► The Q4 e-Tron goes Sportback
► Sportier, slightly less practical
► Augmented HUD
Complicated things, car names, especially at the moment and also especially at Audi. To simplify - this Q4 Sportback e-Tron is a coupe-ish version of the Q4 e-Tron – making up a pair of electric cars that sit below the larger e-Tron and e-Tron Sportback in the line-up.
That’s an easier way of explaining things than getting embroiled in the fact that logically, the Q4 should be a coupe version of the Q3 (like the Q7/Q8) and that Sportback used to mean a five-door variant of a coupe, not a swoopy version of an existing five-door car.
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Anyway, let’s not worry about that, the important thing to consider is that this is a sportier-looking version of the Q4 e-Tron, Audi’s more accessible electric car, and you’ll be able to buy something that looks basically exactly like this very soon indeed.
It looks familiar
From the outside you’ll see plenty of things carried over from the Q4 e-Tron SUV concept shown at Geneva in 2019 – the closed-in grille, big 22-inch wheels, and full-width light element at the rear. The latter is to visually echo Audi’s more expensive models like the A8, but also the larger e-Tron SUV.
At the front are digital matrix LEDs with a customisable layout for the daytime running lights, so you can choose the pattern of light that other motorists see in their rear view mirrors – no word on whether you can specify a pattern that reads “move” in reverse, though.
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From the side you’ll see the effect of some fancy tech that requires a lot of windscreen space that we’ll talk about later. This meant the a-pillar had to be pushed forwards, so the bonnet line was extended over the front wing to avoid the car’s silhouette looking too much like a MPV.
Moving aft, an aggro-looking spoiler was placed on the bootlid at the request of the aero department, rather than the design team, and makes the Sportback look longer than its SUV partner. Expect the production car (expected in 2021) to look wider and lower with more modest 21-inch wheels, but otherwise 90% the same.
What powers the Q4 Sportback e-Tron?
It uses the same powertrain as the SUV, which is to say an electric motor on each axle, or one on the rear in the two-wheel drive car. Whichever bodystyle you pick, 0-62mph falls in 6.3 seconds and the top speed is pinned to 111.8 mph in the fastest Quattro version.
Like the SUV the Q4 Sportback is based on the made-for-electric-cars MEB platform (which it shares with the forthcoming VW ID.3, ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq) meaning the 82kWh battery pack is installed along the underbody floor.
Audi Q4 e-Tron
This provides either 311 or 280 miles of range (whether you pick 2WD or Quattro) aided by a slippery profile – the Sportback has a drag coeffient of 0.26, which is 0.01 better than the SUV, if you’re interested – and can be filled to 80% in 30 minutes thanks to a 125kW charger.
The two motor car packs just over 300bhp and 339 lbs ft of torque, meaning it should feel suitably punchy, while the rear-driven Q4 makes do with 200bhp and 229 lbs ft. Still, enough to get around.
Any good tech inside?
As we sort of eluded to earlier the headline here is the augmented reality head up display – basically a very clever projector that beams all sorts of useful info like sat nav directions right into your eyeline.
Interestingly because this system takes up so much windscreen space, its inclusion in the car actually informed the exterior design – pushing the a-pillar forward and necessitating that bonnet line flowing into the front wing.
Elsewhere as you’d expect there’s the latest Audi virtual cockpit digital display behind the wheel, touch-sensitive control panels in the steering wheel spokes and a 12.3-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash.
There have also been a couple of storage space rethinks – with the area normally known as the transmission tunnel used for wireless phone charging and some high level drinks holders in the doors, eschewing the usual door bin arrangement.
In the back Audi says there’s loads of legroom comparable to car a couple of sizes up, and a boot volume more commonly seen in a larger SUV too. Normal electric car stuff, really.
This car and the boxier Q4 e-Tron SUV are due midway through 2021 – Audi says it has released these apparently very indicative concepts ahead of time to help you decide which version you want. Bold.
That does kind of underline what this pair of SUVs is for though, representing a smaller and more affordable entry into Audi electric car ownership that should be within the grasp of its normal customers, not just EV evangelists and early adopters.