Update: Introduction and ‘Audi A4 sales in the U.S.’ sections updated, ‘Avant/allroad quattro’ sub-section added to ‘Design & Features,’ and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.
Audi plans to build a comprehensive EV line-up In the coming years and cater to a range of premium segments, from an Audi E3 (Audi A3 e-tron) to an Audi R8 successor. A key launch will reportedly be a mid-size electric sedan, possibly called Audi E4 or Audi A4 e-tron.
Audi electric car launches in all core segments by 2027
Oliver Hoffmann, BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi, has told Top Gear that Audi plans to sell electric cars in all its main segments by 2027, TG reported on September 30, 2022. The A4 ranked fourth on the company’s global sales charts in 2021, with 215,227 units delivered from three models (Sedan, Avant, and allroad quattro).
Previously, Hoffmann told Auto Express that the A4’s electric alternative would be based on a dedicated electric vehicle platform. He added that Audi had also considered a multi-energy (ICE-BEV) architecture, but it comes with compromise.
Meanwhile, Autocar reported in December 2021 that the next-gen Audi A4 would include a pure-electric version. Audi would use the Premium Platform Combustion (PPC) for mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants and the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), co-developed with Porsche, for the Audi E4 or Audi A4 e-tron.
The A6 e-tron concept made its debut at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, where it was announced that the premium sedan would be based on the new PPE architecture. Autocar suggests that the same would underpin the Audi E4, albeit with a shorter wheelbase and narrower tracks. PPE platform-based EVs can accommodate a battery with up to 100 kWh capacity and deliver a WLTP range of up to 435 miles. Thanks to an 800-volt system voltage, they can accept DC fast-charging at up to 270 kW.
The PPE would debut on the Audi Q6 e-tron or the Porsche Macan EV, both of which will go on sale in 2024, followed by the A6 e-tron (Audi E6) and A6 e-tron Avant. Audi and Porsche plan to sell 7 million electric cars based on the PPE platform by 2030.
Design & Features
Initially, we expected the Audi E4 to have an A5 Sportback-style five-door configuration with a liftgate-style rear. However, in a report published on July 26, 2022, Autocar said that the A4 e-tron (E4) would have styling similar to the gasoline-powered A4.
Based on the British publication’s speculation, our exclusive rendering of the future model (pictured above) shows the A4’s future as a conventional four-door model powered by batteries. It borrows design cues from the A6 e-tron concept, as evident with the large enclosed Singleframe grille’s shape and pattern. The split headlights consist of slim and flat position lights and discreetly placed low and high beams on the bottom, right above the side air inlets. They are similar to the headlights on the prototypes of the E6.
In addition, the Audi A4 Electric’s key features may include adaptive air suspension, Level 2 autonomous driving, and contactless in-car payments for charging, parking, drive-through food orders, and tolls.
Audi E4 Avant/allroad quattro (Electric)
While station wagons are losing the battle to SUVs, Audi remains committed to the traditional body style. Hoffmann told TG that “Audi stands for Avant and Avant for Audi,” indicating that station wagons have a place at Audi in the EV era. The company sells three station wagons in the U.S., namely A4 allroad quattro, A6 allroad quattro, and RS 6 Avant, and several more in other markets. It will likely launch an E4 Avant (A4 Avant e-tron) soon after the sedan version, so to future-proof the lineup.
Audi E4 Specifications
Customers would have the option to choose from RWD single-motor variants to dual-motor Quattro AWD variants. An Audi RS 4 e-tron with up to 496 bhp and 590 lb-ft is expected to top the range. There’s no word on the battery capacity and range, although we know the PPE’s capabilities. Audi may target a range of 435 miles (700 km) on the A6 e-tron on the WLTP cycle. Expect the E4 to come with around 373 miles (600 km), given that its comparatively shorter wheelbase would accommodate a slightly smaller battery. With 270 kW DC fast-charging, 300 km of range is achievable in 10 min, and 5-80% in under 25 min.
Audi A4 sales in the U.S.
The Audi A4 was the second best-selling Audi sedan in the U.S. between January and September 2022, with 10,825 units, just shy of the A5, which brought in 13,577 units. However, compared to January-September 2021, sales were significantly down by 25.5% (January-September 2021 2021: 14,525 units).
If Audi gets the E4 right, it could become one of its best-selling EVs in the U.S. For it to stand out from the gas-powered model, Audi E4 will have to be an electric mid-size sedan with more advanced technologies, more space, and higher comfort than the A4. It might not offer Tesla Model 3 levels of range or performance, but it will likely beat the best-seller on luxury features, quality and refinement.
Audi A4 e-tron/Audi A4 Electric FAQs
What is the release date of the Audi A4 e-tron?
The Audi E4 will reportedly debut mid-decade.
Which are the core competitors to the Audi E4?
What is the expected price of the Audi A4 e-tron?
Expect the Audi A4 e-tron to start at around USD 50,000.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s render of the Audi E4 (A4 e-tron).