Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron previews a future electric SUV coupe
Buyers looking to slide into an Audi Q4 e-tron will have one extra question to answer at dealerships: crossover or crossover-coupe? This week, Audi follows up on the Q4 e-tron concept it showed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, introducing a slipperier, sportier profile with the Q4 Sportback e-tron concept. Both models will be going into production within roughly a years' time, giving future buyers two distinct flavors of 302-hp pure-electric AWD small SUV.
The Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron are very much identical siblings with different haircuts. The new 181-in (460-cm)-long Sportback gains an indiscernible centimeter (0.4 in) of length while losing a centimeter of height and riding on the same 109-in (277-cm) wheelbase. The Sportback's arched roofline drops back fastback-style into the tautened rear-end with spoiler, adding a sportier presence.
Both Q4's are based on VW's MEB modular electrification platform and carry 82 kWh of battery power mounted low between the axles. In ranging-topping quattro all-wheel drive form, this battery runs the dual motors for up to an estimated 279 miles (450 km, WLTP). Buyers who drop the front motor in favor of rear-wheel drive can expect up to 310 miles (500 km). The Sportback's low-slung looks won't earn it any actual speed improvements, as both Q4 quattro e-tron variants bring the same 6.3-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h) and 112-mph (180-km/h) top speed figures.
Under regular driving conditions, the e-tron quattro system relies most heavily on the 201-hp synchronous rear motor for efficient rear-biased power. When the driver needs more oomph, or when the vehicle predicts traction loss, the system taps the 101-hp asynchronous front motor in channeling in more torque up front.
Inside the doors, Audi capitalizes on the increased space left by the decentralized powertrain and loss of transmission tunnel to create an interior meant to punch above its weight class in terms of space. Save for a change in colors, the front cabin follows the design of the original Q4 e-tron concept with its angled-in 12.3-in central infotainment screen and a digital cockpit that subtly follows the shape of the single-frame grille on the front of the car. A large-format head-up display adds extra information and augmented reality capability, while steering wheel touch panels and a hovering climate control pad to the right add a layer of physical control.
Audi will launch the Q4 Sportback e-tron in 2021 as the seventh in an EV offensive that began in 2018 with the larger e-tron SUV and will exceed 20 models by 2025. By that time, it expects electrified vehicles to account for 40 percent of its sales.