Audi is adding another e-tron string to its electric vehicle bow, announcing the Q4 Sportback e-tron to a worldwide press audience on Tuesday.
In the online “Vorsprung” event, Audi CEO Markus Duessman introduced the new Q4 e-tron Sportback concept, saying it will join the Q4 e-tron as the German car maker’s “be first premium electric volume SUV and gateway to into the progressive premium segment.”
“Our top priorities are supercharging our brands with super emotional products,” said Duessman.
“Our e-mobility strategy is robust and we want to inspire more people to buy electric cars so today we are taking an important step in the direction with the Q4 e-tron sportback concept.”
The Q4 e-tron Sportback is the SUV coupe version of the Q4 e-tron first unveiled by Audi at the Geneva Motor Show 2019, with first cars slated for delivery to European customers in the summer of 2021 at a price of around 40,000 euros($A64,981 converted).
“The Q4 e-tron is our entry into the premium segment – with the most popular body shape, the latest technology and functionality,” said Duesmann, adding the vehicle will become an essential cornerstone for the electrification strategy.
The Q4 e-tron and Sportback join the e-tron 55 and 50 quattro and Sportbacks (now available to order in Australia) along with the recently announced tri-motor e-tron S, part of a plan by Audi to introduce 20 all-electric vehicles by 2025, to account for roughly 40 per cent of all its sales.
This target will then be filled out with models created under the new “Artemis” project that Audi says will allow it to pump out new electric models using a “agile” R&D process.
This is what the Q4 e-tron Sportback looks like: Standing at 4.60m long and 1.60m high, the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron carries a “sexy” silhouette described by Audi as a “subtle and dynamic curve”.
Inside, a spacious interior is enhanced by light, warm colours contrast with a dark floor made of recycled materials, while headlining, pillars and the upper section of the door are made of microfibers.
A heads-up display with augmented reality takes the driver into the future of mobility, while a generous 12.3 inch touchscreen enables access to vehicle functions and infotainment features.
Two electric motors deliver a total of 225 kilowatts of system power via the Q4 e-tron’s quattro all-wheel drive, with 150 kW from the rear motor and 75 kW power output from the front motor.
Equalling the Q4 e-tron in terms of acceleration, the Q4 e-tron Sportback can sprint from a standing start to 100km/hr in just 6.3 seconds, limited by a top speed of 180 km/hr.
However, the range will be decisive for the success of the vehicles: an 82kWh battery takes up almost the entire area in the underbody area between the axles, and with this Audi gives its customers a choice between driving power or increased range.
While the dual motor version offers 450km according to the WLTP standard, versions with rear-wheel drive will, according to Audi, offer a range of over 500km.
But this begs the question: Although Audi has sold 41,000 of its original e-trons worldwide, it has copped criticism that is has overblown promises on range: when it tested with the US EPA it came in with just 328km driving range instead of the promised 400km, with the Sportback being rated with 351km driving range.
With a maximum charge rate of 125 kilowatts, the Q4 e-tron Sportback will take a little more than 30 minutes to reach 80 percent of the total battery capacity.
As a family car, the Q4 e-tron is designed to fit right in with SUVs currently on the market, with plenty of space in the interior and in the luggage compartment, and plenty of headroom for normal people.
The Sportback however takes a more sporty and aggressive tone, with a confident front, a rapidly sloping roof line and a large spoiler on the tailgate which Audi says helps it achieve a drag coefficient is 0.26.
“An electric car does not have to scream: I am environmentally friendly, I drive electrically,” said Audi vehicle designer Philipp Römers.
Efficiency-wise, the Q4 e-tron comes (as with any electric vehicle) regenerative braking to “optimise range”, and also gets a heat pump that helps to thermally manage the battery.
The two new fully electric SUV models Q4 e-tron and its coupé-like Sportback version will be produced at Volkswagen’s Zwickau plant on the same production line as the fairly identical VW models upcoming ID.4, using the same modular electrification kit (MEB) from the VW Group.
Production will start in the first quarter of 2021, and the two mid-range electric cars can then be ordered from German dealers at the same time in the middle of the year.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.