For as much fun as you’d likely have using an RS e-tron GT for your daily driver, many aspects of our modern lives simply can’t be packed into the back end of a touring sedan. For those more mundane minutia, those child-schlepping, grocery-toting, errand-running tasks, Audi’s upcoming Q4 and Q4 Sportback e-tron SUVs will have you covered — though only if you live in Europe.
First teased back in 2019, the Q4 e-tron and the Q4 Sportback are built for the small SUV category, their structural underpinnings based on the same modular electric drive system (MEB) platform as VW’s new ID.4. These vehicles are 4.59 meters long and 1.62 meters tall (essentially the same 63-inch height of the Mustang Mach-E) with a turning radius of 10.2 meters (five feet shorter than the Ford). It boasts a drag coefficient of 0.28 — 0.26 for the Sportback thanks to flatter coupe-style roof — which is nearly equal to that of the Polestar 2. For the tape, the RS e-tron GT has a drag coeff of 0.24 and that thing is sigulargly designed to haul ass. As such, the Q4 appears to be designed far more for traversing heavy downtown traffic and highway hijinks than for barrelling down off-road trails.
And because they lack a central driveshaft, both versions offer ample storage and cabin space — 24.8 liters of item storage in the cabin, the cupholder in each door can accommodate a liter of cola, and the trunk holds up to 1,490 liters of cargo capacity for the Q4 e-tron if you fold the back seats down. They’re also rated to tow up to 1,200 kilograms.
The Q4 and Sportback will be available in eight colors when they launch — including a new “aurora violet” metallic swatch taken from Audi Sport. The company will also offer upgraded advanced and S line exterior lines in addition to the Q4’s basic exterior, which include contrasting color schemes for the lower body panels, chrome accents and the choice between 19-, 20- and 21-inch aluminum wheels. Audi’s offering an optional panorama glass sunroof as well — fingers crossed we'll see something similar to the auto-tinting capabilities of the Cadillac Celestiq.
Once you settle on either the Q4 or the Sportback body style, you’ll have your choice of three motor options and two battery sizes. The Q4 35 and Q4 40 will both be pure RWD with a single motor — the only two Audi models in production besides the R8 V10 RWD to use rear wheel drive exclusively. The larger Q4 50 uses a pair of motors to achieve e-AWD.
The entry level Q4 35 (available as either an e-tron or Sportback) is outfitted with a surprisingly tiny 52 kWh (net), 8-module battery pack — that’s smaller than what powers the latest Chevy Bolt. It outputs 125 kW (~167 HP), and hits 0 to 100 km/h in 9.0 seconds with a range of 211 - 216 miles (based on WLTP estimates). It can charge at 7.2 kW on AC or up to 100kW on DC.
The Q4 40 is the next step up at EUR 47,500 and the distinctions between it and the 35 are significant. For one thing, the 40 comes strapped with the larger 77 kWh, 12-module battery pack. It tops 100km/h in 8.5 seconds with a governed top speed of 160 km/h and boasts an estimated a 323 mile (520 km) range. On AC, the Q4 40 and 50 models should charge at 11kW and, while on a level 3 DC fast charger, hit a rate of 125 kW.
The top of the line, EUR 52,900 Q4 50 e-tron quattro uses the same 77 kWh battery as the 40 but its dual motors output 295 HP with 339 ft lb of torque. You’ll see a 0 - 100 km/h in a blistering 6.2 seconds (remember, this is an SUV) with a top speed of 180 km/h and a full-charge range of 488 to 497 miles — the Sportback version having the edge in distance in this case.
Audi will also offer an optional “dynamic package” which allows the driver to fiddle with the characteristics of the vehicle’s steering and motors. They'll be able to swap between “comfort,” “auto,” “efficiency,” “individual,” and “dynamic” driving modes. “Dynamic package plus” does all of that fanciness as well as lets you adjust the suspension's damping controls.
As with the other models in this burgeoning EV lineup, Audi packed the Q4’s interior space with modern, sustainable tech and stylings. The seat upholstery is made from recycled polyester and comes in four colors (unless you splurge for the Napa leather upgrade). Seat heating, electric adjustment, and electric lumbar support are optional. In the event of a side impact, the front seats will deploy a new central airbag, in addition to the standard side bags, to keep the driver and passenger from slamming into one another.
The Q4’s instrument cluster, as we’ve previously noted, takes the form of a 10.25-inch display and is paired with either a 10.1 or 11.6-inch dash-mounted infotainment screen. To keep the driver’s eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, the Q4 will feature integrated voice control - just say “hey Audi.” And, of course, there’s the fancy new AR HUD that beams driving data and navigation instructions onto the front windshield.
And what modern luxury EV would be complete without a menagerie of semi-automated driver assist features? The Q4 offers front side and rear collision warnings, adaptive cruise control, exit impact warnings, curb warnings, collision avoidance assist, brake and high beam assist, remote parking and 360-degree camera coverage.
The Q4 e-tron (35 version) is slated for European release in June 2021 with an estimated sticker price of EUR 41,900 in Germany, though that figure will be offset by an EUR 9,000 government subsidy. The Sportback will become available later in the summer for EUR 2,000 beyond whatever packages and options you spring for on the regular model. Two “edition” packages will also be available upon launch for an extra EUR 6,195 consideration. These feature the geyser blue and typhoon gray paint schemes you see in the photo above. The package also includes 21-inch rims (note that they're copper in the typhoon grey scheme), along with darkened light covers and body accents. Audi hasn’t yet disclosed when — or if — the Q4 e-tron will eventually make its way stateside.