Audi A4 Electric (Audi A4 e-tron) to rival the Tesla Model 3 [Update]

  • Will likely be available in Sedan and Avant versions with softened edges
  • Tesla Model 3, global BMW 3 Series EV & Mercedes C-Class Electric are the chief rivals
  • Could deliver an EPA-est. range of up to around 300 miles & support 270 kW DC charging
  • Expected to arrive in 2026; likely to be manufactured in Germany

Update: ‘Audi A4 sales in the U.S.’ section updated.

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 be a compact electric sedan, the Audi A4 Electric (Audi E4 or Audi A4 e-tron).

Audi electric car launches in all core segments by 2027

By 2025, Audi will have launched around 25 new models, more than 10 of which will be electric vehicles, CEO Markus Duesmann announced at the company’s annual media conference on March 16, 2023. By 2027, the four-ringed brand’s product line-up will include an EV in each core segment, Duesmann added.

The A4 belongs to a core segment. The compact luxury car 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, Oliver Hoffmann, BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi, 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.

PPE Platform

PPE battery system
The PPE can accommodate a 100 kWh battery which can offer up to 435 miles of range (WLTP). Image: Audi

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 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 A4 Electric, although 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, followed by the Porsche Macan EV, both of which will go on sale in 2024, These are to be 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

Audi A4 e-tron (Audi Q4 Electric) rendering
The Audi A4 Electric may have a conventional sedan body, as per an Autocar report. Pictured is TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the Audi electric sedan.

Initially, we expected the Audi A4 Electric 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 would have styling similar to the gasoline-powered A4.

Based on the British publication’s speculation, our exclusive rendering (pictured above) shows the A4’s future version 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 A4 Electric Avant/allroad quattro (Electric)

Audi A4 allroad quattro front three quarter
An Audi A4 Avant (Electric) could be in the pipeline as well, considering that Audi is strong with estates. Image: Audi

While station wagons are losing the battle to SUVs, Audi remains committed to the traditional body style. Hoffmann told Top Gear 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 A4 Avant Electric (A4 Avant e-tron) soon after the sedan version, so as to future-proof the lineup.

Audi A4 Electric 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 A4 e-tron 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 Ingolstadt production
The Audi A4 rolls out of the Ingolstadt plant; reports suggest the A4 e-tron will also be manufactured here. Image: Audi

Audi makes the gasoline-powered A4 at its German factories in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. The company has already confirmed it will build the pure-electric A4 e-tron at the Ingolstadt plant, and in the future, it may announce the electric sedan’s manufacturing at Neckarsulm as well.

As the main base for production of the electric successors to the Audi A3 and the Audi A4, according to (Gerd) Walker, Ingolstadt will become the blueprint for the transformation.

Audi press announcement on July 26, 2022. Gerd Walker is the Audi Board Member for Production and Logistics.

In an announcement on December 20, 2022, Audi hinted it can build EVs, presumably including the A4 e-tron, on the same line at the Ingolstadt plant as the combustion-powered A4 (and A5). The company was elaborating on one of Walker’s comments on transitioning to EVs, when it said:

The new Audi Q6 e-tron, for example, will initially be made in Ingolstadt on the same line as the Audi A4 and A5. The electric models will then gradually replace the combustion cars on the lines.

Audi press release (December 20, 2022)

Towards the end of the decade, the Audi Neckarsulm plant will start making the second generation Audi A6 e-tron. However, the Works Council is demanding more electric models, and they want them sooner:

We urgently need a successor to the Audi A8 and another electric vehicle (in addition to the Audi A8 electric successor) to fill the gap until the Audi A6 e-tron is launched. We cannot stand by and watch others bring the future onto the streets. We have to be part of it!

Works Council Chairman Rainer Schirmer at the Neckarsulm Works Meeting 2022 on December 1, 2022 (translated from German)

Audi A4 sales in the U.S.

The Audi A4 was the second best-selling Audi sedan in the U.S. in 2022, with 15,239 units, just shy of the A5, which brought in 18,349 units. However, compared to January-December 2021 (16,263 units), A4 sales were down by 6%, in a year that challenged automakers with supply chain disruptions.

In 2023, the A4 has shown signs of recovery. Between January and June, Audi sold 8,386 units, and compared to the same period in 2022 (January-June 2022: 7,283 units), that was a 15% improvement. As for the A5, the coupe recorded 12,256 units in the first half of 2023.

Considering the A5’s consistently superior performance and its elevated premium positioning, prioritizing its full electrification ahead of the A4, especially in the U.S., appears to be a more logical option.

Combustion-powered Audi A4 to become the A5

The gas-powered successor to the fifth-gen A4 should be an all-new A5. On March 16, 2023, announcing Audi’s future plans, Duesmann said EVs will have odd-numbered titles and ICEs will have even-numbered titles.

We are currently restructuring our naming conventions. So, even numbers represent a BEV, uneven numbers represent an internal combustion engine or a PHEV. The start of the renaming has already kicked off. We changed the name of the e-tron to the Q8 e-tron.

Markus Duesmann, CEO, Audi (2023 Audi Annual Media Conference on March 16, 2023)

TopElectricSUV says

Audi A4 rear three quarter
To us, it looks like the combustion model and an electric model of the A4, riding on unique platforms, will co-exist at least until the end of the decade. Image: Audi

If Audi gets the A4 e-tron 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 A4 Electric will have to be a luxury compact 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 could 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 A4 Electric will reportedly debut in 2026.

Which are the core competitors to the Audi A4 e-tron?

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 A4 Electric (A4 e-tron).