Audi is fast increasing its base in the electric vehicle market. They unveiled the e-Tron GT for the luxury electric sedan segment a couple of months ago. Now, they have unveiled the Q4 e-Tron and Q4 Sportback e-Tron for the mid-sized SUV segment. The two designs will hit the markets next year as Audi prepares for a big year in electric vehicle production in 2021.
The Q4 e-Tron is the corporate cousin of Volkswagen ID.4. Both vehicles are designed around Volkswagen’s MEB modular platform, dedicated to battery electric vehicles. This is Audi’s first attempt on this platform, and the company hopes to achieve better efficiency than ever before.
Q4 e-Tron and Q4 Sportback e-Tron – The Two Designs
The two vehicles have distinctive character lines which give a muscular look, along with the wheel arches and underbody cladding. Both designs have a rear spoiler. For the SUV, it is on the roof, while for the Sportback, it is on the boot lid. They both have LED taillamps which look like they merge into a single unit. Personally, it looks sleeker on the Sportback version.
The wheel options vary between 19 inches and 21 inches. The SUV is quite shorter than Tesla Model Y, but it is wider and taller too. At 2760 mm, the wheelbase allows for roomy interiors and relatively short overhand beyond the axles. The skateboard design of Volkswagen’s MEB platform only helps this cause. The SUV has a drag coefficient of 0.28, while the Sportback gets a little sleeker with 0.26.
Being quite a compact vehicle, you can expect better handling for the vehicles, especially through tighter spaces.
Powertrain and Battery
The European launch of the Q4 e-Tron will see three variants, dubbed as the 35, 40 and 50 grades. There will also be two battery options, 52 kWh for the 35 grade and 77 kWh for the 40 and 50 grades.
The Q4 e-Tron 35 gives an output of 167 horsepower and 310 N-m of torque. It crawls from 0 to 100 kph (62.11 mph) in 9 seconds and goes 341 km (212 miles) on a single charge. The Sportback has similar power figures but goes marginally better with 349 km (217 miles).
The Q4 e-Tron 40 has a similar rear-wheel-drive setup as the base variant. However, it gets a power output of 204 horsepower, with torque remaining the same as 310 N-m. It has a 0 to 100 kph timing of 8.5 seconds. The WLTP-estimated range is 520 km (323 miles), but this will decrease according to the EPA test in the USA.
The Q4 e-Tron 50 will have a dual-motor all-wheel-drive, which gives 299 horsepower and 460 N-m of torque. It will get to 100 kph (62.11 mph) in 6.2 seconds, with range estimates of 488 km (303 miles) and 497 km (309 miles) for the SUV and Sportback versions.
The maximum charging capacity is 7.4kW on an AC system and 100kW using DC for the Q4 35 e-Tron, with the Q4 40 e-Tron and Q4 50 e-Tron allowing speeds of up to 11kW on AC and 125kW for DC.
The top speed for the 35 and 40 variants is electronically limited to 160 kph (99 mph), while for the 50 variant, it is 180 kph (112 mph). In the USA, there will only be two variants, with Audi dropping the 35 variant for North America.
Just as you would expect in an Audi, there is nothing mainstream about the interior of the Q4 e-Tron. A 10.25″ digital instrument cluster is coupled with an 11.6″ touchscreen in the dash. Along with the sport steering wheel and touch-sensitive controls, it gives a very premium look.
The most interesting bit is the augmented-reality head-up display, which displays information on the windshield. This information will especially be useful for moving navigation commands. With a varying depth-of-field, the arrows will appear to be in front of the vehicles and allow the real-world features to be highlighted. A light bar will also highlight the car in front of you. Other light bars will highlight important road features like lane markings, preventing you from drifting into another lane.
The rear bench sits 70 mm higher than the front. This is done to accommodate the battery pack underneath. The SUV packs in a boot of 520 litres, which may be extended to 1490 litres by folding the rear seats. The Sportback will have 535 litres of boot space, extensible to 1460 litres. There is no frunk space, as the power electronics take up that space.
Audi hasn’t revealed the exact pricing for both the Q4 e-Tron as well as the Sportback version. However, sources say the starting price will be around €41,900, which amount to around $50,000. Exact prices will be known closer to the launch. However, the Q4 e-Tron will be Audi’s least expensive battery electric vehicle till now.
Let’s be honest – the powertrain figures for Audi’s latest electric vehicle are quite underwhelming. The power output is nothing compared to Tesla Model Y, which translates into a slow-to-moderate acceleration. But the range figures are quite similar to Model Y. Yes, they are WLTP estimates, which means they will be slightly lesser than Model Y again. And the price will be just a few thousand dollars less. It makes sense to throw in a few extra bucks and get yourself the best-selling Tesla right now.
However, not everything is about performance. The Q4 e-Tron offers a really luxurious interior combined with sporty exterior looks for a decent price. It seems somewhat similar to the gas-powered Q5 in terms of value for money. Sometimes, a calm and comfortable drive is what makes customers happy, and the Q4 e-Tron does just that.