Audi has taken the wraps off two new additions to the e-tron family: the Q4 e-Tron and its slopped roof sibling, the Q4 e-Tron Sportback. With these compact electric SUV offerings, Audi hopes to expand their line-up, with the aim of offering more EVs in the US market than any other luxury manufacturer by the end of the year.
The Q4 e-Tron represents the smallest Audi EV as yet. Unlike the larger e-tron SUV which is based on the ICE-centered MLB Evo architecture, the Q4 e-tron is built upon Volkswagen’s new MEB platform. The MEB platform also underpins the ID.4, and is dedicated to EVs.
Both the regular Q4 e-tron and the Sportback will be offered in the US in a single battery/motor configuration but with two different performance variants. The 77 kWh battery is standard, while other markets such as Europe will see a smaller (and cheaper) 52 kWh version. Prices in the US will start at under $45,000 before incentives.
A New Design Direction
The Q4 e-tron looks fairly different from the existing Audi line-up. While the new design language claims to show the world a distinct EV concept for the new Audi SUV, it’s hard not to think that the car’s lines have gone a little too rounded — with a flat face, high waistline, and low-rake windshield — lending it the shape of your more traditional crossover than an out-and-out SUV. Dare we say it’s just a little bit more anonymous than the likes of the more chiselled Q3 and Q7?
In contrast, the Q4 Sportback e-tron has a rather unique identity, if still not quite being the best proportioned. It retains the Tonka-Toy-esque wheel arches and flat front of the Q4 e-tron, but grafts a svelte coupe roofline onto the top, not only making it distinct, but giving the Sportback 10 km (6.2 miles) more range.
It’s not just the overall silhouette that is notable to the Q4 e-tron though. During the media briefing, we were introduced to Audi’s new Matrix LED headlights, which include a feature touted as a world-first — customizable daytime running lights. What this essentially means is that you can select from four different DRL configurations on the fly, with each illuminating specific LED elements on the headlight, to create separate patterns. Gimmicky? Yes. But it’s the kind of customization we’re told will appeal to customers.
Dimensions: Smallest Audi EV Maximizes Volume
Although currently the smallest EV on offer from the four rings, particular care has been paid to the interior dimensions, with more room achieved thanks to the MEB dedicated EV architecture. Dimensions-wise, the Q4 e-tron is 4,588 mm (180 in) long, 1,865 mm (73 in) wide, and 1,632 mm (64 in) tall. It sports a wheelbase of 2.76 meters (9 ft) and can tow up to 1.32 tonnes (1.2 metric tonnes).
It’s about 90mm (3.5 in) shorter than a Q5, but maximizes internal space, in part thanks to the batteries being placed under the floor. Storage compartments are said to total 25 liters, while the luggage compartment on the Q4 e-tron has a volume of 520 liters.
Interior: Large Water Bottles and Augmented Reality
One element that was highlighted was the Q4 e-tron’s ability to store large water bottles in each of its four-door pockets. The Q4 e-tron is said to be able to store up bottles of up to 1.5 liters in those door bins. Riveting stuff.
The slightly more exciting news is that the Q4 e-tron incorporates augmented reality tech into its head-up display. The system was demonstrated displaying visual turn-by-turn guides. The navigation arrows are meant to display exactly where turns should be made, and the view has been designed to be the equivalent of seeing the AR info on a 70-inch screen 10 meters ahead of the driver.
The Q4 e-tron also has the largest central screen included in an Audi, an 11.6-inch MMI screen angled towards the driver (although this feature will only be available at the end of the year). It’ll come standard with a 10.1-inch screen if you opt not to option the larger one. Both happily feature standalone controls for the HVAC functions. Also present is either a 10.25-inch instrument display or Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
Audi’s Partnership With Sonos Starts Here
Audi has partnered with a relative newcomer to the home audio game, Sonos. Sonos was founded in the early 2000s and famed for its quality speakers and integrated sound solutions. It’s a first for the Californian-based company, which is understood to be expanding its portfolio to include auto audio.
Sonos’ sound system will be billed as an optional “premium sound” package for the Q4 e-tron. It forms a part of what Audi calls its soundCube — a “fully integrated software environment” that “forms an audio system architecture that can be easily adapted to all requirements and can integrate sound systems of different suppliers effortlessly.” Basically, it means you have the ability to add your own enhancements to the system, possibly solving the issue of those looking for plug and play aftermarket sound compatibility.
Drivetrain: Two variants for the US, one style of battery
The US will get the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron in two flavors: namely the 40 e-tron and the 50 e-tron Quattro. Both utilize the same 77 kWh battery. The 40 e-tron has one electric motor driving the rear wheels, for an output of 150 kW (200 hp) and 310 Nm (228 lb-ft) of torque. Its 0-62mph (0-100km/h) time is achieved in 8.5 seconds.
The 50 e-tron Quattro features two electric motors driving all four wheels. The higher performance variant features an output of 220 kW (295 hp) and 460 Nm (339 lb-ft) of torque. The 50 e-tron Quattro uses the added power to get to 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in 6.2 seconds.
Juice for Audi’s two new electric SUV models can be charged with different outputs using alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) – up to 11 kW with AC, and up to 125 kW DC on a high-speed charger. The latter is good for 130 miles (208 km) in just 10 minutes.
Audi’s preliminary estimated range based on approximation of EPA test cycles for a full charge is approximately 250 miles on the Q4 40 e-tron. EPA estimates not yet available at this time.
Audi says they’ve focused a lot on recuperating energy from braking. As in quite a few EVs now, paddles behind the wheel enable you to select the degree of regen, while the German automaker claims that up to 90% of all brake processes can be recouped.
Other markets such as Europe will be offered an entry-level model with a smaller battery. Known as the 35 e-tron Quattro, it has a much smaller 52 kWh battery, while motor output is also limited to 125 kW (168 hp).
The Audi Q4 e-tron is expected to land in the US towards the end of 2021. Pricing is to start at $45,000 without destination charges and other dealer charges and taxes. Audi says that the Q4 e-tron may qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax incentives as well as possible local and state tax incentives, depending on the owner’s municipality. Comprehensive pricing will be revealed at a later date.
Meanwhile, over in Europe, the Q4 e-tron will go on sale as early as June, with the Sportback models being offered in the summer. In Germany, prices start at EUR 41,900 for the Q4 35 e-tron. The Sportback will be around EUR 2,000 more.
Audi Q4 e-tron
Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback