Audi Q4 E-Tron Sportback: first look

  • Swoopy version of Q4 E-Tron SUV
  • One or two motor drivetrains
  • Sportier look than boxy SUV

Audi’s first electric car arrived in the form of the E-Tron SUV in 2019 and was followed shortly after by the sportier-looking E-Tron Sportback. This battery powered pair is due to be supplemented by the smaller and cheaper Q4 E-Tron and Q4 E-Tron Sportback.

Yes, that is a bit confusing, but to clear things up think of the original E-Tron pair as Audi’s flagship electric models – designed to make an impact and showcase tech that will eventually trickle down into more accessible models like the swoopy concept you see before you.

And while this car is only a preview of the full production model (due to go on sale in 2021) Audi’s designers say it’s 90% representative of the real car, which will be a little lower and wider, with smaller wheels.

Design cues from across the Audi range

Look closely and you’ll see bits of other Audi cars present in this concept’s design – from the blanked out grille of the Q4 E-Tron concept to the full-width light element of the A8 limousine.

2021 Audi Q4 E-Tron Sportback rear

Up front are a pair of the latest digital matrix LEDs but featuring a customisable layout for the daytime running lights, so you can pick a graphic that suits you.

Down the side of the car are some Quattro-inspired bulging arches and a bonnet line that stretches across the wing – we’ll explain why later.

Then at the back a sharp-looking boot spoiler separates the Sportback’s design from the boxier SUV, and contributes to this car’s slipperier aerodynamics.

Propulsion shared with the Q4 Sportback e-Tron

Here’s where things get even more familiar – the Q4 Sportback features the same power options as the SUV – one electric motor for each axle for the Quattro car, or one on the rear in the two-wheel drive version.

Like the SUV this means a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 111.8 mph (figures for the dual motor Quattro) thanks to just over 300hp and 460Nm of torque. Even the two-wheel drive car is punchy, with 200hp and 310Nm.

2021 Audi Q4 E-Tron Sportback side

This car sits on VW Group’s special electric car chassis (called the MEB platform) which will form the basis of the upcoming VW ID.3, ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq. This means the large 82kWh battery pack can be stashed along the underbody floor to increase interior space.

From that you can expect either 311 or 280 miles of range (the 2WD goes further than the or Quattro) and an 80% fill in 30 minutes thanks to a 125kW charger.

Futuristic, spacious interior

As we mentioned before, the windscreen needs to be larger than normal to incorporate an augmented reality head up display – pushing the a-pillar forwards and necessitating a line from the bonnet flowing over the wing to keep the design from looking too much like an MPV.

Anyway, this clever tech is similar to a regular head up display but contains loads of useful information like sat-nav directions and beams them right into your eyeline.

2021 Audi Q4 E-Tron Sportback interior

Less surprising is the inclusion of Audi’s latest virtual cockpit digital display behind the wheel, plus touch-sensitive control panels (like you get in a VW Golf) in the steering wheel spokes and under the 12.3-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash.

The lack of gearbox means the tunnel between the left and right halves of the car can be used for storage, including a wireless phone charger, and there are some neat drinks holders in the top section of the doors too.

In the back Audi says there’s loads of legroom, more like what you get in a much larger car, plus a boot volume like what you’d get in a slightly larger car.

What this means for you

You can’t buy this car yet (or at all really as it’s a concept) but it does give us a pretty cast-iron clue what the production model will look like in 2021, and Audi says this means you can make your mind up which one you’d like now.

What this model and the Q4 SUV represent is the kind of electric car people will buy because they like the way it looks, and have rationalised the range and charging requirements in the same way they would a petrol or diesel car. A car first, in other words, and an electric car second.