2022 Audi Q4 50 E-tron Quattro Review – Not Getting What You Pay For
2022 Audi Q4 50 e-tron quattro Fast Facts
Sixty-five grand doesn’t fetch you what it used to, it seems.
Yes, sure, prices inflate over time, we all know that. But even accounting for that fact, and even accounting for the fact that electric vehicles are commanding premium prices and likely will for the foreseeable future, I was nevertheless disappointed with the experience of being loaned a 2022 Audi 50 e-tron quattro* for a week.
*Odd capitalization courtesy of Audi.
Most of my disappointment involved the interior. The cabin’s design, which is heavy on angles, didn’t always have the luxury looks I would like, but then again, design is subjective. More concerning was the fact that too many materials didn’t feel price appropriate, along with the sense that it was a bit too obvious that Audi was using the Volkswagen parts bin.
Any sins committed on the inside could be forgiven with a better driving experience, but the Q4 disappointed here, too. Acceleration was just fine, thanks to the instantaneously available torque that comes with electric motors, but the handling can only be described as no better than competent. It’s not a chore to drive, exactly, and there’s some sport to be had, but I expected better from the Audi badge.
On the ride side of things, the Q4 tilts just over the edge into being a bit stiffer than I’d like for commuting. While stiff is preferable to soft when a car has sporting pretensions, it’s frustrating when the equation slides too far in one direction and bumps go from merely annoying to mildly unpleasant.
Overall, the dynamics feel a bit high-strung during gentle driving yet not quite as well-sorted as they could be when you push a little.
The suspension is MacPherson strut in front and four-link rear axle out back.
At least the Q4 is a looker from the outside – Audi’s angular design theme works well when it comes to the exterior sheetmetal. Certainly better than it does inside.
I’d be a bit less harsh about the minor disappointments regarding the driving dynamics if the cabin felt more luxurious – the Audi’s dynamic flaws annoy but aren’t deal breakers. Problem is, the presence of some downmarket materials at this price point is bothersome. At least the controls are generally easy to learn and use – and that includes the MMI infotainment system.
The drivetrain uses a permanent excited synchronous electric motor in the rear and an asynchronous electric motor up front. Maximum horsepower is 295 and the maximum range is listed at 242 miles. The battery is an 82 kWh lithium-ion unit and the car has a single-speed automatic transmission. Top speed is limited to 112 miles per hour.
DC fast charging should take you from 5 percent to 80 percent in 36 minutes while charging with 9.6 kW will take 9 hours and with 11.5 kW will take 7.5.
Standard features include MMI infotainment with a 10.1-inch screen, 19-inch wheels, Bluetooth, LED headlights and taillights, heated front seats, leather seats, a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, power tailgate, panoramic sunroof, and tri-zone climate control.
A Premium Package ($7,600) adds adaptive cruise control, augmented reality head-up display, heated steering wheel with regen paddles, Sonos audio system, hands-free operation for the power liftgate, satellite radio, wireless phone charging, and interior LED lighting. An S Line Plus package ($2,200) added 20-inch wheels, a flattened steering wheel, all-season tires, sport seats, roof rails, and more. With a few other small options, the test vehicle cost nearly $65K.
The idea of the Q4 makes sense – a small, sporty EV crossover with range enough for most commuters. The problem is that the base price is over $50K and the as-tested price made my eyes pop. On top of that, the car isn’t as well sorted, dynamically speaking, as Audis often are – I had a better experience with an A4 sedan not long ago – and the interior doesn’t feel worth the money.
The good news for Audi is that a few tweaks here and there could make this an attractive entrant into a burgeoning EV market. But for now, I’d shop elsewhere.
[Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC]
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