Audi has unwrapped its new all-electric Q4 Sportback e-tron concept SUV which is, in all truth, a sportier, slightly less practical version of the standard Q4 e-tron. It will have a maximum range of around 310 miles. Both models will go on-sale in 2021, with entry prices expected to be above the £50,000 barrier.
Thoughtfully and sensibly, Audi says it has unveiled the Q4 Sportback e-tron in concept form now simply to give potential customers an early chance to decide which version they prefer before order books open. Both cars will go head-to-head with the Tesla Model Y.
Audi has stated that by 2025 it will offer more than 20 models with all-electric drive in the most important markets worldwide and achieve roughly 40 per cent of its sales with electrified models.
In designing the Q4 Sportback e-tron (which will be available in both all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive forms) Audi has tweaked the original looks of the Q4 e-tron - the latter will be the first Audi to launch on the VW Group’s MEB platform for electric vehicles.
So what are the main differences?
You’ll not be surprised that the principal design changes to the Q4 Sportback e-tron are at the rear of the car. Gone is the traditional C-pillar found on the Q4 e-tron. There’s now also a single continuous crescent in the roofline from the front axle to the very rear of the car, specifically to give the Sportback a fastback-style.
There are also changes to the rear windows. While the rear three-quarter windows have grown in size, the main rear window is steeper in rake than before. It’s also split in half by a small lip spoiler.
The rest of the Q4 Sportback e-tron essentially mirrors the styling of the standard Q4 e-tron. Both share the same LED taillight bar, large rear diffuser with illuminated e-tron logo, large front grille, the characteristically squared-off shoulders, and large 22in alloys.
And what about the interior?
Again, it essentially mirrors the ‘standard’ car. There’s a hexagonal steering wheel, which includes touch-sensitive pads for controlling various cabin and driving functions.
Positioned behind that is a small digital instrument panel. The central and larger 12.3 inch central touchscreen is angled towards the driver. There’s also a storage compartment beneath the panel housing the drive mode selector.
As was the case with the original Q4 e-tron concept, the Sportback has been presented as a four-seater. While it looks good as a concept, the reality is the production version will most likely be designed to accommodate five passengers. The seats are finished in Alcantara, while white and beige microfibre upholstery features around the cabin. Audi highlights the dark floor covering is made from recycled materials.
What about batteries and range?
Good question. So far Audi has only confirmed the ‘halo’ Q4 Sportback e-tron will be fitted with an 82kWh battery. But we also know the MEB platform, on which the car is built, can house smaller 45kWh and 58kWh battery packs. The Volkswagen ID.3, which also uses the MEB, is already available with the smaller battery packs specifically to create cheaper models. So far Audi has yet to confirm whether the Q4 e-tron will follow a similar route.
As for range, the dual-motor all-wheel-drive will be good for 280 miles on a single charge, with the rear-wheel-drive version capable of more than 310 miles.
Any details about performance and charging?
Audi says the 298bhp all-wheel drive version will cover 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds, and have an electronically-limited top speed of 112mph. No performance figures or spec details have yet been released for the rear-wheel drive version.
As for charging, both Q4 e-tron models will be fitted with rapid charging at up to 125kW. If you can find a rapid-charger, Audi says you should be able to top up the battery to 80 per cent from flat in just over 30 minutes.
How much will it cost?
Ah, the million dollar question. The bottom line is, Audi has yet to confirm prices, so don’t expect official pricing until next year. But what we do know is that within a few weeks VW will reveal its similar-sized all-electric ID.4 SUV, which shares much of the same technology and the MEB platform.
It’s fair to assume the Audi will hold a higher price entry-point than its VW family member. That most likely means the Q4 e-tron fitted with the 82kWh battery should be priced at more than £50,000. The sportier Q4 Sportback e-tron will cost a few thousand pounds more than the ’standard’ Q4 e-tron.