Similar in size to Audi’s Q5 SUV, the Q4 e-tron is powered by one or two electric motors depending on configuration. The base Q4 40 e-tron sends an estimated 240 horsepower to the rear wheels through a permanently excited synchronous motor. The Q4 50 e-tron quattro and Q4 50 Sportback e-tron quattro add a temporary on-demand asynchronous motor to drive the front wheels as needed. The second motor brings total output to an estimated 290 horsepower. When not in use, the front motor doesn’t consume any energy or add any load resistance, so the drivetrain’s efficiency is like that of the rear-wheel drive system.
Both drive configurations are powered by a single 77 kWh battery located between the axles to optimize weight distribution. Preliminary estimates put the Q4 40 e-tron’s range at approximately 250 miles.
The drivetrain is configured to regenerate energy using what Audi calls intelligent recuperation, which incorporates navigation and topographical data in addition to the three regen modes selectable via steering wheel paddles and brake pedal modulation. The battery can be charged using either alternating or direct current, up to 11 kW with AC and up to 125 kW DC using a high-speed charger.
The Q4 e-tron interiors feature a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver and a second, 10.1-inch touchscreen to operate the infotainment and navigation systems. A new steering wheel has seamless touch surfaces to control the instrument cluster. Available as an option is an augmented reality head-up display, which superimposes relevant driving information over the real-world view out the windshield at what is perceived to be a distance of 30 feet ahead of the driver, “creating an integrated and eyes-forward experience,” says Audi.
Several driver-assist systems are packaged into the Q4 e-tron models, ranging from High-Beam Assist to Adaptive Cruise Assist. Combined with Traffic Jam Assist, the adaptive cruise control can guide the SUV through its entire speed range. A Predictive Efficiency Assist program optimizes energy consumption over the duration of a trip.
Audi expects to produce the Q4 e-tron models at its Zwickau, Germany, plant with a net carbon-neutral footprint. Zwickau will incorporate renewable electricity to help achieve this certification. The Q4 e-tron SUVs should be on sale in the U.S. in late 2021 with a starting MSRP of less than $45,000.