted with DC fast charging capability, allowing you to go from 5 to 80 percent charging in about 36 minutes. Better still, if you’re like most consumers, the Q4 e-tron range of 241 miles (for the dual motor AWD) and 265 miles (for the single-motor FWD) is more than enough to take care of your Southern California commuting needs without the need to rely on any charger except the one in your garage.
But as an added level of comfort and convenience, Audi provides 250 kWh of complimentary charging via the network of Electrify America stations to Q4 e-tron customers for up to two years from the date of sale.
Audi vs Tesla vs Volkswagen
So how does the Audi Q4 e-tron fare amongst the Tesla and non-Tesla competition? If the 0-60 mph derby is not your priority, the Q4 e-tron base model is a good buy. It builds on the inherent goodness of the VW ID4, improving on its operating interface, and wrapping it around an attractive and unmistakable Audi look. And for the time being, the Q4 e-tron is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, effectively making this a $42,300 proposition. That’s $6,381 less than the average price of a new car, according to Kelly Blue Book.
Of course, if you really want to save money, take a look at the Volkswagen ID4. It’s essentially a Q4 without the fancy Audi trimmings. VW now makes the base ID4 in the USA, reducing the price to $37,495. Factoring in the federal tax credit, that brings the ID4 down to below $30,000 - making it an incredibly good buy.
The Bottom Line
Turning back to the Audi, the Q4 e-tron is less of a bargain as you add on the accouterments. Going from the Q4 40 e-tron to the Q4 50 e-tron quattro, for instance, drops your 0-60mph time by 2.5 seconds and comes with all-wheel drive. It also raises the price to $55,200. And if you insist on all the trimmings that come with the Prestige and S-line plus packages, expect to be pushing $60,000.
My suggestion? Aim for the base model. You’ll still get a car with a lot of features (e.g., wireless smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED interior lighting package, etc.), while undercutting the average price of car by several thousands of dollars.
Specifications That Matter
2022-2023 AUDI Q4 E-TRON
$49,800 for the Q4 40 e-tron Premium (single motor, rear-wheel drive)
$55,200 for the Q4 50 e-tron Premium (dual motor, all-wheel drive)
$60,090, for the Q4 50 e-tron quattro, as tested (dual motor, all-wheel drive, with Prestige and S-line plus packages)
EPA fuel economy ratings
Propulsion: pure electric
Electric range: 265 miles (single motor) and 241 miles (dual motor)
Charging speed: 5%-80% in 36 minutes
0-60mph: 8.3 seconds (single motor, RWD)
0-60mph: 5.8 seconds (dual motor, AWG)
EPA size classification: Standard sport utility vehicle
You can find more information on the Audi Q4 e-tron in both “40” (rear-wheel drive) and “50” quattro (all-wheel drive) versions here.
About The Author
Roy Nakano gave birth to LACar in the late '90s, having previously delivered LA Audio File back in the '80s. Aside from the occasional review, Roy likes to stray off the beaten automotive path: "Six Degrees of Reparations" reflected on the regretful ethical paths taken by car companies throughout history. "Traveling Through the Past and Present of the Green Book" looked at businesses that took a stand against racism and the man that wrote the book on where to find them. "Best Cars to Drive in Rush Hour Traffic" was an LACar guide published in the pre-GPS era. "In Search of the First Datsun 510 Tuner" looked at one of the milestones in the origin of import tuners.