Audi previews its fifth dedicated electric-powered model with the unveiling of the Q4 e-tron, a car it says provides an advanced look at what buyers can expect to see toward the end of 2020.
Billed as a concept upon its public debut at this week’s Geneva auto show, the zero-emission SUV is set to go into production late next year as part of a future-proofing strategy that aims to see Audi offer up to 12 EVs by the middle of next decade.
It is to be positioned below Audi's first dedicated electric model, the e-tron, on price and feature a range the German automaker says will extend beyond 280 miles (450 km).
The Q4 e-tron is the first Audi model to be based on parent company Volkswagen’s new MEB platform – the same structure chosen to underpin a wide range of new EVs, including planned SUV sister models from Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda in a move Audi says provides “huge synergy potential” for its latest electric model.
Power for the new production-based concept comes from two electric motors: one mounted up front delivering 101 hp and 111 lb.-ft. (151 Nm) of torque and another at the rear with 201 hp and 228 lb.-ft. (309 Nm). They provide the Q4 e-tron with all-wheel-drive capability.
Drive is sent to all four wheels via a fixed-ratio gearbox on each axle. In normal everyday driving, most of drive goes to the rear wheels, though at full throttle the drive split is claimed to be 50:50 front-to-rear. There is no mechanical connection between the two axles, as with a conventional combustion-engine car. Instead, an electronic control unit apportions drive to the axle with the most traction.
Together the two electric motors develop a combined system output of 302 hp and 339 lb.-ft. (460 Nm) of torque – sufficient reserves, according to Audi, to provide its new electric-powered SUV with a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 6.3 seconds. To maximize range top speed has been limited to 112 mph (180 km/h).
By comparison, the larger e-tron boasts 402 hp and 489 lb.-ft. (663 Nm) along with a 0-62 mph time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h).
The Q4 e-tron concept’s 82-kWh battery is mounted within the flat floor of its MEB platform. It is claimed to provide an overall range of “over 280 miles” on the WLTP test procedure, or some 31 miles (50 km) more than the larger 95-kWh battery used by the new e-tron, thanks in part to a sophisticated recuperation system which harvests kinetic energy during braking.
The lithium-ion unit, which is claimed to weigh 1,124 lbs. (510 kg) and provide the new Audi with a 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution, can be charged at a maximum 125 kW. The automaker says it can reach 80% charge in “hardly more than 30 minutes.”
At 180.7 ins. (4,590 mm) in length, 74.8 ins. (1,900 mm) in width and 63.4 ins. (1,610 mm) in height, the Q4 e-tron is a considerable 12.2 ins. (310 mm) shorter, 1.4 ins. (36 mm) narrower and 0.2-in. (5 mm) lower than the e-tron. It also rides on a wheelbase that is 6.2 ins. (157 mm) shorter than that of Audi’s first dedicated electric model at 109.1 ins. (2,771 mm).
The SUV features several exterior design elements that immediately mark it as an Audi, including a single-frame grille and illuminated “e-tron” identification in the lower part of the front bumper, large wheelhouses accommodating 22-in. aerodynamically optimized wheels, prominent swage lines across the front and rear fenders and distinctive LED light graphics both front and rear.
The interior draws its design and features from other recent new Audi models with digital instruments and a 12.3-in. (31-cm) touchscreen display for the infotainment functions. A conceptual head-up display unit has an augmented reality function capable of displaying information, such as direction arrows for turning, directly in the driver’s line of sight.
The concept provides seating for up to four on individual seats both front and rear, although the production version of the Q4 e-tron is to receive a more conventional three-across rear bench, providing space for up to five occupants.
As the fifth electric model from Audi, the Q4 e-tron is planned to follow the recently introduced e-tron and its upcoming sister model, the e-tron Sportback, as well as the Chinese-market Q2 e-tron and a production version of the e-tron GT revealed at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show.