The new mid-sized SUV is based on the Volkswagen Group’s versatile MEB electric car platform, so it shares its drivetrain, lithium ion battery, charging system and chassis with the Volkswagen ID 3 and ID 4, alongside which it will be produced at Volkswagen’s factory in Zwickau, Germany.
Prices are expected to start at around £40,000, with the range-topping model pitched closer to £50,000, when the Q4 E-tron goes on sale April.
The car has progressed into an advanced stage of development, with very few stylistic changes over the 2019 concept. Its proportions are familiar from its ID 4 and Skoda Enyaq iV siblings, but key differentiators include a new interpretation of Audi’s single-frame grille, distinctive vertically stacked front air ducts, angular LED headlights, a short bonnet and a heavily raked windscreen.
Further back, prominent side feature lines sit above large wheelhouses, helping to add structure to the flanks, while a sizeable spoiler above the angled tailgate helps to smooth airflow across the gently sloping roof. Wheels vary in diameter from a standard 19in to 21in on top-rung variants.
At 4590mm long, 1865mm wide and 1613mm tall, the Q4 E-tron was conceived as an electric equivalent to the popular Q3, but its comparatively short overhangs and cab-forward silhouette means interior space is more on a par with the larger Q5.
The rear bench is positioned 70mm higher than the front seats and offers impressive leg, head and shoulder room for all three passengers.
The boot extends from 520 to 1490 litres with the 40:20:40-split rear seat folded down, while compartments around the cabin together give an extra 25 litres of stowage.
The driving environment is a departure from that of conventionally powered Audis, with a unique dashboard, new steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls, a 10.25in digital instrument display with unique graphics and a standard 10.1in (or optional 11.6in) MMI infotainment touchscreen.
Buyers will be able to choose from three display set-ups: Standard, Virtual and Virtual Plus. Voice control is an option. The Q4 E-tron is also the first Audi to offer an optional augmented-reality headup display, which projects dynamic sat-nav commands onto the windscreen with varying depth of field.
The elevated driving position provides quite a commanding view of the road, but the Q4 E-tron’s high beltline makes its cabin feel less exposed than that of similarly sized SUVs.
A broad expanse of dashboard means the front passengers sit well back from the base of the windscreen, but the controls and high-set infotainment touchscreen remain within easy reach.
There will be a range of Q4 E-tron variants in single-motor, rear-wheel-drive and dual-motor, four-wheel-drive configurations, along with either a 52kWh or 77kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a charging system capable of supporting up to 11kW of AC and 125kW of DC charging. We expect a maximum WLTP range of around 310 miles.
Driving the Q4 E-tron
We recently drove in Germany a prototype of the range-topping Q4 E-tron 50. It uses a synchronous electric motor on the front axle and an asynchronous electric motor on the rear to send a combined 295bhp and 339lb ft to both axles through a single-speed gearbox.
You select your drive direction using a slider-type shifter mounted on the centre console, and once underway, the Q4 E-tron gives the sort of instant response that we’ve come to expect from high-output electric powertrains.