Audi introduces the Q4 Sportback e-tron concept

Audi has unveiled the coupe concept version of its forthcoming Q4 e-tron electric vehicle.

The Q4 e-tron extends Audi’s burgeoning electric vehicle range, with the concept Q4 Sportback e-tron using various efficient technologies in order to boast a model-specific range of over 500km.

Production of Audi’s latest electric model – the seventh to join the e-tron family – will begin in 2021.

The Audi Q4 e-tron concept first gave the world a taste of the debut compact electric SUV from Audi last year. With the Q4 Sportback e-tron, the brand has now presented the second model of this new product line that will go into production in 2021 as an SUV Coupé.  

This gives potential Q4 customers the opportunity to start thinking about which version they prefer roughly a year before the first vehicles will be delivered: the versatility and robustness of the classic SUV or the dynamic elegance of the Coupé variant.  

And how does the Q4 Sportback e-tron concept differ from its sister model? The biggest difference is in its silhouette. The Sportback slopes downward to the back in a subtle and dynamic curve, with the roof line transitioning into significantly inclined D-pillars and ending in a horizontal spoiler at the level of the lower window edge. As a result, the future Audi Q4 Sportback appears much longer than the Q4 e-tron concept.  

The Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron concept takes its position in the upper third of the compact class, meaning it remains spacious inside.  

The dimensions of the two Q4 models are almost identical: with an exterior length of 4.6m long, 1.6m high, the Sportback is just one centimeter longer and flatter than the Q4 e-tron. The Q4 variants are identical in terms of width (1.9m) and wheelbase (2.77m). 

Together the two cars offer a clear look ahead at the top-of-the-range engine line-up of the coming series production model. In each, two electric motors mobilise 225kW of system output. As is typical for Audi, the driving power is brought to the road with quattro all-wheel drive. Thanks to excellent traction, both versions of the Q4 accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds, with top speed restricted to 180km/h. 

A large battery with a capacity of 82kWh takes up almost the entire space in the underbody area between the axles. The range of over 450km – in line with the WLTP standard – sets the benchmark in its class. Better still, versions with rear-wheel drive will offer a range of over 500km in accordance with WLTP.  

The Volkswagen Group’s MEB electrification platform technology underpins this and all of Audi’s electric e-tron models and will be integrated in numerous electric vehicles produced in the future, from the compact class to the superior medium-size class. The Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron concept offers an advance look at what will already be the seventh series production electric vehicle that the manufacturer will introduce by 2021. 

The MEB platform offers a broad range of drive variants and power levels. The performance version of the electric drive is installed in the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron concept. The front and rear axles are each powered by an electric motor, ensuring trademark quattro power and grip.  

There is no mechanical connection between the axles: instead, an electronic control ensures that the torque distribution is coordinated optimally, and it does so in fractions of a second. This enables the SUV to achieve optimum traction in all weather conditions and on any type of surface.  

In most cases, the Q4 Sportback e-tron concept mainly uses its rear synchronous motor in order to achieve the highest possible efficiency. For reasons of efficiency, the drive torque is generally distributed with a rear-axle bias. If the driver demands more power than the rear electric motor can supply, the electric all-wheel drive uses the front asynchronous motor to redistribute the torque as required to the front axle. This also happens predictively even before slip occurs in icy conditions or when cornering fast, or if the car understeers or oversteers.  

The striking broad light band that connects the two lamp units on the rear end of the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron concept was incorporated to reflect an element of the Audi Q4 e-tron concept. It is clearly visible even here that these two models belong to the same e-tron family. This also applies to the inside of the lights, where the significant sweep of the LED segments is also reminiscent of an element of the older brother.  

The striking design of the bumper diffuser unit, with its horizontal slats and the illuminated e-tron logo in the middle, is another element the two Q4 versions share.  

The prominent fenders are a further classic Audi design feature that has distinguished the brand since the legendary original 1980 quattro. The widened features of the Q4 e-tron concept and Q4 Sportback concept are designed to be highly organic and flowing. The accentuation of the rocker panel area between the axles, where the battery and powerhouse of the SUV is located, is a typical feature of Audi’s e-tron family design.  

As there is no transmission tunnel restricting space inside, the Q4 Sportback e-tron concept offers unrestricted spaciousness and comfort, especially in terms of legroom. 

Light, warm colours dominate the upper section of the cabin, with dark carpet in the floor section providing a contrast and helping to create a sense of space. Sustainability is a top priority here, not only in terms of the electric drive in the Audi Q4 range, but also in terms of materials used: for example, the floor covering is made of recycled materials, and instead of chrome-plated metal decor frames, these surfaces are covered with a high-quality multi-layer paint finish. 

Four seats with integrated head restraints are upholstered with comfortable Alcantara material manufactured with exquisite workmanship. Double seams stitched with thick yarn adorn the upholstery.  

The display screen in the Audi virtual cockpit (visualising important data for the driver, including speed, charge level, and navigation) is located behind the steering wheel, and is paired with a large-format head-up display offering cutting-edge augmented reality functionality. This can display important graphical information for the driver, such as directional arrows for turning, directly onto the course of the road. 

Control panels designed as touch elements on the steering wheel spokes can be used to select frequently used functions. In the middle above the center console, there is a 12.3-inch touchscreen via which the infotainment and vehicle functions are displayed and operated. It is tilted toward the driver for greater ease of operation. A strip of buttons for controlling the air conditioning is located below.  

The center console doesn’t need to contain stereotypical functional elements such as a gear lever or hand brake. Instead, it is designed as a spacious stowage compartment that includes a cell phone charging cradle. In addition to the conventional lower storage compartment, the doors now provide the possibility to store bottles in specially molded upper sections, where they are easy to reach. 

Audi’s e-tron model line is set to grow beyond the Q4. The German manufacturer’s electric offensive began with the world premiere of the all-electric Audi e-tron in September 2018. But by 2025, Audi will offer more than 20 vehicles with all-electric drive in the most important markets worldwide and achieve roughly 40 percent of its sales with electrified models.  

In addition to e-tron and the e-tron Sportback variants, there will also be a range of models with classic body layout such as Avant (station wagon) and Sportback silhouettes. The range will cover every relevant market segment, from the compact to the luxury class. 

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