The Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron concept points to another exciting new model on the horizon with the production version set to launch in 2021.

8 July, 2020

Head of design at Audi, Marc Lichte is excited. With the first look at the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron, another of his design babies becomes a reality, a stunning coupe interpretation of the first compact electric SUV from Audi – the Q4 e-tron concept that stole the show at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The man whose creative stamp is now very familiar on all Audi vehicles is particularly happy with the way the Q4 e-tron Sportback concept has come together and the way it embraces the Audi design language and adds its own twist.

The Q4 Sportback e-tron concept is the precursor to the production model which will go into production as early 2021. This all-electric SUV Coupé will add a luxury, compact model to the brand’s growing fleet of all-electric models and will be the seventh new e-model in the brand’s growing portfolio.

The dimensions of the two Q4 models are almost identical, measuring 4.60 metres long, 1.9m wide and 1.60m high, with a wheelbase of 2.77 metres. The Sportback though is one centimetre longer and flatter than its SUV sibling which equates to a drag coefficient of 0.26 – 0.01 below that of the Q4 e-tron SUV. 

Likewise their drive is identical, with two electric motors mobilising 225kW of system output, putting power down to the road with quattro all-wheel drive. Performance sees the Q4 e-tron Sportback race from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of180km/h.

A battery with a capacity of 82 kilowatt hours gives a range of over 450 kilometres – in line with the WLTP standard – which happens to set the benchmark in class, and Audi is also planning to produce versions with rear-wheel drive that will offer a range of over 500 kilometres.

Lichte is particularly happy with the design of the Q4 e-tron Sportback, the sweeping ‘fastback’ possibly the most dramatic he has designed, incorporating the large ‘quattro blisters’ for a particularly muscular stance, as well as the distinctive Singleframe grille with its ‘e’ treatments – a structured closed surface within a broad, almost upright octagonal frame in place of a traditional radiator grille.

Then there is the accentuation of the rocker panel area between the axles, the area where the battery is located which is accentuated as part of the design and creating a visual reference to the vehicle’s low centre of gravity. The enormous 22-inch wheels build on the muscular these and the integrated rear spoiler that not only splits the rear treatment and accentuates the width as well as 

pointing to the vehicle’s performance orientation.

In terms of the interior, the wheelbase of 2.77 metres gives the electric Coupé significant internal room especially in terms of legroom at the front and even more in the rear. Light, warm colours have been used to accentuate the feeling of space and dominate the upper section of the cabin, while the dark carpet creates a contrast. The headlining, window pillars and the upper section of the door rail and dash panel are fitted with white and beige microfibre textiles, with floor coverings made of recycled materials. Also, instead of chrome-plated metal decor frames, the surfaces are covered with a high-quality multi-layer paint finish. Four seats with integrated head restraints are upholstered with Alcantara material and the display of the Audi virtual cockpit with the most important display elements for speed, charge level, and navigation provide the very latest in digital technology as well as forming part of the interior and dash design. 

On the technology front there is also a large-format head-up display with an augmented reality function, which can display important graphical information, such as directional arrows for turning, directly on the course of the road.

Control panels designed as touch elements on the steering wheel spokes can be used to select frequently used functions, while in the middle above the centre console, there is a 12.3-inch touchscreen to control the infotainment and vehicle functions.

Storage facilities abound, given the space freed up through the absence of a gear selector and a handbrake, and of course the absence of a transmission tunnel allows for a flat floor and more room to stretch out.

Based on the modular electrification platform (MEB), a broad range of drive variants and power levels are available. The performance version of the electric drive is installed in the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron concept with the front and rear axles each powered by an electric motor. There is no mechanical connection between the axles, but rather an electronic control ensures optimum torque distribution faster than you can blink. 

In most day to day driving, the Q4 Sportback e-tron concept relies on its rear electric motor for as a matter of greatest efficiency, but as soon as the driver needs more power, the electric all-wheel drive uses the front asynchronous motor to redistribute the torque as required to the front axle. 

The electric motor in the rear end has an output of 150kW and 310Nm, while the front motor supplies the front wheels with up to 75kW and 150Nm. This equates to a system output of 225kW. This is powered by the aforementioned battery which stores 82 kilowatt hours and allows for a range of more than 450 kilometres. Weighing in at 512kg and positioned in the floorpan for the optimum centre of gravity, the battery is charged with a maximum of 125 kilowatts which means that it takes takes roughly 30 minutes to reach 80 percent of the total capacity.

In addition to the large capacity battery, the Q4 e-tron Sportback also features a sophisticated recuperation strategy that employs complex thermal management of the drive and battery to achieve optimum results.

When it goes into production next year, the Q4 e-tron Sportback will be the seventh all-electric model from Audi, an exciting new addition to the e-offensive which will see more than 20 all-electric models introduced into most important markets worldwide by 2025, the range covering every relevant market segment from the compact class to the luxury class.

What lies ahead remains to be seen, but for now, Marc Lichte is more than happy with the design of the brand’s future models is tracking.