Displaying items by tag: Audi
You know how they say never buy the first version of a new Apple product? Perhaps a similar golden rule should be applied to electric cars.
The first model based on the VW Group's entry-level electric platform, the VW ID.3 released last summer, had a premature, unfinished edge to it. But every new MEB derivative launched since then has bettered the previous version. The ID.4 is quantifiably more appealing than the hatchback, the Skoda Enyaq is more convincing overall than both Volkswagens, and now the Audi Q4 e-Tron raises the bar for looks, perceived quality, driveability and performance.
Before we get into that...
Yes, some headline specs. Built in Zwickau on the same line as the ID twins, Audi's entry-level e-SUV is also offered in Sportback guise, with a slightly more coupe-like shape and a drag coefficient of 0.26. In the UK, prices for the Q4 e-Tron start at £40,750, and for the quattro version begin at £51,370. Sportback pricing has yet to be confirmed. but expect to pay a couple of grand more.
The line-up available at launch time consists of two rear-wheel-drive versions, the '35' and '40', rated at 168bhp/229lb ft and 201bhp/229lb ft as well as the 295bhp/339lb ft quattro edition, the '50', which sports a bigger 77kWh (net) battery, and a second motor ready to drive the front wheels should traction issues or performance itches arise.
We're driving the 50 quattro here. The 295bhp Q4 manages to win the 0-62mph acceleration derby against the 308bhp e-Tron SUV by 6.2 against 6.8sec. More important still, its maximum range of 305 miles compares favourably to the 213 miles recorded to WLTP rules for its bigger brother.
While the smaller 55kWh (42kWh net) energy pack installed in the 35 e-Tron can be charged with up to 100kW, the 40/50 e-Tron accept a maximum dose of 125kW. A 10-minute plug-in stint typically extends the range by 80 miles. The official consumption spectrum ranges from 3.0 to 3.8 miles per kWh, which barely differs from the e-Tron GT.
These numbers show that yesterday's plug-in heroes are overtaken left, right and centre by newer models boasting more advanced batteries, motors and software.
What else makes the Q4 e-Tron stand out?
Surprisingly, the electric counterpart of the Q3 even beats the pricey e-Tron GT as far as interior design and the overall craftsmanship are concerned, not to mention the fact that the top-of-the-line Q4 50 e-Tron quattro costs over £10k less than the base full-size e-Tron SUV, which is 300mm longer but not dramatically roomier inside.
The Q4 cockpit, then, is a class act, with some exceptions: the silly iPod volume control, the available quartic steering wheel (again, standard with the top two trims) and the unpadded armrest and centre console where long legs typically come to rest. Up front, there is enough room to swing a tiger kitten, space in row two is also generous, visibility is panoramic (less so in the Sportback), and the top-notch surfaces which used to be typical of the brand until the arrival of the latest A1 and A3 are back in full force.
In contrast to the confusingly alternative ergonomics pioneered by the ID.3, the Audi brings back the classic direct-access temperature controls, puts the gear selector back where it belongs and reduces the number of vague touch sliders to a minimum. Depending on the depth of your pocket, there are up to three different (and largely redundant) displays to select from. On top of this all, voice control attempts to guide you through a vast variety of menus and sub-menus. Less might be more.
How does the Q4 drive?
The Q4 e-Tron's more muscular stance also supports a more eager turn-in action than other MEB-based cars, a more neutral cornering balance and a smoother driver-to-car interaction. Our Q4 50 e-Tron 50 quattro refrained from picking a fight with every pothole in reach, wriggling its shoulders when straddling aquaplaning grooves and jarring the driver's palms in the wake of gaping expansion joints.
Although Skoda and VW have announced all-wheel-drive versions of their MEB cars, the Q4 quattro is actually the first of its kind to come to market, available this summer. Along with more power, it introduces adaptive torque vectoring to the handling sweepstakes, and its variable dynamic weight distribution makes the car more chuckable through fast zig-zag corners. The two propulsion units orchestrate the wheel-selective quattro system, which minimises understeer and oversteer while cementing directional stability even on tricky surfaces.
Our test car was shod with optional 235/255 21 tyres, the ride was (with the adjustable dampers locked in Comfort) commendably supple even at low speed and over sudden transverse disturbances, while the steering is nicely progressive. The Drive Select system invites you to set the helm, both motors and the torque distribution in your choice of Comfort, Auto, Efficiency, Individual or Dynamic modes, but is in effect more of a gimmick than a real bonus with the exception of the Range and Efficiency programmes, which seriously curb consumption by limiting maximum speed.
Any efficiency tech?
Well, there's Audi's Predictive Efficiency Assistant. It's been on Audi models from the moment the current A6 arrived, and naturally evolved for the electric age. It monitors the real-time traffic flow and road signs via its sat-nav connection.
Stick the gearlever (or is it more of a nodule?) in B and the Q4 will automatically recuperate with up to 145kW, which practically puts the brakes on the dole. In D for Drive, paddles (standard on Edition 1 and Vorsprung versions, optional on Sport and S-line) make it easy to select one of three regeneration stages, or to choose the overly cautious automatic programme.
Audi Q4 e-Tron: verdict
The Q4 e-Tron hits the trendy new targets of EV ownership (range over power, charging speed over top speed) with aplomb. Its footprint is small enough for it to pass as planet-friendly urbanite and to calm the social acceptance watchdogs. At the same time, it can be customised to the taste and budget of a rich person ready to jump from the combustible past to the electrified future.
Like it or not, but cars like this are the new normal.
Audi's take on the electric family SUV is cool and classy
Audi has revealed full details and prcies of the new all-electric Q4 E-Tron. It's the company's first electric car based on the same technology as the Volkswagen ID.3 and Skoda Enyaq iV and as well as being available as a regular SUV, you can also specify a coupe-like Sportback version.
The Q4 E-Tron introduces some new technology and offers some choice in terms of price and range. Firstly, there will be three variants from launch, the 35, 40 and 50 Quattro. As you may have already guessed, the 50 Quattro features all-wheel drive as standard – the 35 and 40 versions are rear-wheel drive only.
Rivals? There are a few that include the Skoda Enyaq iV, Volkswagen ID.3, BMW iX3 and Mercedes-Benz EQA and EQC. The market for mid-sized electric SUVs is really starting to heat up.
What it's like inside?
Details new to the Q4 E-Tron include a steering wheel with a flat top and bottom (with haptic touch panel buttons) on S Line models and additional storage cubbies, including bottle holders in the door armrests. The central MMI touchscreen (10.1-inch as standard, 11.6-inch as an option) still has haptic feedback like most larger Audis, but there is only one touchscreen, with manually-controlled air-con switchgear below it.
Much like Volkswagen’s ID.3 and ID.4, along with the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Q4 will be available with an optional augmented-reality head-up display. The AR-HUD actively displays navigation directions in your field of view, gives you markers for the car in front when you have the adaptive cruise system active and even flags up the edges of your lane if you stray out of them.
Audi is particularly promoting the practicality aspect of the new Q4 E-Tron, saying that while it has the rough exterior dimensions of a Q3, it has space inside akin to the Q5 and quality like a Q7. The Q4 has a sliding rear bench, allowing for a boot volume of 520 litres in the non-Sportback variant.
What models and trims are available?
The Q4 E-Tron is available to order now and UK deliveries are expected in June 2021. Trims available at launch will be the Sport, S Line and Edition 1 forms. Every battery and powertrain combination is available with each equipment level.
Even though Sport is the entry level, it still comes equipped with LED headlamps, a 10.1-inch MMI infotainment screen and aerodynamic 19-inch alloy wheels. The S Line model will undoubtedly be the most popular – as is the case with all other Audi models – and gains 20-inch alloy wheels, sportier-looking front and rear bumpers and lowered suspension. The special Edition 1 trim will be a more elaborate offering, with Matrix LED headlights and unique interior and exterior trim.
Expected to join the range after the initial launch in June 2021 will be the Q4 E-Tron Vorsprung. Audi has confirmed It’s priced from £54,450 and gains 21-inch wheels, Nappa leather-trimmed seats and a more comprehensive driver-assistance package.
What else should I know?
The Q4 E-Tron can support 11kW AC charging and up to 125kW DC charging, with Audi claiming around 80 miles can be zapped into its new EV in just 10 minutes using those fastest of chargers.
Very little has changed between the production Q4 E-Tron and the concept car that debuted a couple of years ago. The Q4 SUV’s relatively boxy shape is emphasised by clean-cut wheelarches, a blocked-out grille in a very familiar Audi shape, and a single light panel that stretches across the rear. If you choose the optional matrix LED lights, you can customise the way the daytime running lights look with four distinct patterns.
Audi also offers something called ‘E-Tron Charging Service.’ It’s not an unheard of concept from manufacturers – you’re essentially given an RFID card and sign up to a tariff that gives you streamlined access to chargers from different networks, saving you the pain of signing up to individual ones.
Should I order one?
If you like the look of it. the Audi Q4 E-Tron is available to order now, with prices starting from £40,750. That figure soon balloons by choosing plusher models, larger batteries and optiona extras. The question is how much you think it's worth the premium over its Volkswagen Group sister cars, the ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV. We can't really answer that until we've driven it.
No model in the Q4 E-Tron range is eligible for the government's £2,500 plug-in car grant. We do like the sheer breadth of models available and the classy interior – and look forward to driving it. You'll be able to read about that here first.
Audi’s most popular model gets a midcycle refresh but leaves us wanting a bit more.
Just before 2020 ended, we had the chance to drive the 2021 Audi SQ5, the sportier variant of the Q5 powered by a punchy V-6 engine. Like we noted back then, the SQ5 delivers the best of both worlds. It's a comfortable SUV that's great for everyday driving, but also more dynamic when the road turns twisty. Now, we've driven and tested the 2021 Audi Q5, the toned-down normal version that competes in the compact-luxury-SUV segment, one of today's most popular. As you'd expect, then, the Q5 is indeed Audi's most popular model, making up 25 percent of the brand's sales, with the conventionally powered, non-S version responsible for most of that chunk (the balance includes not just SQ5s, but also Q5 PHEVs).
In order to be a popular player in one of the toughest segments, the Q5 has to bring plenty of goodness to the table, no? It combines attractive styling with a well-appointed cabin, all while keeping its prices competitive—something hard to find these days in the luxury game. For the 2021 model year, the Q5 received a midcycle refresh inside and out to bring more glamour and a bit more tech.
2021 Audi Q5: More Soft Than Sporty
As one would expect, the regular Q5 is toned down compared to the S variant, and that was notable during our time with this SUV. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 with 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, the Q5 employs a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to all four wheels thanks to Audi's Quattro system. The engine is mated to a 12-volt mild hybrid system that's new for 2021, and which adds a combined 13 hp over the 2020 model.
That combination makes the Q5 a decent SUV on the road. The engine is lively, and while it lacks the push of a V-6, it feels completely adequate for an SUV this size. The one complaint we have is with the transmission taking too long to downshift, which we experienced mostly when trying to pass on the freeway. The engine also has a bit of turbo lag, which combines with the transmission issue to compound the sensation that it's weaker than reality when trying to pile on speed or pass another vehicle at freeway velocities. When reaching a cruising speed, though, the Q5 is in its element.
Drivers can choose between five driving modes—Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. We spent most of the time driving in Auto, but even when we turned on Dynamic mode, the Q5 had the same laggy feel as in Auto or Comfort. Even so, at the test track, associate road test editor Erick Ayapana was able to go from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is a strong number. Pedal overlap causes the transmission controller to launch at about 3,000 rpm, after which gearshifts are much more immediate and aggressive, according to Ayapana. That may be the trick to get an eager start, but it's not how you drive every day. Compared to a 2018 model, the 2021 Q5 was faster to 60 mph by 0.2 second, perhaps thanks to the mild hybrid system.
Overall, the ride is settled and comfortable. Whether you drive over harsh pavement or ruts, the suspension does a good job absorbing those imperfections before they get into the cabin. Even on twisty roads, the body is well controlled with little noticeable roll, but chief tester Chris Walton had mixed feelings during our figure-eight test, noting poor body control under braking and cornering. "The transmission, even in dynamic mode with S Drive, was not intelligent enough to hold second gear on the skidpad," Walton added.
Besides increasing power output and (potentially) lowering the Q5's acceleration time, the mild hybrid system also helps with fuel economy. For 2021, the Q5 delivers 23/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined, an increase of 1 mpg in city and combined ratings over last year.
2021 Audi Q5: Comfortable And Elegant
Inside, the Q5 blends a mix of premium quality and high tech. While it doesn't have the same avant-garde interior aesthetic as do the Q7 or the Q8 (these have a two-screen infotainment/HVAC setup on the center console), the Q5 features a 10.1-inch touchscreen atop the dash. It displays Audi's newest infotainment system—MIB 3—which is easy to use and fast to respond. The graphics are top notch, and the way everything is organized makes it easy to get around without having to dig through menus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wireless, and you can use voice commands to do unusual things like change the temperature or other settings in the car.
Our Prestige model—the Prestige trim costs $10,700 over a base Q5—checked pretty much every available box, which included everything from the 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system with 3D sound to Audi's "virtual cockpit," whereby a 12.3-inch display serves as the instrument panel and can show real-time Google Maps graphics. Our model also came with other goodies like a head-up display, a 360-degree bird's eye view camera system, and a panoramic sunroof.
To maximize comfort, Audi also offers heated and cooled front cupholders, heated rear seats, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The second-row seats fold almost flat in a 40/20/40 configuration, making it ideal to fit long items between the seats while maximizing passenger space.
And you'll want to maximize the room, as interior space is one of the areas where the Q5 needs to improve. Second-row legroom is a tad tight for adults with long legs. At six feet tall, this author's legs touched the back of the front seat with the driver's seat set to his driving position. Though there weren't any problems with headroom, the noticeable drivetrain hump also interferes with foot room whenever you have three passengers in the rear.
2021 Audi Q5: Safety Tech
Like some other luxury brands these days, the Q5 brings some standard safety systems but charges extra for others. Blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and parking sensors are standard across the lineup, but adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist is only available with the Premium Plus and Prestige packages—the two (out of three) highest trims.
These safety systems work well enough on the highway, keeping the Q5 centered in its lane even when lane markings weren't totally clear. We'd like to compare the Audi's systems to those from BMW and Acura, which are among the tops in the segment, to see which truly stands out.
Is The 2021 Audi Q5 Worth It?
Our Audi Q5 Prestige checked out at $56,840, a pricey ask no matter how you look at it. That's several thousand dollars more than a loaded Acura RDX or Lexus NX, but is in line with its loaded German counterparts. Should you have a tighter budget, the Q5 starts at $44,395, with the middle-tier Premium Plus package adding $4,800.
Despite the somewhat lazy-feeling powertrain, it's easy to see why the Q5 is Audi's most popular model. After all, most folks won't stand on it like we do during our holistiic evaluations, and this compact luxury SUV serves up tons of amenities, a well-appointed cabin, and fresh styling that should continue to resonate with a lot of customers. The Q5 is far from perfect, but it does a lot of things well and we can't see this newer version giving up much ground to BMW, Mercedes, Acura, and friends.
The end of the internal combustion engine (SUS) is in sight for many car manufacturers from the Volkswagen Group, given that this concern is already making a big turn towards the sale of electric vehicles, so some of the most famous models will one day be on "for shooting" sheets.
That the end for internal combustion engines in Audi is near, the head of Audi's management, Markus Duesmann, told the media, as reported by zimo.dnevnik.hr.
"EU plans for even stricter Euro 7 standards for CO2 emissions pose a huge technical challenge, which clearly limits the continued use of internal combustion engines. We will no longer develop new SUS engines, but we will adapt existing ones and bring them in line with the new CO2 guidelines, ”said Duesmann.
However, it is impossible to predict which versions of the SUS engine will be the first to die out in Audi, or in the VW Group, given how unpredictable the business and environmental conditions are. One thing is for sure - when they start to die out, some entire brands will die out with them.
For now, Audi has officially unveiled two fully electric models - the e-tron GT / RS sedan, which you can read more about here, and then the e-tron Q4 SUV. The sporty TT and R8 models, whose sales are slow, will be inherited by smaller sports electric cars.
The Q4 e-tron should get and buy a version called the Sportback. This will be followed by the replacement of the A8 sedan, and from the old Audi names, it is assumed that the Allroad, Quattro and RS will experience the electric era and come to life in it.
To make sure the 2022 e-tron GT stands out among the brand's other electric offerings, Audi asked sound engineers to develop a new soundtrack specifically for the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT models. Before you go looking for it on Spotify, we'll tell you that this "song" is played just for the e-tron driver. It's a sort of intergalactic hum that transforms into a turbine whoosh as you accelerate. It says, "I am the future," and it'll have you thinking dilithium crystals and calling a Scottish engineer to see how everything is going, but it's not quite right for the e-tron.
The sound Audi should have used—and the one playing in my head right before hitting the accelerator—is the adrenaline-juicing click, click, click of a roller coaster on an upward climb. Flooring an e-tron GT produces the same lung-flattening rush of acceleration as a coaster in freefall.
Audi’s 2022 RS e-tron GT Adds More Speed to the GT
The e-tron GT has a twin at the Porsche dealer. The e-tron shares its platform, 800-volt electrical architecture, front and rear electric motors, two-speed automatic transmission at the rear axle, air springs, and all-wheel steering with the Porsche Taycan. While the Taycan offers a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive setup as well as the dual-motor-driven AWD 4S, Turbo, Turbo S, and Cross-Turismo, at least for now, the all-wheel-drive GT comes two ways, the 522-hp e-tron GT and the 637-hp RS e-tron GT. Accessing all of those horses requires using launch control, and then you only get the power for 2.5 seconds.
With typical use, you get a still heady 469 horses in the GT and 590 in the RS. The difference is one you're unlikely to miss on your drive to work. Audi's acceleration claims back up the roller-coaster feeling. Audi claims the base GT will hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the RS reducing that to 3.1 seconds. While those numbers are important, the e-tron GT and RS's range figures will likely mean more to buyers. EPA numbers aren’t ready yet, but Audi estimates 238 for the regular version and 232 for the RS. That's not the sort of range that leads to bragging, especially if the conversation turns to Teslas.
On the road, the RS GT tours grandly. It hums and hauls so smoothly that the big numbers on the speedometer readout might come as a surprise. The low, hefty weight of electric cars works in their favor when it comes to stable cornering, and 590 electric horses are more than enough to reshape your eyeballs. The GT's biggest challenges come from not having the longest range and not being the quickest or flashiest thrill ride in the park.
Audi gets points for using the steering-wheel paddles to control regenerative braking. It's just the sort of setting you might want to change on the fly, say, heading down a steep hill or coasting along in highway traffic, and being able to adjust it without having to dive into a settings menu is smart. The middle setting will feel the most familiar to gas-engine aficionados, and the max regen is almost but not quite aggressive enough to allow for one-pedal driving. The RS we drove had optional rear-wheel steering as well as the standard dynamic steering, so not only was the steering ratio changing depending on our speed, the rear wheels also turn to stabilize at high speeds or reduce the turning radius in parking lots. Steering efforts are light, almost too light at slow speeds, but once you get used to it, you'll be flipping tight U-turns just for the fun of it.
Audi tilts the controls towards the driver, and everything you need is within easy reach. EVs have conditioned us to expect tech-focused or even minimalist interiors. The GT has a crisp digital display in front of the driver and a 10.1-inch touchscreen in the middle of the instrument panel, but there are—gasp—buttons for the climate control.
The GT does play into another electric-car expectation, however, that of the environmentally conscious and possibly vegan buyer. Leather-free interiors and recycled materials come standard, but if you want to sit on cow hides you can order up a less vegan-friendly version. Whether your seats were once alive or never alive, the GT supposedly seats five; just be sure to call shotgun. No one will enjoy the middle seat in the back. Legroom for the outboard rear seats is excellent thanks to cutouts in the battery, which mean deeper pockets for your tootsies. Headroom isn't as generous, as you pay for the stylish sweep of the roof with tiny back windows and an encroaching C-pillar.
Audi's brave new EVs start at $100,945 for the e-tron GT, a price that lines up with the similarly quick Taycan 4S. Bring a $93,190 check to the Tesla store and you'll drive away in the much quicker Model S Performance AWD. The RS version, with its carbon-fiber roof and extra power, starts at $140,945. That money would put you into an 1100-hp Model S Plaid+ AWD, which is likely to be the quickest EV when it actually reaches buyers.
Sizewise, the e-tron is about same length as an A7, but it's dramatically lower and wider. The wide rear end and taillights look particularly great, but in front, the wide crossbar through the grille visually weighs down the front end. Overall, the e-tron GT reads elegant and muscular. It's not a game changer coming after the Taycan or even the still-powerful grandfather of the segment, the Model S, but it's quite a ride.
The verdict: Audi strikes a beautiful balance of sporty, luxurious and high-tech in the revised A4, delivering a satisfying compact sedan experience.
Verus the competition: It’s not as athletic as competitors like the Alfa Romeo Giulia or BMW 3 Series, but the new A4 makes up in comfort what it lacks in edginess. It’s easily as quick as most of its competitors, offers similar technology and provides a luxury experience that outshines rivals from Acura, Infiniti and Lexus.
There’s been a seemingly never-ending parade of new SUVs showing up in our testing queue lately. Everyone has a new ute to sell to an increasingly ravenous customer base that loves high-riding, family-friendly, cargo-hauling boxes — so when something comes along that’s the antithesis of that mindset, it’s deliciously refreshing. That’s what we have here with Audi’s latest A4. It got a decent refresh of its styling and content for the 2020 model year, and the 2021 model got even more tweaks and refinements. German luxury specialist Audi has delivered a beautifully balanced and fun-to-drive — but not overly sporty — compact sports sedan that reminds you just how much more satisfying a low-slung sports sedan is than even the most hairy-chested, overpowered SUV out there.
More, Greener Power
The news for the 2021 A4 primarily centers on a power upgrade. The car still offers two turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, but both now make more power and feature a standard 12-volt mild-hybrid system to boost efficiency. Both engines gain 13 horsepower, leaving the base A4 40 trim with 201 hp and the upgraded 45 trim with a healthier 261 hp. Torque remains unchanged at 236 pounds-feet in the base 40 model and 273 pounds-feet in the 45. Both engines mate only to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is newly standard for 2021. The manual transmission was discontinued a while ago, and now there are no more front-wheel-drive models, either.
But you know what? I’m not even mad about it, because the A4 drives beautifully. The focus on balance is clearly apparent: The higher-spec engine I drove delivers ample, immediate thrust when called upon, and the automatic transmission is snappy and responsive. The car overall delivers a refined, poised driving experience that’s highly enjoyable. Its low seating position, tight handling and smooth yet communicative ride are all excellent reminders that, despite the usefulness of SUVs, they really aren’t made for enjoying the experience of driving.
This A4 is a bit too soft to be truly sporty; steering feel is direct but notably muted, and the suspension allows a bit more lean and bump-soaking cushiness than you’ll find in a comparable BMW or Alfa Romeo. Still, it’s no marshmallow, with the kind of higher-speed highway stability you expect from a German luxury brand. Overall, there’s just enough communication from the car’s mechanical components to be entertaining, and just enough isolation to keep things luxurious and refined.
Fuel economy for the 45 S Line version of the A4 is basically unchanged from 2020 despite the addition of the mild-hybrid system. It’s rated by the EPA at 24/31/27 mpg city/highway/combined — 1 mpg less on the highway than the 2020 AWD A4. If you opt for the base 2021 A4 with the less powerful engine, that’s estimated to net you a slightly better 25/34/28 mpg, but either way, the addition of standard AWD means there’ll be no getting the fuel economy of the FWD 2020 model, which rang in at 27/35/30 mpg.
In a week of mixed-use driving, I averaged 26.5 mpg — pretty good given the spirited manner in which I often found myself driving the A4. By comparison, the higher-powered A4’s rating is mid-pack among AWD compact luxury sedans: The new 2021 Acura TLX A-Spec is rated an inferior 21/29/24 mpg, the 2021 BMW 330i xDrive a superior 25/34/28 mpg and the new 2021 Genesis G70 2.0T AWD a considerably worse 20/27/23 mpg.
Still a Benchmark Interior — for Now
We’re worried about Audi’s trend toward replacing every switch in the cabin with touch-sensitive panels — something American automakers tried a few years ago that didn’t go over well. The panels take away tactile feel for buttons, making for a more distracting experience — especially given that, in many cases, the touch panels don’t operate perfectly, requiring you to focus extra attention on them to make sure the function you tried to select has actually been selected. I’m happy to say the latest update to the A4 hasn’t created a completely “glass cockpit” just yet; there are still dedicated climate-control buttons and knobs, for instance, unlike on some larger Audis, such as the A6 and A8.
The front and center touchscreen was updated for the 2020 model year, and as in many cars these days, it’s been artlessly pasted onto the dashboard like an afterthought — or a tablet in a dock. Thankfully, unlike the latest Mercedes-Benz products, the steering wheel does not employ touch-sensitive areas — something I never thought I’d need to say.
The overall interior experience in the A4 is as it ever was: chock full of top-quality materials, excellent design, comfortable seats and great visibility. It does feature a very low driving position, which takes some getting used to in an era when what’s left of the sedans out there feature ever more upright, high-sitting driving positions. Front-seat comfort is good, but backseat space is rather tight in terms of leg and headroom, as is common in the compact sedan class.
As in other high-end luxury cars, you can adjust the interior ambient lighting from a calm, subtle glow all the way up to full-blast, “Tron”-style Lightcycle, depending on your taste and tolerance for such things. The digital gauge cluster is one of Audi’s better electronic features; the brand was one of the first to employ such technology across its range, and while it’s become a lot more common in competitors, Audi still makes sure it’s is one of the best out there with easy-to-read displays, an easy switch between display modes and an acceptable level of customization without information overload.
Cargo room isn’t the most important thing in a compact luxury sedan, but the A4 does all right here, too, with a 12-cubic-foot trunk, according to Audi. That’s more than the Genesis G70’s 10.5 cubic feet but less than the Acura TLX’s 13.5 cubic feet — and a lot less than the BMW 330i xDrive’s 17.0 cubic feet, though I suspect that figure may be a product of some sketchy measuring on BMW’s part. (This is why Cars.com has launched its own cargo-measuring effort, though we have yet to flesh out the A4’s class).
Premium Digs at a Premium Price
The latest Audi A4 is the typical premium Audi experience. My test vehicle was an S Line version, which brings a lot of the exterior styling elements of the S4 performance sedan into the A4 line, with a few spiffs on the inside, as well. As is typical with a German luxury sedan, though, you can always have more upgrades if you’d like to spend a little more money.
My test car also featured the S Line interior package, which brought leather and Alcantara seats, aluminum inlay trim and stainless-steel pedals. It also had a Black Optic Package for the exterior, which adds 18-inch black wheels, black exterior trim and all-season tires (or, as in the case of my test car, 19-inch wheels running summer tires thanks to a further Black Optic wheel upgrade). The grand total for my highly optioned A4 came to $53,840 (including destination). That’s a hefty sum for a compact luxury sedan, but it’s by no means out of line with what competitors charge for their offerings.
In the end, Audi’s mild updates for 2021 continue the A4’s long-standing tradition of style, technology and comfort, offered up at a competitive price. We can only hope the next generation doesn’t go to a complete “glass cockpit” look that eliminates hard buttons in favor of touch panels — but I’m not really all that hopeful. If anything, that impending possibility makes this model look more appealing than ever.
Scorching-looking electric coupe from Audi targets the Tesla Model S
Audi has unveiled off its latest electric car, the new E-Tron GT. It's the second bespoke EV in the Audi range, and is closely based on the highly impressive Porsche Taycan. It's a four-door coupe that's set to go on sale in the UK later in 2021.
As well as sharing its basic proportions with the Porsche Taycan, the E-Tron GT will look familiar to anyone who is familiar with industry news. It is very similar to the concept car of the same name first shown at the Frankfurt motor show back in 2018. It's unusual to see a production car look so like a concept car like that, but this is no bad thing.
When it goes on sale, the cars it needs to beat will be the Porsche it's so closely based on and the evergreen Tesla Model S, which has just received a raft of improvements for the 2021 model year. Audi will have an advantage in terms of build quality and interior finish, but the Tesla gets a massive advantage from its Supercharger network of high-speed public chargers.
From launch, buyers will have a choice of two models: the e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT. Both versions use an electric powertrain featuring a motor mounted on each axle for four-wheel drive.
What's it like inside?
If you've experienced any top-end Audi launched since the current A8, the interior of the E-Tron will will reassuringly familiar. It loses that car's three-screen set-up, but you still get the latest 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit instrumentation as well as a generously-proportioned 10.1-inch central screen for the infotainment set-up. There are physical buttons for the climate control system.
In addition, it's packed with equipment as you'd expect - so there are heated seats, user-configurable interior lighting, and these can be individually set-up for up to six users. There's an optional head-up display, and you can control all of this via the screens, buttons on the wheel and by Audi's latest iteration of its voice recognition system. You can also specify it with an autonomous self-parking system.
There are Vegan trim options including Dinamica and Kaskade, which are supposed to feel like Alcantara and wool. The more-sporting RS E-Tron GT will be available with microfibre trim for the dashboard and contrasting stitching for the steering wheel and centre console. You want open-pore walnut or carbon fibre? They're all there for you.
Practicality should like the Porsche Taycan - so a generous interior for four people, while Audi says the luggage capacity is 405 litres - about the same as a Volkswagen Golf with the rear seats in place.
Audi E-Tron GT charging and range
Audi is going for maximum efficiency here. It's super-sleek for the least air resistance at speed. Audi says that the new E-Tron GT has a drag coefficient of just 0.24Cd, which means it has one of the most aerodynamic bodies on sale today. What that means for you is that there will be low levels of wind noise at speed, and it will go longer without stopping on the motorway.
Both the E-Tron and RS E-Tron GT have the same generously-sized 93kWh battery pack (with a usable capacity of 85kWh). Audi says that will deliver a maximum range of 298 miles, although official figures are yet to be released.
The E-Tron GT will accept the latest rapid chargers, like the Porsche Taycan. What that means is you'll be able to hook it up to a 270kW public charger and give it an 80% charge in just 23 minutes. Or to put it another way, you'll get 62 miles of range for every five minutes of rapid charging. On a standard UK domestic wallbox, to fully recharge from empty will be an overnight operation, while using a three-pin plug should be just for emergencies...
How fast is it?
If you're looking for a surge of electric acceleration, you won't be disappointed. The entry-level E-Tron GT develops 475hp for a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds. Maximum speed is 152mph, but as you can imagine, battery range will be severely compromised the closer you get to that speed.
The RS E-Tron GT is considerably quicker and more powerful. Maximum power is 600hp, although the car’s launch control system can temporarily increase power to 655bhp. Acceleration is boosted - 0-62mph time comes in at 3.3 seconds and the maximum speed goes up to 155mph (limited).
The RS E-Tron gets performance upgrades including uprated tungsten-carbide-coated brake discs, adaptive air suspension and optional four-wheel steering for improved high-speed stability. Handling on all models will benefit from its sophisticated double-wishbone suspension and electronically controlled dampers.
RS E-Tron upgrades
The sporting RS models will be available from launch and come with a whole range of upgrades to reflect their status as the ultimate E-Tron GT. It's visually different with a restyled bonnet and a sportier-looking bodykit. The front bumper is also deeper, while at the rear you get a less subtle-looking diffuser. Adaptive dampers lower the car at speed, while laser headlight technology on the RS will make night driving easier.
How much does it cost and when is it on sale?
The E-Tron GT will launch in two versions, the E-Tron GT Quattro and the RS E-Tron GT. Both go on sale in spring 2021 with UK deliveries to follow shortly after. The prices of all the various trims can be found below.
E-Tron GT quattro £79,900
E-Tron GT quattro Vorsprung £106,000
RS E-Tron GT £110,950
RS E-Tron GT Carbon Black £124,540
RS E-Tron GT Vorsprung £133,340