Compact Competition Keeps Audi and Its Rivals On Their Toes

As a premium brand, Audi’s German engineering has upheld its reputation for driving performance.  Quiet and spacious well-appointed cabins with solid tech packages are hallmarks of the brand.   

Audi’s compact sedan, the A3, featured all-new interior and exterior design for the 2022 model year, with cues from the A6 and A8 models distilled into a smaller package. 

A3’s comfortable ride and nimble handling from the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission achieved its goal of shaking up the competition.  With 201HP and 221-lb.ft of torque from our A3 40 TFSI quattro, we would agree that the A3 holds strong against the BMW 2 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volvo S60 and Lexus IS sedans. At 31 mpg even with the Quattro AWD, it bests most of the rivals.  With mid-level Premium Plus trim, upgraded wheel package, interior wood and LED additions, and an enhanced tech package, total delivered price on our A3 was $44,440, making it one of the more affordable luxury compact sedans.

2022 also marked the introduction of The Audi Q4 e-tron compact crossover. 

The Audi Q4 e-tron rolled out of the gate as an all-new all-electric model and Audi’s first purely electric vehicle in the compact SUV segment.   The all-electric range is estimated at 241 miles with twin electric motors powering Audi’s AWD quattro and delivering 295 HP.  The Q4 Sportback e-tron debuted as well with a lower height and fastback roofline giving it a striking, more aggressive silhouette for about $3K more.

Size-wise, the Q4 e-tron is smaller than Audi’s Q5, but the electric Q4 costs more upfront. That’s been a norm, not just for Audi but others, too.  Thus, the competition includes other models in a manufacturer’s own line-up as well as against other EVs in the compact segment.  Even with as much as it has to offer, Audi has been in the middle of the pack in the EV comparisons of power, range, and efficiency in regenerative braking technology (which can use its motors to slow and recoup some of its energy spent to extend the battery range).  In spite of Audi’s solid warranty and roadside assistance coverage, some of the newer EV contenders have used unprecedented guarantees to gain an edge.

In 2023, Audi introduced a rear-wheel drive Q4 40 e-tron powered by a single electric motor which boosted the range to 265 miles on a full charge and with a slightly lower cost of entry than the 2022 Q4 e-tron quattro.  The dual electric motor Q4 with AWD came to be known as the Q4 50 e-tron.  While the price of the 2023 Q4 50 e-tron rose by a few thousand dollars over the 2022 model, it remained the popular choice for those relishing its sizeable boost in speed and traction that most would correlate with the reason to buy Audi in the first place.

Audi is continuing to systematically advance the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron, updating all vehicles from the start of series production up to and including the 2022 model year with software version 3.2. This new software comes now as standard in series production for the current 2023 model year. Foremost among the new functions with high everyday utility is the option of performing future software updates via a wireless over-the-air interface.  The software update also offers added value when charging at home or on the road. The “Preferred charging time” function helps customers charge at low-cost times, e.g. at night, with a variable-rate electricity plan.

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