Audi’s latest concept isn’t exactly a shocker, but the new electric crossover does add another chic model to the company lineup. The Q4 e-tron Sportback Concept takes the electric Q4 and gives it the sleek roofline that’s been flooding the luxury crossover segment, trading a bit of utility for a lot of fashion.
“Sportback [...] the difference is always a superfast roofline and the rear end,” said Audi Head of Design Marc Lichte. “This is almost the fastest [roof] we ever designed.” That roof runs down to a spoiler that splits the hatch and adds some glass below it giving you a sliver of a glimpse between spoiler and tailgate. Lichte says the spoiler reduces drag by “a few per cent,” meaning that even if the look is a bit unconventional (maybe a bit Prius/Clarity?), it’s in the name of range.
It has a long wheelbase and 22-inch wheels filling the arches, giving it muscular proportions, helped by the bulging rear arches meant to emphasize the quattro all-wheel drive. Those rear haunches are Lichte’s favourite part of the design, he said. At the front, the single-frame grille (blocked off because it’s an EV) hides an array of sensors and is surrounded by a digital daytime running light element.
Audi says that at 4.6 m long, it’s A-segment (mini car) size on the outside, but (despite the roofline), C-segment (compact car) size on the inside, though exact figures weren’t given. The credit for that goes to the long wheelbase and the battery pack under the floor helping to increase space between floor and ceiling. It’s also 1 cm longer and lower than the standard Q4, making them essentially the same size.
The cabin looks just like that of the standard Q4 e-tron we’ve seen, with a very simple design that doesn’t depart much from Audi’s other models. What it does do is add brightness, using light colours for the materials and even lighting signature, adding a feeling of airiness to the cockpit, at least in images. The floor covering is made from recycled materials and the chrome trim is a multi-layer paint finish rather than actual chrome, in the name of sustainability.
Audi’s virtual cockpit dash will be partnered with an augmented reality head-up display and the 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment is turned toward the driver and above the touch buttons for the HVAC. With no need for a conventional gear lever, the center console has a storage compartment and phone charging cradle instead.
Power from the two electric motors is biased toward the rear, with that motor offering up to 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque and the front 100 hp with 111 lb-ft. The battery pack stores 82 kWh giving the Q4 e-tron Sportback concept an estimated range of more than 450 km on the WLTP test cycle. Rear-drive-only versions will offer a 500 km range on the same test, though it’s not clear those will be offered here. It can charge at up to 125 kW, allowing up to an 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes. Audi says the crossover can hit 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds and is restricted to 180 km/h flat-out.
The standard Q4 e-tron is set to go on sale next year, and the Q4 e-tron Sportback will follow, set to go on production a year from now as the brand’s seventh electric model. Expect Canadian availability and pricing for the Sportback around this time next year.