Almost exactly one year since the first Audi e-tron made its camouflaged debut at the Geneva Motor Show, a concept that will form the basis of the fifth fully electric model to join the range by the close of the decade is set to break cover at the same location.
The Audi Q4 e-tron concept is a compact four-door SUV whose relation to the Audi e-tron is apparent at first glance.
Two electric motors mobilise 225 kW of system power in the Q4 e-tron concept. As is typical for Audi, the driving power of the concept vehicle is brought to the road with quattro all-wheel drive.
Thanks to excellent traction, it accelerates from zero to 62mph in just 6.3 seconds. It reaches its maximum speed at an electronically limited 111mph. A large battery with a capacity of 82 kilowatt hours takes up almost the entire space in the underbody area between the axles. The range of over 450 kilometres (279 miles) – in line with the WLTP standard – sets the benchmark in its class. The technology of the Q4 e-tron concept controls the modular electrification platform (MEB) that will be integrated in numerous electric vehicles produced by the Volkswagen Group in the future, from the compact class to the medium-size class.
The Audi Q4 e-tron concept gives an advance look at what will already be the fifth series production electric vehicle that the manufacturer will introduce by the end of 2020. Sales of the Audi e-tron have already started, and the first vehicles will be delivered to the customers before the end of March 2019. Later this year, the Audi e-tron Sportback will be presented, and the Audi Q2L e-tron, which was designed specifically for the Chinese market, will roll off the assembly line. The presentation of the production version of the four-door high-performance coupé Audi e-tron GT, which is being developed at Audi Sport GmbH, is planned for the second half of 2020. The compact Audi Q4 e-tron is to make its production debut at the same time. With this offer, Audi now covers all important market segments with all-electric drive vehicles, from the A segment to the full-size class, just under two years after the launch of the first electric car.
The Q4 e-tron concept is identifiable as an Audi at first glance by the Singleframe bearing the four rings. And it will take no more than two glances to see that this is an electric Audi e-tron: Like the first production Audi with electric drive, the new concept vehicle also features a structured closed surface within a broad, almost upright octagonal frame in place of a traditional radiator grille. Air is supplied via large inlets that extend from below the two matrix LED headlights all the way down to the front apron.
The prominently sculpted wings above all four wheels are a further classic Audi design feature that distinguishes the brand. The widened features of the Q4 e-tron concept are designed to be highly organic and flowing, and they add a characteristic touch to the side view. The accentuation of the rocker panel area between the axles, where the battery and thus the powerhouse of this SUV is located, is a typical feature of the e-tron. Large 22 inch wheels leave no doubt about the potential of the Audi e-tron concept. Its roof line slants down slightly towards the rear, giving the silhouette a particularly dynamic look.
The striking broad light band that connects the two lamp units on the rear end of the Audi Q4 e-tron concept was incorporated to reflect an element of the Audi e-tron. The relation within the e-tron family becomes visible even here. This also applies to the inside of the lights, where the significant sweep of the LED segments is also reminiscent of an element of the older brother.
Finally, the body paint in “Solar Sky,” a shade of blue that changes depending on the angle of the light, is a sustainable innovation in two senses: The paint, which was developed specifically for the Audi Q4 e-tron concept 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 concept.
4.59 metres long, 1.90 metres wide, 1.61 metres high: With its dimensions, the Audi Q4 e-tron concept 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 metres puts it at least one class higher. As there is no transmission tunnel restricting the space, the Q4 e-tron concept offers unexpected spaciousness and comfort, especially in terms of legroom both at the front and in the rear.
The sense of space is underlined by the colour scheme. While light, warm colours 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 microfibre 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 display of the virtual cockpit with the most important display elements for speed, charge level and navigation is located behind the steering wheel. The large-format head-up display with an augmented reality function is a new feature. It 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. In the middle above the centre console, there is a 12.3 inch touchscreen on which the infotainment and vehicle functions are displayed and operated. It is tilted toward the driver for greater ease of operation. A strip of buttons for controlling the air conditioning is located below it. As the centre console does not need to hold functional elements such as a gear lever or hand brake actuation elements, it is designed as a spacious stowage compartment that includes a cell phone charging cradle. There is a horizontal area in high-quality design into which the selector button for the transmission mode is integrated and that also serves as a cover for the front section of the console. In addition to the conventional lower storage compartment, the doors now provide the possibility to store bottles in the specially moulded upper section, where they are easy to reach.
The Audi Q4 e-tron concept has been unveiled today at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, providing clues to the look of the series production Audi Q4 e-tron due by the end of 2020.