Ahead of its time technologically and ahead of its class in terms of interior space, the forthcoming fully electric Audi Q4 e-tron will offer a driving environment that perfectly embodies Vorsprung durch Technik.
Sophisticated features including a pioneering augmented reality head-up display and touch-sensitive steering wheel control functionality are complemented in the all-new compact SUV by a level of space that far exceeds the current benchmark in the segment. Its interior is in fact more closely comparable to models from the classes above.
“Full electrification at Audi has so far been confined to the upper reaches of the range in our larger e-tron SUVs and e-tron GT grand tourers, so the launch of the Q4 e-tron into the core compact SUV segment will mark the point at which its influence really begins to radiate,” says Director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle. “The Q4 carries the now familiar e-tron SUV’s DNA as the world’s best-selling German premium BEV into the class, and this preview confirms some fundamentally outstanding qualities that begin to paint a picture of a car that has every chance of decisively building on that success.”
Standing 1,613 millimetres high, with a length of 4,590 millimetres and a width of 1,865 millimetres, the Q4 e-tron belongs at the upper end of the compact SUV segment where its exterior dimensions are concerned. Its modular electric drive system (MEB) architecture permits exceptionally space efficient packaging. This is clearly demonstrated by its combination of a short front overhang measuring just 86 centimetres and a generous wheelbase length of 2.76 metres, which surpasses SUV equivalents from the class above. Such dimensions favour the interior of the car, which at 1.83 metres in length, is similar in scale to a luxury class SUV.
Comfort has been prioritised right from the point at which the driver and up to four passengers open the doors of the new forthcoming Audi Q4 e-tron. They open wide to reveal high-mounted, easily accessible seats and generous space, made possible in part by the fact that the electric drive concept enables the centre tunnel to be replaced by a considerably less intrusive flat step. The seats in the second row are mounted almost seven centimetres higher than those at the front, while still offering plenty of headroom, and the quantity of knee room is positively luxurious. When it comes to spaciousness, the compact electric SUV from Audi outshines its direct competitors in the premium segment.
The Audi Q4 e-tron has been conceived as a true all-rounder fit for everyday life and leisure and perfectly capable of fulfilling the role of a household’s main car. Its luggage compartment provides a very competitive 520 litres of space, or 1,490 litres when the split backrests are fully folded, and its capacity for stowage of belongings that need to fall more easily to hand in the cabin is equally impressive, with 24.8 litres of available volume including the glove compartment. The centre console integrates two cup holders, a 4.4-litre stowage compartment with a cover, two (or four as an option) USB type-C sockets, and the Audi phone box wireless smartphone charging module where this is fitted. All four door trims feature holders for bottles of up to one litre in capacity which are located far up in the front section of the armrest and are therefore very easy to reach. The upper bottle holders were developed in close cooperation between designers and engineers; finding a spot for them in the limited door space was a real challenge.
In common with the majority of Audi models, the Q4 e-tron will deliver its infotainment via a fully digital operating and display concept based around a central MMI touch display offering natural language voice control, complemented by the Audi virtual cockpit. And for the first time, this configuration will be available in the UK in conjunction with the option of an augmented reality head-up display – a new pioneering piece of technology.
The digital instrument cluster has a 10.25-inch diagonal and is operated via the multifunction steering wheel. The power meter, which is located next to the speedometer on the display, summarises all important information on the Q4 e-tron’s status, from the output and the state of charge of the battery to the active recuperation profile. The Audi virtual cockpit which will be standard for all UK models integrates the navigation map and infotainment control and can be switched between two views. In some versions, and in the technology package that will be optionally available, it will feature as the Audi virtual cockpit plus, offering “classic,” “sport,” and “e-tron” layouts, where the power meter plays the main part. Many displays can be configured freely via the MMI here.
The new era of technology into which Audi has entered is also reflected in the interior design of the Q4 e-tron. The elegant and progressive lines of the instrument panel enhance the sense of space and the cockpit with its markedly three-dimensional design underscores the absolutely contemporary feel.
In the Audi Q4 e-tron, the operating and display units take on the function of design elements more than ever. The digital instrument for the driver appears to be a separate entity embedded between two sections of the dashboard, while the central MMI touch display, which appears clean and light, occupies the space in front of the longer section. It is tilted toward the driver and well placed for ergonomic accessibility.
A slim inlay, which is known as the tech layer, connects the display with the instrument panel and will be available in a wide choice of finishes, including a technical hybrid fabric made partially from recycled material that will be reserved for S line models and offered shortly after the market launch.
Depending on version, the other contours of the instrument panel, which are known as accent surfaces, are designed in various silver and grey tones to match the inlay. The most striking of these contours runs across horizontally, dividing the instrument panel into two zones, and is decorated with a distinctive e-tron badge. Immediately below it, also facing the driver, lies the operating unit for climate control. Below it, a large operating panel with a black-panel look extends into the space. It holds the compact shifter for selecting the gears, a capacitive rotary volume control, the start/stop button, the hazard warning light switch, and the Audi drive select button. In addition, there are buttons for further functions that are designed as seamless touch surfaces in a black-panel look and backlit with white light.
Heated front sport seats with electrically adjustable lumbar support will be standard for UK Q4 e-tron models, and represent the state of the art in terms of safety technology. In the event of a side impact, what is known as the centre airbag unfolds from the right-hand bolster of the driver’s seat in addition to the side airbags to ensure that the driver and front passenger do not collide with one another. Electric adjustment will also feature as standard or optionally depending on version.