There has been a couple of conflicting reports as to exactly when the Audi Q4 E-tron Sportback, the brand’s fourth electric SUV, will become available for sale. The concept car was expected to hit the showrooms sometime around mid-2021 but some recent sources revealed that, due to the worldwide changes caused by the pandemic, the Q4 Sportback E-tron may not get unveiled before early 2022.
However, if you were enthusiastic about the new model, the good news is that the concept car was for the first time seen in public roads, albeit in disguise, early last month. Which means there is good chance that Audi may after all be able to stick to their original schedule announced during their first presentation of Q4 e-tron sportback this last July.
Audi Fast to Catch Up with the EV Revolution
When it comes to new auto trends, Audi doesn’t really hold the reputation of leading the way (the E-tron, the brand’s first ever EV, came out no earlier than in 2018—i.e., a good five years after BMW unleashed the i3). However, once it finds the trend is here to stay, to be sure it catches up real quick!
And this is amply demonstrated by the introduction of its latest model (Audi’s fourth E-SUV in two years) and this compact EV coupé SUV is possibly hitting the market just at the right time.
With the improvement in charging infrastructure, lower costs than ever before and the automotives becoming as comfy and luxurious as the regular models, all the chief barriers to EV ownership are gradually being removed quite fast. So what better time than now to introduce a smaller car with zero emission that promises a range of 280 miles between charges (and with the suggested rear wheel drive model, the figure is claimed to go up to 311 miles as well!)?
This way, Audi enthusiasts have now in their reach a coupé SUV that is even more conveniently-priced than the existing Q4 E-tron and, as some will argue, in a sleeker design as well (but more on that shortly). And compared to the Audi regular E-tron, the price (expected to be around $45,000) is almost half. That said, let’s now have a somewhat detailed look at the different attributes of the model that can very well be the next rage in the EV market.
From the front, there is not much to differentiate the Q4 sportback E-tron from the regular Q4 e-tron. So, expect a closed-off front grille, a clamshell bonnet that slopes down to slim LED lights and fairly big air intakes.
However, the new concept Sportback starts to get more dapper from the sides smoothly rounding off to the back. There is a more dramatic appeal in the way the roof slopes down to the back, with the rear windscreen cut horizontally by a high-set spoiler (quite in the manner of Audi A2). Apart from the style fact, the spoiler is apt to lead to improved aerodynamics. So, expect a somewhat longer range from this model compared to Q4 E-tron, irrespective of the fact that the brand has quoted 280 miles for both cars.
And reportedly the prototype caught plying the road last month retains pretty much all these concepts, with the exception that a few of the more adventurous surfacing details seemed to have been made somewhat less assertive.
As for the interior, the dashboard is decked with a 12.3 inch vehicle functions and infotainment touchscreen. Right below, you’ll find a strip of physical buttons for AC control and this is a thoughtful inclusion since the dual touchscreen layout found on many of the recent Audis have proven to be more distracting than helpful.
In addition, there is a large heads up display containing a new augmented reality function capable of displaying key GPS info such as directional arrows right “on the course of the road”, as put in the Audi website.
Finally, since the center console doesn’t need to hold handbrake, gearlever and such, it has been wisely turned into a sizeable storage area—always a good idea for a coupé SUV.
The Q4 E-tron Sportback, just like Q4 E-tron, will use Audi’s MEB or modular electrification platform meaning it will be powered by an 82kWh underfloor battery and will come with a WLPT range of 280 miles. Electric Powertrain details of the model are yet to emerge, but we do know this much that thanks to two electric motors, the concept car features an all-wheel drive. Some sources reveal that the sportback model will feature the same 225kW electric Powertrain as in Q4 E-tron and will go up 0-62 mph in 6.3 sec.
As for charging, one can charge the battery pack, using a 125kW (max charge rate) rapid public charger, from 10-80% in about half an hour. Using a 7.4kW home wallbox, the battery can be charged 0-100% in about 12 hours.
In addition, Audi has also suggested a real wheel drive version of the model, just in case you are willing to trade off performance for a longer (again WLPT) range of 311 miles. That puts the Audi Q4 E-tron Sportback right in the range category of the promised Model Y from Tesla, and also a good way above the current best EV car in terms of range: the Kia e-Niro.
Executive Director, Hillside Imports
Krista Rodriguez is a Portland native working in the automotive industry for the past 18 years. An active member of the community, Krista volunteers within Tigard Tualatin School District and serves as the Treasurer for the Foundation for Tigard Tualatin Schools.