11 min read
02 Dec

It’s officially the era of the electric revolution as the luxury SUV market witnesses fierce competition between stalwarts of the industry. In the spotlight for 2024, we have the highly anticipated Rivian R1S competing alongside its top rivals – the formidable BMW iX and the affordable yet appealing Audi Q4 e-tron. 

The Rivian R1S, launched in late 2022, has continued to impress with its persistent software advancements and brand-new Max battery pack that offers an impressive 400-mile range. It has managed to carve a niche in the luxury electric SUV segment, particularly showing off off-road capabilities, spacious interiors, and potent powertrains. 

On the other hand, the 2024 BMW iX all-electric midsize SUV has become a top contender, armed with powerful performance, impressive driving range, and luxurious interiors. Its mighty dual motor setup, impressive horsepower, and striking agility make it a force to reckon with despite the slightly steep price tag. 

Finally, the Audi Q4 e-tron, the most economical entry into Audi’s all-electric range, is hardly a pushover. Launched in 2022, this compact SUV flaunts classic Audi traits while successfully maintaining an attractive price point. Its roomy interiors, standard adaptive cruise control with lane guidance, and the newly introduced remote garage door opener in its optional convenience package make it a worthy rival. 

The iX and e-tron offer unique value propositions, and this article uncovers their strengths, potential drawbacks, and how they stack up against the Rivian R1S, the best luxury electric SUV for 2024. 

See also: Electric SUV Showdown: The 2024 Kia EV9 vs. EV6 Face-off 

The Powertrain And Performance

2023 Rivian R1S powertrain and performance.

Sharing core components like battery packs and powertrain with the R1T pickup truck gave the Rivian R1S a potent foundation. Its dual-motor setup provides a standard 600 horsepower with all-wheel drive. The optional quad-motor powertrain is an even stronger beast with an impressive 835 horsepower, hitting 60 mph in a swift 3.1 seconds. However, despite this power and the all-wheel-drive agility thanks to a motor at each wheel, the R1S's steering and ride control don't quite match the R1T's composed handling. 

2024 BMW IX performance and powertrain.

In contrast, the 2024 BMW iX is a handling superstar. The xDrive50 variant, with its dual-motor setup, delivers a substantial 516 horsepower, achieving 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. The high-performance M60 variant steps it up further to 610 horsepower, estimated to reach 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. The iX’s ride is smooth, and the handling is agile, partly due to the optional adjustable air suspension and rear-wheel-steering system. 

2024 Audi Q4 e-tron powertrain and performance.

The 2024 Audi Q4 e-tron, on the other hand, delivers more modest performance with its entry-level Q4 e-tron 40's single 201-hp electric motor powering the rear wheels. The Q4 e-tron 50 and Q4 e-tron Sportback 50 models with dual motors provide a stronger 295 horsepower. The Q4 e-tron 50, though slower at hitting 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, offers adequate performance for city driving but might underwhelm at higher speeds. However, the Audi is gifted with a smooth ride and good maneuverability, offering a well-rounded, polite driving experience, even if it lacks the excitement of top dogs like the iX and R1S. 

Battery Range, Charging, And Efficiency

2023 Rivian R1S charging, battery, and efficiency.

The Rivian R1S has an EPA-estimated range of 321 miles but managed to exceed the EPA’s estimates in real-world testing, achieving 330 miles on a single charge. However, at 47.4 kWh per 100 miles, The R1S’s efficiency is slightly less than that of the BMW iX and the Tesla Model X. DC fast-charging allows the R1S to go from 10% to 80% capacity in about 45 minutes, which is a solid performance but still isn’t the quickest charging time in the segment. 

2024 BMW iX charging.

The 2024 BMW iX received a similar EPA-estimated range to the Rivian and also managed to travel an impressive 377 miles on a single charge. The iX's large 105.2-kWh battery pack also provided a robust 290 miles of range on a 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, a notable achievement given that highway driving usually reduces EV range. The iX's DC fast-charging capability allows it to go from 10% to 80% capacity in just 35 minutes, giving it a slight edge over the Rivian's recharging speed. 

2024 Audi Q4 e-tron charging.

The Audi Q4 e-tron, on the other hand, offers a maximum range of 265 miles, slightly less than the Rivian and BMW. The dual-motor setup reduces this even further to 236 or 242 miles, depending on the model. However, the Q4 e-tron beats the iX and R1S’s charging speed, going from 5% to 80% capacity in just 36 minutes with a DC fast charger. A full charge using a 240-volt home charger takes about 7.5 hours, which is fairly standard for the category. 

Interior Design, Quality, And Comfort

2023 Rivian R1S interior.

The Rivian R1S boasts an upscale cabin featuring high-end sustainable materials like reclaimed wood and vegan leather, creating an airy and pleasant ambiance. While not as opulent as a similarly priced Mercedes-Benz or BMW, the R1S's fit and finish are excellent, and the interior design is well-thought-out. The cabin is spacious, even in the third row, making it suitable for shorter trips for passengers of up to 6 feet tall. The large touchscreen display dominates the wide dash, and although earlier iterations had some responsiveness issues, over-the-air updates have improved the infotainment system. 

2024 BMW iX interior.

The BMW iX's interior is as visually striking as it is functional. The large door openings and low stepovers allow easy access, and once inside, the cabin is generous with space, boasting ample headroom, legroom, and shoulder room. However, the touchscreen-based controls could be time-consuming and distracting to navigate, and the optional walnut center panel's white-lettering touch controls may be hard to see in sunlight. 

2023 Audi Q4 50 e-tron rear cabin.

The Audi Q4 e-Tron offers a surprising amount of space, particularly in the Sportback model. Despite a sleeker design that might suggest less space, the Sportback variant actually offers more cargo space compared to the regular SUV version. The interior design is typical of Audi, combining refinement and flair with a low-clutter approach. Some controls, like the volume control on the steering wheel and the large switch-like gear shifter, may take some getting used to. 

See also: After Stéphane Peterhansel’s Accident, Audi Unveils Upgraded RS Q e-tron For 2024 Dakar Rally

Infotainment And Technology Features

2023 Rivian R1S infotainment and technology.

The Rivian R1S’s imposing center screen serves as the hub for most of the vehicle's operations. However, the impressive size doesn't entirely make up for some of the system's shortcomings. The native navigation system is large but lacks the intuitive experience of other electric vehicles. A key drawback is the absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, common in many other EVs. Their absence basically restricts users to Rivian's proprietary system. On the brighter side, the R1S supports Spotify integration and features numerous USB-C ports across all rows, along with a wireless charging pad up front. The included Amazon's Alexa voice assistant adds a layer of convenience with voice commands. The R1S’s driver-assist features, including adaptive cruise control and a surround-view camera, are commendable but aren't without their quirks. For instance, the automatic emergency braking system can be overly sensitive, causing unplanned braking when encountering parked cars. Furthermore, the adaptive cruise control system seems to struggle in bright sunlight. 

2024 BMW iX infotainment and tech features.

In contrast, the 2024 BMW iX brings an impressive array of innovative techs to the table. The advanced driver aids in the iX work smoothly overall, with the optional Highway Assist Plus even allowing for hands-free operation under certain conditions. The infotainment system might require some getting used to, but its operation is generally impressive. The voice-activated virtual assistant from BMW also stands out, providing responsive and convenient control over features like climate settings. The iX takes things a notch higher with its superior Android smartphone integration for quick pairing and displays navigation directions directly in the driver's gauge cluster. The optional Bowers & Wilkins audio system is a nice touch, offering an immersive experience with its "4D bass" that syncs with the music to vibrate the seat. 

2024 Audi Q4 e-tron infotainment and tech features.

The 2024 Audi Q4 e-tron showcases the latest iteration of Audi’s MMI system, which includes a standard 10.3-inch digital gauge display and an 11.6-inch infotainment touchscreen conveniently angled towards the driver. The system also includes a head-up display with an augmented reality feature projecting navigation instructions or driver-assistance warnings directly onto the driver's field of vision. 

Ride Quality

2023 Rivian R1s ride quality.

The 2023 Rivian R1S’s ride quality feels closer to a truck than a luxury SUV. The adjustable air suspension doesn't result in notable improvements in road manners, contrasting with the smoother, luxury-oriented rides of the BMW iX and Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV. The R1S may not deliver the refined handling you’d expect from a luxury EV, but excels in off-road capability, distinguishing itself from its competitors. The optimized off-road capability also explains the Rivian R1S’s relatively uncomfortable but comparatively more supportive seats. The seats come with heating and ventilation features in the front and second rows. The R1S’s cabin also performs underwhelming in terms of wind and road noise, that is, relative to the SUV’s premium price range. Plus, the touchscreen-based control system, including vent adjustments, might feel needlessly complex. 

2024 BMW iX ride quality.

In contrast, the 2024 BMW iX boasts stylish and comfortable upholstered seats, offering a generous range of adjustments, effective seat heaters, and a pleasing on-road ride. The interior controls are predominantly touchscreen-based, including climate settings, but they remain accessible and user-friendly. The iX impresses with minimal highway wind and road noise, making the driving experience more enjoyable. 

2024 Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback ride quality.

The 2024 Audi Q4 e-tron introduces enhancements, such as a bigger battery and increased range, alongside tweaks to steering and suspension. The quicker steering ratio adds nimbleness to this substantial SUV without making it overly responsive. Audi's efforts to increase stiffness in the suspension components result in excellent composure at various speeds, striking a balance between firmness and softness. While lacking rear-axle steering, the Q4 e-tron handles well in tight spaces and twisty roads, showcasing improved maneuverability and predictable body motions. 

See also: Why The 2024 BMW XM Label Red Is The Most Powerful M Car Ever Made: A Review

Trim Levels And Pricing

2023 Rivian R1S trims and pricing.

The 2023 Rivian R1S, priced from $78,000, offers a singular Adventure trim with a 600-horsepower dual-motor electric powertrain, a 105-kWh battery, and all-wheel drive. Optional upgrades include an 835-horsepower quad-motor powertrain for $8,000 and a larger 135-kWh battery pack for $6,000. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a 16-inch touchscreen, Amazon Alexa, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance features. Optional add-ons include a reinforced underbody shield for $2,000 and a Level 2 (240-volt) home charging station for $750 plus installation fees. 

2024 BMW iX trim levels.

In contrast, the 2024 BMW iX comes in two trims, xDrive50 starting at $87,100 and M60 at $111,500. Both trims feature a 111.5-kWh battery, all-wheel drive, and various standard amenities such as synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 14.9-inch touchscreen, and safety features like forward collision warning and lane-keep assist. Optional packages include Convenience, Premium, and Driving Assistance Professional, with features like augmented-reality navigation, massaging front seats, and a 30-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound stereo. 

2024 Audi Q4 e-tron trims and pricing.

For the 2024 MY, the Audi Q4 e-tron presents a range of choices with three distinct trims in SUV and Sportback body styles: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The powertrain options include a single-motor 201-horsepower configuration for rear-wheel drive or a dual-motor 295-horsepower setup for an all-wheel-drive experience, exclusively featured in Sportback models. 

Pricing for the Q4 e-tron Premium starts at $50,995 for the single-motor rear-wheel-drive version and $56,395 for the dual-motor all-wheel-drive variant. Sportback models, exclusively equipped with the dual-motor powertrain and all-wheel drive, are priced from $59,395. 

The Q4 e-tron’s standard features include leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, an 11.6-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker audio system, two USB ports, a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, ambient LED lighting, tri-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, 19-inch wheels, and a convenient power liftgate. 

On the safety aspect, the Q4 e-tron boasts an array of standard driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assist, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and front and rear parking sensors. 

Ascending to the Q4 e-tron Premium Plus, starting at $55,695 for the single-motor powertrain, $61,095 for the dual-motor powertrain, and $64,095 for the dual-motor Sportback, adds luxurious touches such as a heated steering wheel, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a 10-speaker Sonos audio system, lane-keep assist, traffic-sign recognition, and park assist. 

The pinnacle of the lineup, the Q4 e-tron Prestige asks from $63,395 for the SUV body style (dual-motor only) and $66,395 for the Sportback. Prestige introduces features like headlight washers, upgraded LED-matrix headlights, and a head-up display. 

Warranty Coverage

2023 Rivian R1S frunk.

The 2023 Rivian R1S offers a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty coupled with an eight-year/175,000-mile powertrain and battery warranty. BMW's 2024 iX follows the standard warranty coverage of the i4 sedan, offering four years or 50,000 miles of basic coverage and more extensive protection for EV components. 

Additionally, all new BMWs include a three-year complimentary maintenance plan. In comparison, the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback mirror the warranty terms of the larger e-tron SUV, encompassing both limited and powertrain coverage. The specific details of the warranty align the Q4 e-tron series with Audi's established standards for their electric vehicles. 

Final Word

2023 Rivian R1S overview.

The all-electric 2023 Rivian R1S three-row SUV impresses with over 800 horsepower, eye-catching design, and superior off-road capabilities. It combines practicality and luxury with a range of over 300 miles on a full charge. While the Tesla Model X offers more range and quicker acceleration, the Rivian R1S stands out for its off-road prowess. If you fancy an SUV alternative to the Rivian R1T, the R1S is an excellent choice. 

2024 BMW iX overview.

The BMW iX distinguishes itself as one of the best premium SUVs across electric and gas models. Its minor drawbacks, such as the absence of a front trunk and a non-opening sunroof, are overshadowed by its quick acceleration, spacious interior, upscale cabin, and advanced tech features. Boasting over 300 miles of driving range, the iX competes favorably with options like the Tesla Model X and Rivian R1S. While the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV offers a similar luxury level, it falls short in driving range compared to the iX.

2024 Audi Q4 e-tron overview.

 Audi's 2024 Q4 E-Tron, the smallest electric vehicle in its lineup, combines sharp exterior styling and high-tech features. As an approachable option for EV newcomers, its regenerative brake calibration provides a familiar driving experience. However, the Q4 e-tron falls short in driving dynamics with unpredictable steering and a frenetic ride, impacting its overall refinement. Quick acceleration aside, its range and charging capabilities lag behind rivals, making it a transitional vehicle within Audi's evolving EV lineup.

* The email will not be published on the website.