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A gray 2024 Audi Q4 e-tron is shown parked near a building.

Audi’s e-tron Offerings Balance Luxury and Performance

The Audi of the future is here, and it’s electric. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, there’s never been a better time to make the jump to the EV segment. As the country’s EV charging infrastructure continues to expand, owning an electric vehicle is easier than ever, but can electric vehicles match their gas-powered counterparts in some of the ways drivers care about most? Sure, you can’t beat an EV when it comes to pure efficiency, but all too often, style, performance, and luxury are treated as an afterthought. That might have passed muster back in the early EV days, but as the segment continues to grow and evolve, drivers have come to expect a little more from their all-electric vehicles. That’s where Audi’s range of electric models come in.

Known for its relentless commitment to creating some of the most refined and eye-catching models on the market, it’s little surprise to see Audi raising the bar for the EV market as a whole. Never one to rest on past success, Audi’s rapidly expanding EV lineup––dubbed “e-tron”––shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the German automaker’s slogan of Vorsprung durch Technik or “Progress through Technology.” Read on as we learn more about the e-tron ethos and explore Audi’s range of electric models, from the high-performance e-tron GT to its well-rounded cousins in the Q4 e-tron and Q8 e-tron crossover SUVs. Strap in and set your GPS for the future.

The e-tron Advantage

Electric vehicles offer some natural advantages over their gas-powered cousins, a fact that Audi has leveraged in creating its e-tron lineup. EVs aren’t only cheaper to operate and maintain when compared to internal combustion vehicles; they also bring some real benefits in terms of performance. This largely comes down to the fact that the electric motors powering today’s EVs are able to generate considerable torque, even at lower speeds.

While horsepower is often the go-to metric for performance, torque is usually a better measuring stick when talking about the one factor that has the most noticeable effect on driving excitement: acceleration. An EV is not only able to jump off the line the second the accelerator is engaged, but it’s also better at maintaining consistent torque output regardless of the current RPMs. This makes EVs a lot more responsive and dynamic than most gas-powered vehicles, which means a more thrilling ride for those lucky enough to be behind the wheel.

But top-tier performance isn’t the only reason to take a look at Audi’s e-tron lineup. Like many EVs, the vehicles have a lower center of gravity thanks to the fact that their battery packs are placed closer to the ground. This tweak goes a long way in improving an EV’s stability and handling, allowing drivers to enjoy all the power these vehicles have to offer while still remaining firmly in control. There’s also the overall improvement in comfort. Since there’s no gas-burning engine rumbling around under the hood, drivers will enjoy a smooth, luxurious ride without the distracting vibrations or engine noise.

While the EV transition can often be a little intimidating for those accustomed to their gas-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs, Audi’s e-tron lineup provides drivers with a seamless switch to the all-electric lifestyle. This even extends to charging, with Audi offering up to three years of unlimited access to the Electrify America charging network. With more than 870 charging stations and over 4,000 individual connectors, the Electrify America network is one of the country’s most expansive, allowing drivers to top off their e-tron model no matter where the road might take them. Audi has also recently signed a deal with Tesla that will allow e-tron models to use the Tesla Supercharger network for even more charging options.

A gray 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron is shown parked and charging.

Q4 e-tron

Range: 258 miles
Charging Time: 28 minutes
Output: 335 hp

Audi’s entry-level EV offering is the Q4 e-tron, a compact luxury SUV starting at just over $55,000. Like the larger Q8 e-tron, Audi’s compact EV comes in two different flavors: the standard Q4 and the flashier Q4 Sportback. The Sportback replaces the regular Q4’s squared-off body with a more fluid design that, while reducing overall cargo space, results in an alluring shape that complements the crossover’s sporty disposition.

The new Q4 55 quattro all-wheel drive configuration can speed from zero to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. That sort of performance might not be the main selling point for an EV, but we’re certainly not complaining. This version of the Q4 tops out at 335 hp, which marks a significant improvement over the base Q4 40 rear-wheel drive version’s 201 hp. There was also a Q50 all-wheel drive version with 295 hp. However, the Q4 40 and Q4 50 were replaced by the Q4 55 part-way through the 2024 model year.

While there’s no discounting the Q4’s performance bona fides, it’s the SUV’s luxurious, tech-heavy cabin that really sets it apart from the crowd. Audi has packed the Q4 with a generous complement of futuristic features, including a unique steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls, a 10.3-inch digital gauge display, and an 11.6-inch touchscreen running the brand’s latest Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system. The MMI system can be configured to provide a bespoke infotainment experience and offers a fun feature that allows drivers to use the touchscreen to handwrite words and letters that can be translated into actionable commands. An augmented reality heads-up display projects relevant instructions and warnings, while paddle shifters on the squared-off steering wheel give drivers the ability to adjust the EV’s regenerative braking level on the fly.

Q8 e-tron / SQ8 e-tron

Range: 300 miles
Charging Time: 31 minutes
Output: 496 hp

With a whisper-quiet cabin, tech-laden interior, and conventional styling that won’t immediately make the SUV a black sheep next to its gas-powered cousins, Audi’s Q8 e-tron makes transitioning to the all-electric lifestyle easier than ever. Originally just called the e-tron, the SUV was Audi’s original all-electric model but has since been christened with a new name that reflects the recent additions to the lineup in the Q4 e-tron and e-tron GT.

The midsize model offers substantially more power than its smaller Q4 sibling, with two electric motors that give drivers 402 hp of driving fun. Those looking for an even more powerful version of the Q8 can upgrade to the brand’s SQ8 e-tron, which adds yet another motor for a whopping 496 hp, though the base Q8 should be more than enough muscle for everyday driving applications.

As one would expect, the Q8 e-tron puts an emphasis on luxury. That’s even true of the base Premium trims, starting at $74,400, which includes a long list of opulent features that mark the Q8 e-tron as a true luxury model. These include an air suspension system, panoramic sunroof, four-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and even a heated steering wheel. Climbing the trim ladder adds even more luxurious features, such as a heads-up display, massaging front seats, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot, and a wireless smartphone charger.

Time is money, a point Audi has emphasized with the e-tron lineup’s charging time. The SUV can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in as little as 31 minutes. Best of all, the 2024 model sports a new, larger 106 kWh battery pack, which gives the Q8 e-tron an estimated range of 285 miles or an even 300 miles when opting for the Sportback version. That means less time waiting at the charger and more time enjoying the open road.

A gray 2024 Audi RS e-tron GT is shown driving on a highway.

e-tron GT / RS e-tron GT

Range: 249 miles
Charging Time: 22.5 minutes
Output: 637 hp

The e-tron GT is where Audi finally gets the chance to show off the true potential of the all-electric format. Powered by two electric motors, the e-tron GT takes Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system to the next level, churning out 523 hp that’s sure to delight most drivers. If you’re doubting the e-tron GT’s performance potential, just know that the sedan shares its platform with a Porsche. The e-tron GT is basically Audi’s version of the Porsche Taycan, a fact you’ll be reminded of every time you step on the accelerator. While most EVs rely on a single-speed transmission to funnel all that power to the wheels, Audi has taken a decidedly different approach with its two-speed rear transmission setup. This design uses one speed to help launch the e-tron GT off the line and another to help ensure the best possible efficiency at higher speeds.

Speaking of high speeds, the e-tron GT can blast from zero to 60 mph in as little as 3.9 seconds, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as performance is concerned. Audi has also rolled out an RS version of the e-tron GT, which, with 637 hp to its name, can complete the same sprint in just 3.1 seconds. In lesser EVs, this sort of performance would be limited by an overheated battery, but Audi has graced the e-tron GT with an innovative cooling system that helps to keep the power pack cool in even the toughest conditions. This sort of performance does come at the cost of range, but not as much as you might think. In fact, the estimated range of 249 miles is within 10 miles of the Q4 e-tron.

The e-tron GT is also just as well-equipped as the rest of Audi’s EV lineup when you’re comparing next-generation tech features. While interior ambient lighting, expansive infotainment systems, heads-up displays, and massaging heated-and-cooled front seats are nothing new in the luxury segment, the e-tron GT does pack some fun surprises. Take the sedan’s matrix LED headlights with laser high beams, for example. In low-beam mode, these unique lights borrow technology from video projectors that allows them to illuminate the path with pinpoint precision, with a unique start-up animation that makes it clear these aren’t your garden-variety halogen bulbs. When used as high beams, the blue laser spotlights provide some of the best range we’ve seen, making it easy to see hundreds of yards down the road.

A Fusion of Performance, Luxury, and Style

As established luxury brands like Audi begin to embrace the all-electric approach, they’re steadily raising the bar for what an EV can be. Once focused on efficiency above all else, models like the Q4 e-tron, Q8 e-tron, and e-tron GT prove just how much EVs have matured in a relatively short amount of time. The Q4 e-tron manages to pack in some of the latest and greatest tech and luxury features on the market while remaining relatively affordable at just over $55,000, while the Q8 e-tron straddles the line between an everyday driver and a true performance model. The e-tron GT is an exciting sign of things to come, leveraging the exceptional attributes of an EV to deliver edge-of-you-seat performance that can help pump a little excitement into your daily commute. If you’re looking for a modern fusion of performance, luxury, and style, Audi’s all-electric e-tron lineup should certainly make your shortlist.