Audi has formally expanded its range of electric vehicles, unveiling its Q4 e-tron in a digital online event overnight, a compact crossover that sits between the Q3 and Q5 and firmly in the zero-emissions dress circle.
The smaller sibling to the e-tron, which in Australia costs from $137,700, the Q4 e-tron is joined by a Q4 Sportback e-tron that equally is the entry-level version of the Sportback e-tron.
The new vehicles from Audi represent an easier entry into German luxury electric mobility, and although Australian pricing has not yet been announced, in Europe it will start at €41,900, about $A65,000 converted, when it is introduced in mid-2021.
The Q4 e-tron family also represent a departure from the carmaker’s flagship e-tron models because they are the first electric vehicles from Audi to be built on Volkswagen Group’s dedicated all-electric MEB platform, which is already used for VW’s ID series.
The Q4 e-tron vehicles also represent the effort the German brand is making in the transition to electric mobility.
For the first time, more than half of new vehicles launched by Audi in one year will be electric, said Markus Duesmann, with the new vehicles following hotly on the heels of the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT.
“We are expanding our product range in the growing market segment for compact SUV/CUVs. In this way we are offering our customers an attractive entry point to the premium world of e-mobility,” board member for sales Hildegard Wortmann said in a statement.
The Q4 e-trons will come equipped with a smaller battery than the e-tron, starting with a 55kWh (52kWh usable) pack for the base model, which Audi says will deliver 341km of range for the Q4 e-tron and 349km for the Q4 e-tron Sportback.
These figures come from the European WLTP standard and are based on optimum driving conditions, so expect actual range to be a bit lower than this depending on driving style.
Drivers seeking more range can upgrade to an 82kWh (77kWh usable) battery that promises 488km and 497 range respectively (WLTP). For an indicative actual range, consider this is the same size battery seen in the ID.4 that in the US recently achieved a 260 mile (418km) EPA rating which is considered to be closer to real-world riving range.
Although pegged at a wider market, the Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback don’t miss out on high-tech features, like an augmented-reality heads-up display, a bank of digital instrument clusters accessible via a 10.3 inch screen, which is joined by a 10.1 infotainment touchscreen.
The Q4 e-tron Sportback is the more aerodynamic version of the two, but sacrifices some luggage space in return for its sleeker profile.
Both models come with a traditional circular steering wheel as standard, although those wanting to move into the trend of steering wheels that resemble aircraft controls can opt for the squared-off version that is flat on top and bottom.
When the Q4 e-trons will make it to Australia is yet to be confirmed, although it is worth noting that although Volkswagen Australia has lamented the lack of supportive EV policy that will delay the release of the “folks wagon” ID.4 electric SUV, its luxury sibling has already brought the e-tron to Australian shores and has sold nearly 100 of them since mid-2020.
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 since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.