We’ve had almost all the crucial information one could want about the upcoming Audi Q4 E-Tron, save for price. A new report included in Car and Driver‘s “25 Cars Worth Waiting For” fills in the omission, saying the Q4 E-Tron “should arrive sometime in 2021 with a starting price around $45,000.” If Audi can pull off that number, the Q4 has heaps going for it, but the math seems challenging. One major factor in the Audi’s favor is that the Q4 rides on Volkswagen’s MEB platform that will be doled out to 27 models across Volkswagen Group brands to lower per-unit costs. Audi’s more expensive EV models are based on a reworked version of the MLB Evo platform (E-Tron, E-Tron Sportback), or the J1 platform developed for the Porsche Taycan (E-Tron GT).
Even so, if the MEB platform can put a Q4 E-Tron on the market for $45,000 with an 82-kWh battery, a 300-horsepower all-wheel-drive powertrain, and a 280-mile range on the WLTP cycle, then the MEB platform is the real shocking deal. First, that MSRP comes in $29,800 less than the E-Tron. The Q4 E-Tron also would be considerably cheaper than competitors that include the $67,900 Mercedes-Benz EQC, the $69,850 Jaguar I-Pace, and the BMW iNext rumored to start around 70,000 euros or $80,000 when it goes on sale. The Q4 E-Tron is smaller, though, and at the numbers quoted, the other luxury options are kneecapped anyway even if C/D‘s price takes the $7,500 federal tax credit into account (but we don’t believe it does). The real threat is the Goliath in the segment, the Tesla Model Y. The German would undercut the American, too, as the Model Y in dual-motor all-wheel-drive Long Range trim starts at $52,990 — but the Tesla is a little larger, a lot quicker and faster, and has an appreciably longer range than the Q4 E-Tron. A Model Y Standard Range with a smaller battery and a lower price is expected to enter production next year.
Just as noteworthy, VW of America CEO Scott Keogh said the Volkswagen ID.4 crossover that’s built on the same MEB platform as the Q4 E-Tron — the Audi has masqueraded as the VW during testing at least once — is planned to cost $35,000 after the full $7,500 federal tax credit. That puts the VW’s MSRP at $42,500 and makes for some uncomfortably close pricing if $2,500 gets buyers an Audi that’s only a few inches off the VW dimensionally.
With all that in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Q4 E-Tron come in $5k higher, which would still put it under the Model Y and its European counterparts. If it turns out Audi does launch the Q4 E-Tron at $45k, an electric crossover from a German luxury maker at that price might be the kind of cannonball the EV pool needs and is long overdue for.