First presented in 2019, the Audi Q4 E-Tron concept has nearly completed its transition to becoming a production model. It will join the full-size E-Tron and the recently introduced E-Tron GT sport sedan when it makes its full debut later in 2021.
Don’t let the funky orange, black, and white livery trick your mind; It’s camouflage applied specifically to keep the full exterior design hidden. We can nonetheless discern key elements like the lights, which stylists have tweaked over the past two or so years, and the proportions, which are unusual. First of all, the front end is a lot shorter than we’re used to seeing. Audi was able to achieve this because an electric motor requires less space than a four-cylinder or a V6 engine.
The sheet metal hides an Audi-specific version of the modular MEB platform developed to underpin a broad range of EVs from parent company Volkswagen including models like the ID.3 sold in Europe and the ID.4. At about 180 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 63 inches tall, the Q4 E-Tron is approximately as big as a Q3, the smallest soft-roader that Audi sells in the United States. And yet, the company told Digital Trends its interior space is closer to a Q7’s, the firm’s biggest SUV. It notably offers up to 52.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear sets folded flat, and a full cubic foot of storage space scattered across the cabin. Each door panel can store a bottle of water, for example.
Audi saved space for tech. The driver faces a configurable instrument cluster called Virtual Cockpit, a multifunctional steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons on the spokes, and a seriously cool augmented reality head-up display (HUD) that projects key information about the Q4 and its surroundings, like navigation directions, about 30 feet ahead of the driver. Look right, and you’ll see an 11.6-inch touchscreen for the MMI infotainment system. It’s optional, and it’s the biggest screen in Audi’s arsenal. Interestingly, the company notes it packed about 600,000 lines of programming code into the Q4, which is about 50% more than the first space shuttle’s entire control system.
We know the Q4 is all-electric, all the time, but more specific powertrain specifications haven’t been released yet. Using the MEB architecture gives Audi two basic possibilities, however. It can launch the model with one electric motor that spins the rear wheels, or two (one over each axle) to give it through-the-road Quattro all-wheel-drive. Electricity will be stored in a lithium-ion battery pack regardless of which configuration the company chooses.
Audi retailers across the United States should begin receiving the 2022 Q4 E-Tron before the end of 2021. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but many buyers will be eligible to claim local and federal tax incentives.