Designed as a compact e-model, the Audi Q4 e-tron features expansive interior and new generation of vehicle technology.

10 March, 2021

While 2020 was a year to forget, 2021 is already more than making up for it, with the first look at the new Audi Q4 e-tron’s interior and some of its cutting-edge technology. Hot on the heels of the international premiere of the Audi e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT, this compact e-model promises to open up new areas of e-mobility with its size and technology and this first look doesn’t disappoint. 

With its expansive interior, the Q4 is anything but compact – rather it offers the sort of room you would expect in a much larger vehicle and its unique configuration make best use of that space. But the size is just the start. New technology abounds, with the next generation steering wheel with touch operation and a super sized 11.6 inch digital touch display also to be made available. Then there’s the augmented reality head-up display which brings the real and virtual worlds together like never before. It reflects important information via the windscreen on two separate levels – the status section and the augmented reality (AR) section – with the information provided by some of the assist systems and the turning arrows of the navigation system all visually superimposed in the corresponding place on the real-life outside world. Depending on the situation, they appear considerably further ahead in some cases. The driver can understand the displays at a glance and they are extremely helpful in poor visibility conditions. 

This augmented reality head-up display really hits its straps for navigation, where what is known as ‘the drone’ (a floating arrow), shows the next point of action on the actual route. As you approach an intersection, for example, the floating arrow first signals the turning manoeuvre before an animated arrow steers the driver onto the road. If the route then continues straight ahead, the drone flies ahead and disappears in order to then reappear with sufficient time before the next point of action. The distance to the turning point is displayed in metres in the lower window of the near-field area. 

Then there is the new steering wheel with its touch operation. With a double-spoke design, the upper spokes feature touch surfaces in a black-panel look whose functional areas are also backlit to indicate the respective active buttons. Slight protrusions separate them from each other, thereby making them easier to use, and the buttons provide soft haptic feedback when pressed. Just like on a smartphone, there are not only touch gestures but also swipe gestures to achieve the desired action.

Different versions will be available, with the top-of-the-line version featuring paddles for coasting recuperation and a two-part trim on the spokes. The heated rim is also flattened at the top and bottom giving it and indeed the whole interior a more futuristic look.

Of course there is also natural-language voice control to assist in control ling all manner of on-board functions, so between the wheel, voice commands and the large touchscreens, everything is at the touch of a button or you just literally have to ‘say the word’.

Safety too is state-of-the-art, with features such as a centre airbag between the driver and front passenger deployed as needed to stop these two occupants impacting one another in the event of a side impact. And those front seats can be ordered in a leather/artificial leather mixture or the premium fine Nappa leather. There is also a combination of artificial leather and the microfibre material Dinamica which looks and feels like suede but is made of 45 percent recycled polyester, which is sourced from textiles and PET bottles. 

The rear seats, which can of course be adjusted to allow for carrying different sized luggage and equipment, also sit seven centimetres higher than the front seats, yet without compromising headroom. While legroom in the rear seats is vast, thanks again to the flat floor of the e-tron because of the absence of a transmission tunnel.

Although for now the Q4 e-tron’s exterior remains heavily camouflaged, the interior design and appointment, as well as the new technology are enough to whet the appetite for this latest Audi e-tron variant.