With the market shifting towards the rapid rise of new EV models coming about, it’s not surprising why car manufacturers are increasing their electric model line-ups. Some have chosen to create a separate brand for electric cars such as Audi with their E-Tron name and the Q4 E-Tron together with the Q4 E-Tron Sportback are the latest ones to join the pack. Just about a month ago, we got exposed to the sleek four door E-Tron GT which is said to be on the front line of this electric brand and surely by looking at the Q4 E-Tron, at first sight you start to see the similarities.
This includes design influence, equipment and shared powertrain technologies. It’s sort of like a blend of the E-Tron GT and the E-Tron SUV but unlike the latter, this one has a different platform. The E-Tron SUV uses the MLB platform which can be found on internal combustion engine Audi vehicles but the Q4 E-Tron uses the Modular Electric Drive System (MEB) platform which is specifically made for pure electric cars only. The problem with the MLB platform is that it is not as efficient and a bit heavy to carry out maximum ranges so the E-Tron SUV basically becomes a deficit compared to the Q4 E-Tron.
Since we have stepped away from its skeleton, we may discuss the skin and our first impressions are it looks faultless. The design goes a whole way to looking as attractive as the E-Tron GT. The front sports the enclosed Singleframe grille which can be found on current and will be on future E-Tron models as well. The design of the grille varies with the different trim models which include Base, Advanced and the S-Line receives a dark contrasting paint finish with chrome elements on the bottom part of the bumper. The grille therefore is joined by the headlights with a design that is similar to those of the Q8 but they are much slimmer, and they come with LEDs as standard and optionally with Matrix LED lights that contain 16 individual LEDs.
There is a selection of various wheel designs that contain aero outlines and have sizes ranging from 19 to 21 inches. The side profile is sculptured really well with body creases that are visible on the front fender and the rear fender, the bottom part of the doors has two contours. Again, the obvious part is that the Sportback variant has an aggressively sloping roofline which eats the rear passenger’s headroom but that is a compromise that a customer would know straightaway.
The rear is dominated by an LED light strip that runs across the full width of the tailgate but it splits into separate segments at both ends. The Q4 Sportback has a rear spoiler which is plain to see and looks as if it was fitted in the last minutes but its there for aerodynamic purposes, and that brings the drag coefficient of the Sportback to just 0.26 whilst the normal variant sits at 0.28. The underbody is flush to reduce drag and improve of efficiency.
The dimensions are as follows: it’s 4 588 millimetres long, 1 865 millimetres wide and 1 632 millimetres tall. There are eight exterior colours to choose from which includes Aurora Violet, Navarra Blue and Glacier White.
Powertrain and Suspension
Please note that the range (km) is calculated according to WLTP standards and that is only from a single charge.
We are just going to get into it straight away with the specs and tell you that there are three options to choose from. The range kicks off with the Q4 E-Tron 35 which has a 35 kWh battery powering a single motor which produces 168 hp (125 kW) and 310 Nm of torque. 0-100 km/h is achievable in just 9.0 seconds with a top speed of 160 km/h. The range for the Q4 E-Tron is 341 km and the Q4 E-Tron Sportback is 349 km.
The Q4 E-Tron 40 has a 77 kWh battery and a single motor with a power output of 201 hp (150 kW) and 310 Nm of torque. It does 0-100 km/h in just 8.5 seconds and has a top speed of 160 km/h. The range is 520 km for both models.
Then the top of the range Q4 E-Tron 50 also has a 77 kWh battery but with two electric motors which boost the power output to 295 hp (220 kW) and 460 Nm of torque. 0-100 km/h is done in 6.2 seconds accompanied by a top speed of 180 km/h. The Q4 E-Tron manages a range of 488 km whilst the Q4 E-Tron Sportback is 497 km. So, the popular choice here will the 40 model because it has the most range and a decent amount of power.
The suspension features a McPherson front axle and five-link rear suspension as standard. Optionally, there is sport suspension, only standard with the S-Line trim, which amps up its sporty character. There are optional adaptive dampers to soften and make the ride much more comfortable whilst the progressive steering is standard on Quattro models.
The Q4 E-Tron comes with Audi’s latest 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit and it can display a classic, sport or E-Tron specific layout at will. It comes with a standard 10.1-inch MMI display and the 11.6-inch optional MMI Plus system has Audi connect with online services. There is also an option of the natural language voice control which communicates and gives feedback as if you were speaking to a human being.
Where the driver sits is a double spoke steering wheel with touch sensitive buttons to operate the Virtual Cockpit display and other functions. The seats are available in base form and in S-Line trim which have a rhombus pattern and integrated head restrains. The seats are optionally heated, electrically adjustable and have electric lumbar support.
There are five interior packages for the base model and four available for the S-Line model. All of these packages offer different materials and colours for the seats, armrests, doorsills, headlining and the accent surfaces. What is new to the Q4 E-Tron is the optional Augmented Reality head-up display which shows important information like navigation but in a rather 3D-like manner.
Audi has already announced pricing and it is expected that it will be sold in Europe from June 2021. The base price for the Q4 E-Tron will be €41 900 (R710 590) and the Q4 E-Tron Sportback will be from €43 900 (R744 508). It is yet to be confirmed whether these models will come to South Africa.
Source: Audi Q4 E-Tron Press Release