Just like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Audi has been working on electric cars for a while. The Ingolstadt-based luxury automaker has now unveiled two brand-new all-electric models – the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron. Similar to Mercedes-Benz’s EQ and BMW’s i range of EVs, the e-tron nameplate is Audi’s response to the other two. But instead of releasing just one model, Audi has launched two at the same time. For those that want an all-electric SUV but in a more traditional avatar, there’s the Q4 e-tron. Meanwhile, the Q4 Sportback e-tron is meant for people who place styling over everything else.
Underneath its fancier outfit, the Sportback version is pretty much identical to the standard Q4 e-tron. Both are built around the Volkswagen Group’s MEB architecture, something they share with other newer EVs such as the Volkswagen ID 4, for example. Of course, these being Audis, the VW badge makes way for the posh Four Rings and the whole exterior design looks far more premium and exciting as well. At the front, there is not much that differentiates the Q4 e-tron from its sportier Sportback sibling. Both SUVs get Audi’s Singleframe grille (though the grille itself is completely covered up), shiny silver bits of trim, sleek LED Matrix headlamps with some really fancy LED DRLs, and an aggressively-styled front bumper.
Once you look at these two Audi SUVs from the side, that’s where the visual differences really come forth. Where the standard Q4 e-tron has a gentler slope to the roofline, the Sportback version cranks that up to eleven. Just like the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, the silhouette of the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron is that of a coupe-styled SUV. And sure enough, it definitely captures your attention. The rear of the standard Q4 e-tron suave LED tail lamps with Audi’s signature full-width LED strip between the two main units. Meanwhile, the floating roof effect works well alongside the sporty roof spoiler and the shiny plastic trim on the rear bumper. Just for good measure, there’s also an ‘e-tron’ branding here.
When it comes to the rear of the Sportback, it features the same LED taillights and LED strip as the standard Q4 e-tron. However, the Sportback version gets a steeper rear windscreen, and a more pronounced bootlip spoiler. Then again, the rear bumper design is the same as in the standard Q4 e-tron. Both versions are of equal length, measuring in at 4.59 meters long. Funnily enough, the more practical-looking Q4 e-tron has a boot capacity of 520 liters, whilst the sportier-looking Sportback boasts a cargo capacity of 535 liters. No doubt, Audi’s latest designs look absolutely fantastic, and the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron very much fall under that umbrella.
When it comes to the interior design of these two SUVs, there isn’t a massive difference. The dashboard, center console, and steering wheel are all the same. Of course, the design of these bits looks quite contemporary and extremely well-made. The leather-wrapped four-spoke steering wheel is backed up by the beautifully configured Virtual Cockpit, with the driver-centric 11.6-inch touch-infotainment panel being well-placed and ergonomic. And yes, it comes with connected car tech along with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Then there is the configurable LED mood lighting that really brings the cabin of the Q4 e-tron to life. Moreover, the modern design that amalgamates the shift-by-wire gear selector on the center pedestal and the wonderfully crafted leather sports seats make you feel all sporty and upscale.
The dip in the roofline of the Sportback definitely affects the headroom in the back seats. On the other hand, the standard Q4 e-tron doesn’t suffer from that niggle. Of course, since they are battery-operated, neither the standard Q4 e-tron nor the Sportback has a massive central tunnel at the back. This means that there’s enough room for the rear middle-seat passenger to stretch his/her legs.
If you are thinking about build quality, fret not. Both these Audi electric SUVs are built like they were going to carry VIPs or dignitaries. They sure do feel quite invincible and unquestionably upmarket.
Audi offers the new Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron in 40 & 50 variants. In this case, that translates to a maximum range of 520 kilometers (for the Q4 40 e-tron) out of an effective 77kWh battery pack. However, there is also the entry-level version with an effective 52kWh battery. In all, there are three variants of the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron – the Q4 35, Q4 40, and Q4 50. The standard AC charging speed on the Audi Q4 e-tron range is 7.2kW, though the larger battery allows a minimum of 11kW. However, if you have access to DC fast charging, the entry-level battery pack can be charged at 100kW and the larger ones at up to 125kW.
When it concerns power output, both the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron aren’t that dissimilar. The entry-level Q4 35 e-tron has a single electric motor powering the rear wheels that makes 168hp. Then there is the Q4 40 e-tron that has the same single electric motor but generates 201hp. While these two variants are rear-wheel-drive, Audi hasn’t forgotten its roots. So, the range-topping Q4 50 e-tron comes with dual electric motors that also add the brand’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Now, the output goes to 295hp, which allows this heavy all-electric SUV to hit 100 kmph in 6.2 seconds. As far as the top speed is concerned, Audi limits the Q4 e-tron range to 180 kmph. Audi will commence the first deliveries by the end of 2021.
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