Audi has unveiled the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron duo of compact fully electric SUVs, and are offered with two battery capacities and three motor output versions offering rear-wheel-drive and AWD layouts, a combination that forms a total of five variants at launch. The Q4 e-tron gets three powertrain versions with the 35, 40 and 50 variants, while the Q4 Sportback e-tron gets two with the 35 and 50 quattro variants.

The base 35 variant for both the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron are equipped with a 52 kWh battery, which feeds a rear axle-mounted motor that produces 170 PS and 310 Nm of torque. For this variant in both bodystyles, 0-100 km/h is attained in 9.0 seconds, while top speed is limited to 160 km/h. In this guise, the Q4 35 e-tron is rated for a maximum range of 341 km on the WLTP cycle, while the Q4 Sportback 35 e-tron does up to 349 km on a single charge.

The variant with the longest range on a single charge is the Q4 40 e-tron that attains a maximum of 520 km on a single charge, which pairs the larger of the two battery sizes, here rated at 77 kWh, with a single rear-mounted motor producing 204 PS and 310 Nm of torque. The 0-100 km/h run takes 8.5 seconds, and top speed is similarly limited to 160 km/h.

Topping the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron powertrain range is the 50 quattro variant, which also runs on the larger, 77 kWh battery pack. This supplies a front axle motor that produces 109 PS and 162 Nm of torque, which augments the rear axle motor that produces 204 PS and 310 Nm of torque as ins the Q4 e-tron 40 variant.

Thus equipped, the 50 quattro variant yields a total system output of 299 PS and 460 Nm of torque. The top-rung powertrain variant enables a 0-100 km/h sprint in 6.2 seconds for both bodystyles, and yields a maximum range of 488 km for the Q4 e-tron and 497 km for the Q4 Sportback e-tron.

In all versions, the rear axle motor operates with a single-speed transmission with a differential. The rear motor in RWD variants employ a 13:1 ratio, while the units in quattro (AWD) versions use a 11.5:1 ratio. Packaged with transmission and power electronics, the water-cooled rear axle motor weighs around 90 kg, says Audi, and has a maximum speed of 16,000 rpm.

Q4 e-tron (above), Q4 Sportback e-tron (below)

Versions with all-wheel-drive feature an asynchronous front axle motor that operates at up to 14,000 rpm, and uses a one-speed transmission with a 10.0:1 ratio. This motor combines coolant and oil for cooling, and the benefits of employing an asynchronous motor is its short-term overload capacity, and minimal drag losses when the motor is not active. The front axle motor unit weighs around 60 kg, says Audi.

All powertrain versions of the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron employ the CCS charging protocol, supporting AC and DC charging. An optional compact e-tron charging system supports AC charging at home at 230 volts or the 400 volts as recommended by Audi.

The base Q4 35 e-tron can recharge its battery at a rate of up to 7.2 kW AC, while other versions support charging at up to 11 kW AC. High-power charging points such as those located along the Ionity network in Europe can charge the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron at up to 100 kW for the base 35 e-tron powertrain version, and at 125 kW for all other variants.

Suspension for the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron is by MacPherson struts for the front wheels, while the rear axle is handled by a compact five-link configuration, according to Audi. The drive motor battery is located in the floor of the car within the wheelbase, and results in a weight distribution that is ‘close to’ the ideal 50:50 split, says Audi.

Rolling stock is comprised of mixed-width tyres on wheels ranging from 19 to 21 inches in diameter, where the tyres measure 235 mm wide in front and 255 mm wide at the back. Braking is handled by disc brakes ranging from 330 mm to 358 mm in diameter depending on powertrain variant.

Meanwhile, the rear axle is managed by low-wear, low-maintenance drum brakes, chosen for their reduced risk of corrosion. This was chosen because rear brakes are rarely used in everyday driving of rear-motor EVs, where the motor provides most of the deceleration and recuperates kinetic energy into electricity.

The cabin architecture of the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron employs the familiar Audi angular cues for interior design, with the central MMI infotainment stack angled towards the driver. The starter button and transmission controls are located mid-tier above the centre console, just below the air-conditioning controls.

In-car connectivity comes courtesy of MMI plus, delivered via a 11.6-inch display and which brings a Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers in addition to basic services of the Audi Connect navigation and infotainment setup. The navigation system offers suggestions for destinations, and provides lane-specific information for traffic flow.

An additional Audi Connect service is the e-tron route planner, which finds the fastest route with as few charging stops as possible via DC fast-charging locations. This will calculate overall travel time, which includes driving time as well as charging time, and accounts for traffic forecasts.

The top-spec MMI pro infotainment and connectivity specification brings virtual cockpit plus instrumentation for the driver, wireless smartphone connectivity, and augmented reality head-up display. These join the features from the MMI plus specification which includes Google Earth navigation, online speech entry, online radio and hybrid radio. Meanwhile, in-car audio is provided by a 10-speaker Sonos system with a subwoofer.

Active safety for the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron includes a sensor suite comprised of a front radar, a front camera, four surround-view cameras, two rear radars and eight ultrasonic sensors. Systems here include lane departure warning, forward collision warning and AEB, a turn assist system when turning across oncoming traffic paths (such as at intersections) and collision avoidance assist.

Driver assistance in the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron also aids in efficiency, such as with the predictive efficiency assist system that indicates to the driver when to ease off the throttle pedal when approaching zones which demand reduced speed, such as built-up areas, intersections or curves.

The system then manages the vehicle’s coasting and recuperation functions without further input from the driver. Fatigue assist continually observes defined patterns to determine that the driver is in good condition to continue driving, while a traffic sign recognition system and a predictive speed limiter complete the set of standard assistance systems.

Optional assistance systems include adaptive cruise control, adaptive cruise assist which adds lateral guidance to keep the vehicle centered in its lane, side assist (a form of blind spot monitoring), exit warning to alert the driver and passengers not to open doors if a vehicle or cyclist is approaching from behind, rear cross traffic assist, emergency assist (which brings the vehicle to a halt if its determines the driver is unable to do so), pre-sense basic and pre-sense rear (which detects impending rear-end collisions).

The Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron go on sale in Europe from June 2021, with prices in the car’s native Germany starting from 41,900 euros (RM207,130).

Audi Q4 e-tron

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron