Audi says its Q4 e-tron compact crossover will enter the luxury EV marketplace in early 2021. It’s the second pure electric vehicle release for the Bavarian automaker, following the Audi e-tron SUV. A third e-tron, the GT sedan, will be coming soon.
By John Coulter, CURRENT EV CMO
Providing 300 horsepower, the Q4 e-tron accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds. To preserve electric range, the EV’s top speed is governed at 112mph. The vehicle’s 82.0kWh Lithium-ion battery has produced 280 miles of range in European test trials, and weighs just 1124 pounds – less than the batteries of other EVs in its class. That range may be adjusted by EPA testing here in the USA.
The large battery takes up almost the entire space between axles in the Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) underbody area produced by the Volkswagen Group, Audi’s parent company. The MEB’s architectural structure and the electric toolkit that comes with it vanquishes the massive baggage of the fossil fuel age. MEB provides reduced weight, a streamlined body, a much larger interior and far more efficient powertrain characteristics. The e-tron SUV which came out last year used a partial MEB platform. The Q4 is the first e-tron to use the full MEB which will be the foundation of all Audi EVs and Volkswagen I.D. EVs to come.
The Q4’s front and rear axles have their own separate electric motors. There is no mechanical connection between the axles. Instead, electronic control ensures that the torque distribution is coordinated optimally, within fractions of a second. That enables the electric SUV to achieve optimum traction in all weather conditions and on any type of surface.
Test drivers say the car is extraordinarily agile due to its 50/50 front/rear weight balance, its Quattro All-Wheel Drive, its ultra-efficient torque management system, MacPherson front and multilink rear suspension (both with adaptive dampers), 22-inch wheels with 265/40 Pirelli P Zero rubber. Highly impressive for a crossover SUV, its superior drag coefficient of 0.28 aids agility as well. 22” wheels using 265/40 Pirelli P Zero rubber provide excellent traction.
The Q4 has no electronic, camera-based rearview mirrors – they’ve been replaced by cameras that display the rearview on cockpit screens located on the uppermost part of the door trim. The system is standard on the Launch Edition of the Audi e-tron SUV and carries over to the Q4. Getting rid of the exterior rearview mirrors reduces turbulence and improves the drag coefficient and adds around four extra miles of pure electric travel.
At 180.7 inches long, 74.8 inches wide, and 63.4 inches tall, The Q4 e-tron fits right into the compact-crossover SUV segment with a 180.7” length, 74.8” width and 63.4” height. The EV’s 109.1” wheelbase creates a generous interior. Says Audi: “With its dimensions, the Audi Q4 e-tron takes its position in the upper third of the compact class. Its road space requirements thus qualify the electric SUV as an agile all-rounder that is suitable for city driving as well. In terms of the interior, by contrast, its wheelbase of 2.77 meters puts it at least one class higher.”
No surprise that the cockpit is futuristic – this trend can be seen in all the Audi prototype and concept car designs leaked to date. The Audi Q4 website calls the EV’s interior “spacious,” and describes it this way: “The sense of spaciousness is underlined by the color scheme. While light, warm colors dominate the upper section of the cabin, the dark carpet in the floor section provides a contrast. The headlining, the window pillars and the upper section of the door rail and dash panel are fitted with white and beige microfiber textiles. In the Audi e-tron concept, sustainability is the top priority not only in terms of the electric drive: The floor covering is made of recycled materials. Instead of chrome-plated metal decor frames, the surfaces are covered with a high-quality multi-layer paint finish. The painted frosted Plexiglas on the applications creates an intensive depth effect. Four seats with integrated head restraints are upholstered with comfortable Alcantara material manufactured with exquisite workmanship. Double seams stitched with thick yarn adorn the upholstery.”
The Q4’s Singleframe makes it identifiable as an Audi at first glance. longer required to open to cool a gas engine, the traditional radiator grill is covered with an octagonal closed surface, pushing airflow past the car. Large inlets extending from below the two matrix LED headlights down to the front apron provide additional airflow channels to cut down drag coefficiency. The fenders of all four wheels have been prominently remodeled to work with the car’s widened, organic and flowing lines. The slight back-and-down roof slant gives the Q4’s side silhouette a dynamic, rakish look. It’s 22” wheels are synonymous with pure electric power and agility.
On the Q4’s rear end, a broad light band connects the left and right lamp units – continuing the rear element design of the Audi e-tron SUV. Inside the car, LED segments sweeps are also reminiscent of the Q4’s “older brother.”
Audi has incorporated new technology into the body paint color “Solar Sky” – one of the Q4’s color choices. The shade of blue changes depending on the angle of the light, and is considered a sustainable innovation in two senses. Explains Audi: “The paint, which was developed specifically for the Audi Q4 and produced under environmentally friendly conditions, effectively reflects a short-wave fraction of sunlight, near the infrared spectrum. This reduces the build-up of heat on the surface of the body and the interior significantly. This benefits the subjective well-being of the occupants while at the same time reducing the energy input required for the air conditioning, which is then not needed as much to cool the vehicle interior on warm days. This, in turn, improves the range and the global carbon footprint of the Q4 e-tron.”
Car experts predict the Q4’s pricing will be similar to the Model Y – Tesla’s upcoming electric compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV) – in the $50K to $60K range. Audi is hoping the EV will come to dealer showrooms in early 2021. Stay tuned for more details.