Test Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron: the other side of the concept

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Beautiful but unrealistic, concept cars often lose much of their charm once transformed for mass production, given the practical, safety and cost constraints that this entails. However, the 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron has changed almost nothing compared to the Q4 e-tron Concept presented at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. that’s pretty much it. Its exhibition two years before the release of the final model allowed the brand to know precisely the design of the final product in order to match the two silhouettes as much as possible. The concept was not the most extravagant of the time, but the production car acquires a very strong character with a touch of avant-garde through its full grille and its thin and aggressive LED full headlights, as well as a muscular body. with supported features. the wings. Thus, the front stands out as one of the most modern in the entire Audi range. What a contrast to a more understated stern of the Q4 e-tron. This is where the Q4 Sportback e-tron comes in.

Then the tense lines continue to the rear lights, passing through a receding flag, a lower height of only 2 centimeters at the highest point (1.61 m) when the width (1.87 m) and the length (4.59 m) do not evolve. A small spoiler appears at the bottom of the rear window. In addition to improved aerodynamics (0.26 Cd instead of 0.28), this style alternative brings more homogeneity and consistency between the front and rear of the Q4. This makes it a compact ‘coupe’ SUV, although relatively impressive, among the largest in its category. In any case, it respects the range hierarchy, with 9 cm more than a Q3 Sportback and 10 cm less than a Q5 Sportback. These two are not available in 100% electric, however. Which is likely to happen someday with the announced completion of the sale of Thermal and Hybrid Audis in 2033.

More style and more trunk

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronPhoto credit – Autonews

His generosity on the outside has a positive impact on the inside. If you’re not too far away from even bigger family SUVs, compete directly on board. The space for the rear legs is one of the references, especially because the seat is comfortable. Less in the central location but not too firm in its own way, benefiting in addition to a flat floor. We will not say the same about the protection of the roof, necessarily flat, too limited in the middle and only enough according to the insoles for the side seats.

The Q4 Sportback makes up for it in the trunk, which manages to do better than the “simple” Q4. The difference in volume is minimal, but here we did not expect any gain, with an additional 15 liters to reach 535 liters. The opening of the boot lid, electrically assisted as standard in this Sportback version, will reduce the maximum load volume very slightly, when the rear seats are lowered, with 1,460 liters instead of 1,490 liters. Nothing to complain about the change.

Less attention to detail

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronPhoto credit – Autonews

Not all concept cars show their cabin with the same pride. Some opaque their glazing to purely hide the absence of interior equipment, while others have crazy side openings to show the world their incredible work of shapes and materials. The Q4 e-tron Concept was more classic, with five conventional openings and a dark interior that was not the priority target of its exhibition at the show. The final Q4 still adopts an original dashboard, of unusual proportions, very sharp, driver-oriented and solid above the front passenger’s legs, equipped with huge air intakes. The flat cube steering wheel with 2D logo and rim with flat top and bottom looks very futuristic, in addition to the virtual cabin and the MMI’s central multimedia display.

Where it comes closest to the “conceptual” spirit, or at least to certain concepts, is through less elaborate details, such as show cars that do not pretend to receive anyone on board, under pain of realizing that the solid and exclusive appearance visible a few meters away is nothing more than an illusion and an assembly of glossy coatings on a model of wood, plastic and polystyrene. Rest assured, the Q4 Sportback is well built and the top of the cabin takes care of its finishing to a minimum. We will only notice some vibrations of the furniture as we drive our copy. But disappoint especially with the hard plastics and the moderately qualitative look of almost the rest of the cabin, even at the top of the storm doors. Its diversity avoids an approximate representation, but at this level of range it is difficult to understand.

The dark atmosphere also leaves no alternative. Unfortunately, the optional beige or brown interiors available at Q4 launch have disappeared from the catalog. Black is mandatory, possibly enhanced with red seams depending on the upholstery chosen.

It still does much better than a concept car in practical terms, with a lot of storage, totaling 25 liters in total, distributed throughout the cabin, including these one-liter bottle containers on each door, tilted forward at the end of the armrest, very accessible.

Effective road neutrality

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronPhoto credit – Autonews

Definitely behind the wheel, this is not a show car. The Q4 Sportback holds the road and accepts sustained paces. Despite its low center of gravity, the weight is noticeable in curves and on deformed pavement. With its heavy-looking front at the corner entrance and its overall reassuring stability, the German SUV doesn’t provide much excitement. The seats hold up well in turn. The more than 2.1 tons of our version, with rear engine (204 hp) and 77 kWh battery of net capacity, are sufficiently dynamically controlled without being able to offer many sensations. This is not the desired effect of the model. We expect more in terms of comfort. With 21 “wheels and the sport chassis of the S-Line finish, we expected the same firmness as during our test of the Q4 e-tron. Although it is assumed that the configuration, always firm, is identical and always We heard better noise during this grip, especially on the few cobbled passages and small fittings. compromise between style and comfort. Controlled suspension as well.

In the Sportback version, the features do not change. 0 to 100 km / h is always done in 8.5 seconds for our “40” engine. That’s 9 seconds with the 170 hp ’35’ Q4 (paired with a smaller net battery of 52 kWh) and 6.2 seconds for the ’45’ and ’50’ Q4 with two engines and four-wheel drive respectively . 265 hp and 299 hp, both associated with the 77 kWh battery and which increase its top speed from 160 km / h to 180 km / h.

Our version has the longest range on paper, with 526 km. In the best conditions of the road, without exceeding 80-100 km / h, marked by rare sharp accelerations and steps in the city with fairly smooth traffic, we were able to climb 19.7 kWh / 100 km, which gives hope to 391 km of real. autonomy. Less on the highway.

The 170 hp and 52 kWh version announces 349 km at best, less in reality, but for punctual long journeys where the charging stations would be closer, in return it would be just as suitable for daily distances, for a reduced price. for € 6,150.

Price elitist

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronPhoto credit – Autonews

The small battery thus allows an entry ticket of € 46,750. Less versatile and less relevant for this type of family vehicle, it encourages the use of a large battery of about 500 kg compared to 350 kg, for a minimum of € 52,900.

The “Executive” top finish adds, among other things, customizable virtual cab, adaptive cruise control, reversing camera with front parking assist sensors, traffic signal reading, Pack networked storage behind the seats or back. the steering wheel with double flat and blades for the management of the energetic recovery. At that time, the bill amounted to 59,200 euros and the seats are still made of fabric.

The “S-Line” finish dresses them in a combination of imitation leather / fabric, provides 20 “rims, specific bodywork, ambient lighting (white as standard, multicolored at € 410) to finally arrive at an exterior presentation / more rewarding interior, from € 62,400 … And only from this equipment is it possible to add the panoramic sunroof as an extra.

To sum up

Head to Norway so that our test reporter can test the new Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron: range, driving comfort, range … we tell you all about the new electric SUV from the German manufacturer.

Quentin Cazergues

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