This story originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Car and Driver as part of our 25 Cars Worth Waiting For package. Our sneak preview of the most exciting cars coming in the next few years draws on knowledge from leaked product-development plans, spy photos, and loose-lipped insiders mixed in with information that has already been officially released. The reporting for this story was completed in February and early March, before the auto industry began feeling major effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As many automakers are now delaying or pausing development programs, the debut and on-sale dates reported here may change.
The Audi Q4 e-tron is one small piece of the Volkswagen Group's ambitious EV rollout, which should hasten the pace of EV development, offering drivers more choice, quicker charging, and longer range. It's smaller and cheaper that the e-tron and e-tron Sportback, and it's aimed at the core of the crossover market. The Q4 e-tron was initially previewed by a concept car (pictured) shown at the 2019 Geneva auto show. It will be the fourth electric Audi to come stateside but the first to use VW's MEB architecture designed exclusively for electric vehicles. VW claims that the platform will host 27 different models sold by four brands by 2022. It'll be powered by an electric motor on each axle backed by an 82.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Total output should be around 300 horsepower.
While the current e-tron delivers competitive real-world range, Audi needs to figure out how to boost its EPA figures or buyers may ignore the vehicles no matter how good they are to drive. The Q4 e-tron will compete against the likes of the BMW iNext, Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes-Benz EQC, and Tesla Model Y. The Q4 e-tron should arrive sometime in 2021 with a starting price around $45,000. That's nearly $30,000 cheaper than the 2020 Audi e-tron's starting price.