Audi Q4 e-Tron: electric SUV goes testing

Published: 17 November 2020

► The new Audi Q4 e-Tron is here
► A little brother to the e-Tron
► Geneva concept, on sale late 2020

We've already seen the Q4 e-Tron in concept form, but now our spy photographers have snapped Audi's electric SUV testing. As you'd expect, the prototype production car is covered in camo – but it appears to closely follow the styling of the concept car revealed last year: The lights, bumper and overall shape looks very much the same as the car we've already seen. 

Our spy photographers also managed to get a glimpse inside the compact eSUV with interesting results. Although it sits on the same platform as the Skoda Enyaq and VW iD.4, the Q4's interior is very much Audi, and borrows heavily from its larger e-Tron sibling. 

Audi Q4 e-Tron: the first look

Audi has confirmed that the Q4 will be launched 'in late 2020', suggesting that there's still a year’s worth of development before we see the production version. By then it will become the fifth all-electric Audi on sale, reflecting just how fast electrification trends are taking hold.

It's too early to talk precise costs, but CAR magazine understands the Q4 electric SUV is likely to cost around £40,000 by the time UK sales start in late 2020 or early 2021. The cost of batteries is gradually falling, accompanied by an increase in EV range - so the e-Tron looks set to launch in the sweet spot as electric cars become more viable for more motorists. 

Marc Lichte, the head of Audi design, told showgoers that the Q4 would become 'the first affordable A-segment battery electric SUV' and pointed out that the accents of body colour in the grille would become a signature for future electric Audis.

It's a slick-looking crossover and looks right-sized for Europe's heartland crossover segment. Note also the new 'digital signature' lighting finish - customers will be able to spec a variety of different detailing in the lamps, a first for production cars as far as we know. More details on this soon.

See more cars expected at the Geneva motor show in our review

Audi Q4 e-Tron: a little brother to its first series electric car

The fully fledged Audi e-Tron SUV is just going on sale now, and engineers are hoping that they will be able to shrink prices of battery packs and electric car know-how in the coming months to make the technology available to more customers.

The Q4 is smaller than the e-Tron big daddy, at 4.6m long. Most of the spec sheet has been miniaturised in a bid to shrink the footprint - and the costs:

  • Battery size 82kWh
  • Electric motors 225kW total (front and rear)
  • Range ‘Over 280 miles’ (450km)
  • 0-62mph 6.3sec
  • Top speed 112mph

As with most other small and mid-sized VW Group electric cars, the Q4 will be based on the ubiquitous MEB EV platform, which packages the lithium-ion batteries along the spine of the car within the wheelbase. The 82kWh cells are remarkably capacious for a vehicle this size, resulting in decent electric range to quash any will-we-get-there anxieties. 

In line with most MEB products, Audi is claiming an 80% recharge in just 30 minutes (assuming sufficiently high-speed charging points are available, of course). Those chunky batteries add quite a bit of extra weight, at 510kg.

Inside the Audi Q4

Ingolstadt promises this smaller SUV will still be more than up to the job of family transport duties. With no propshaft to steal interior space, the cabin of the Q4 is said to be especially roomy - and with the battery packs pushing passengers higher, this is quite a tip-toe tall car at 1610mm high. That height is countered by huge 22-inch alloy wheels.

The Q4 e-Tron’s interior is festooned with the latest Audi touchscreens and the carpets are made from recycled plastics, while the head-up display mixes and matches Mercedes’ MBUX dynamic navigation, but here beaming directional turn arrows onto the actual road ahead. This’ll happen in production cars before too long, folks…

Audi has now publicly confirmed that this is one concept car that will take the leap from catwalk to showroom. ‘Audi is showcasing its compact SUV study with electric drive at the 2019 Geneva motor show. The Audi Q4 e-tron concept provides a glimpse of the next stage of Audi electric mobility and is due to be presented as a series-production vehicle in late 2020/early 2021.'

The pace of change at Audi is accelerating, alright. The company pledged at Geneva that it would have 12 full electric cars in its range by 2025, plus at least eight plug-in hybrid cars.

We'll see the next full battery electric car unveiled at the Shanghai motor show in April 2019 - a newly extended, long-wheelbase Audi Q2 L e-Tron, made specially for the Chinese car market.

Further electric car reading

The best electric cars and EVs on sale today

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Future electric cars: upcoming EVs to look out for

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet