Audi’s most prominent debut at this year’s Geneva motor show is the new Q4 E-tron, set to launch late in 2020 as the firm’s fifth electric model.
The Q4 arrives about a year after the company’s first series production EV, the E-tron SUV, and shares relative styling details and some of its mechanical make-up with its recently launched sibling. It’s the next step that will see 12 Audi electric cars on sale by 2025.
Described as being “in the upper third of the compact class” in terms of size and market positioning, the 4.59-metre long and 1.9-metre wide Q4 E-tron is slightly shorter and wider than today’s Audi Q5. It borrows exterior styling cues from the E-tron (and E-tron GT concept), including the single-frame grille and similar lighting profiles, but in a smaller and more athletic-looking package.
A special ‘Solar Sky’ paint scheme, debuting on this concept, has been developed specifically to reflect a shortwave fraction of sunlight to 'significantly' reduce heat build-up on the body and in the cabin. This reduces the power needed to cool the cabin for its occupants and could subsequently improve range.
The interior is claimed to be more spacious than its dimensions suggest thanks to a substantial 2.77-metre wheelbase and the lack of any transmission tunnel. Despite the car’s official status as a concept, the interior, with its dual-screen layout and minimalist, touch-operated switchgear, looks like it could translate into production relatively easily.
The Q4 E-tron uses the VW Group’s bespoke all-electric MEB platform, rather than the adapted MQ platform of the larger E-tron. Not only is it a platform designed to underpin EVs from the off, it should reduce complexity and build cost of the model.
Audi’s new SUV uses a synchronous electric motor powering the rear axle most of the time, itself putting out 202bhp and 229lb ft of torque. But, this being an Audi, there’s also a second, smaller electric motor powering the front wheels when traction is low or when full power is requested. It means the total system output is 302bhp - around 100bhp less than the full-size E-tron.
The battery, mounted under the vehicle floor, is an 82kWh capacity unit that can be charged at a maximum of 125kW. Doing so would result in an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes. The total range is put at 280 miles on the WLTP cycle.