The Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron arrives in the niche SUV coupé segment. We tried it in a comprehensive test, here is our verdict.
If SUVs have been in fashion for a long time, SUV coupes were still part of a niche until recently. However, more and more classic models are giving way to a more sporty version, at least aesthetically. At Audi, they can be recognized by their Sportback suffix. Q3, Q5, e-tron… and now Q4 e-tron. A look at the service of aerodynamics and efficiency, to the detriment of roominess and practicality?
Already on the road since December 2021, the Q4 e-tron Sportback is a twin of the “normal” Q4 e-tron with a so-called “coupé” silhouette. An appellation always a bit overused since there are indeed 5 doors. Still, the model is an integral part of the roadmap of the Ingolstadt firm, which plans for 2025 to no longer produce thermal cars.
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronTechnical sheet
|Model||Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron|
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|0 to 100 km/h|
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|Level of autonomy|
|Main screen size|
|Car side sockets|
Type 2 Combo (CCS)
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronDesign
The Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron surprised no one when it was presented in April 2021, so close was it to the concept prefiguring it dating from 2019. From the front, it is strictly identical to its extended roof alter ego. We also find these Matrix LED lights that can be personalized by choosing from four different light signatures. An Audi exclusivity that will most likely be found very quickly with other manufacturers.
It is obviously in profile that the difference is made, in particular at the level of the rear part. The pavilion in fact lowers gently to a small integrated spoiler which lets air pass between it and the rear window. Enough to participate in the improvement of aerodynamics since the Sportback version displays an interesting result of 0.26, against 0.28 for the non-Sportback.
This roof drop, supported by swollen fenders and sculpted sides, reinforces the sporty line of the SUV which is fitted with 19 to 21 inch rims. If, logically, the length and width of the Q4 Sportback are faithful to those of the non-sports version (respectively 4.58 m and 1.86 m), it however loses 2 centimeters in height to 1.61 meters.
With its extended wheelbase, specific to electric vehicles devoid of most of the mechanical elements of thermal models, the Q4 is a Q3 with an interior as large as that of a Q5. By slightly magnifying the line. What about this Sportback version? Strangely, it does not lose space, it even gains 15 liters of trunk capacity. Or 535 liters of payload, to 1490 liters once the 40/60/40 seat folded down.
In the cabin, we find feature by feature the environment that we already had in the Q4 “not cut”, a resolutely modern universe, with an angular dashboard which advances surprisingly on the passenger side. The central console always floats in the center, leaving space below, in particular to charge your smartphone by induction. Otherwise, two USB-C ports are also provided. There is a central 11.6-inch screen with the typical Audi MMI interface and slightly turned towards the driver.
In terms of new features, note a double-flat steering wheel, the Sonos system with 10 speakers and the 3D head-up display. Finally, it should be noted that Audi has emphasized, electrically, on recycled materials in the cabin, and that for each seat, the Ingolstadt firm has recycled and used around 26 1.5-litre plastic bottles.
Quick word on the rear that loses headroom, the roof is at fault fastback, and which will handicap the tallest of you, especially those over 1.80 m. Legroom, on the other hand, remains very good, while the flat floor provides a rather welcoming central seat.
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronEmbedded technologies
The head-up display of our protagonist of the day is effective. In addition to indicating 3D arrows for navigation, it can also adapt to the car in front of you, by affixing a green or red line depending on whether you are at a good distance or too close.
And proof of its acumen regarding the car’s surroundings, the HUD (Head Up Display), which displays an image as if it were 10 meters in front of the car, adapts perfectly to the center line of the road and comes materialize on it a red line if you start to bite in the center. With formidable precision.
On the other hand, most of the time, this head-up display is forgotten, even when it is present. Sign that it is not intrusive, but its integration might have deserved to be a little more conspicuous.
From the steering wheel, you can in particular control the Audi Virtual Cockpit instrumentation screen to navigate through the different displays, which are a little less numerous than they were not so long ago, but which present a lot of information so as not to have to regularly look for where the outside temperature is or the speed of the cruise control.
The touch controls on the steering wheel are a bit sensitive: a simple hand movement on the steering wheel is enough to turn up the volume, or change your favorite settings. Voice control allows you to control the main functions of the car.
If the set of technologies is very complete, it is clearly aimed at technophiles. The whole thing deserves a little more simplicity.
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronConduct
Unsurprisingly, we find in this Q4 Sportback e-tron the engine offer of the brother with the elongated roof, with power levels ranging from 170 to 299 horsepower:
- 35 : 125 kW (170 ch)/310 Nm ;
- 40 : 150 kW (204 ch)/310 Nm ;
- 45 : 195 kW (265 ch)/460 Nm ;
- 50 : 220 kW (299 ch)/460 Nm.
Note that only the most powerful versions, 45 and 50, are in quattro all-wheel drive, the 35 and 40 having their electric motor only at the rear, and therefore being purely propulsion.
Our test model was a 50 version, the most powerful therefore, if not the one with the best autonomy, we will see it later. The 0 to 100 km/h is announced in 6.2 seconds, while the speed is electrically limited to 180 km/h. This two-motor version (like the 45) is in reality most of the time a simple propulsion, the front electric motor only coming into operation when power, or excess grip, is necessary.
When accelerating, our Q4 50 pushes quite hard but avoids the uncomfortable “kick in the butt”. Traction does not suffer from any remark, even if the roll is felt at medium speed. It is also possible to play with the driving modes, but the absence of adaptive suspension on our model means that this only affects acceleration and feeling of management.
The suspension also proved to be rather firm on our test model, equipped with a sports chassis, because in S-Line finish. The 21-inch wheels (20-inch standard), as beautiful as they are, were perhaps not for nothing.
On the regenerative braking side, there is no possibility of going to a complete stop of the vehicle. But the paddles behind the steering wheel make it possible to vary the pleasures and to adapt to traffic conditions or roads to leave more or less engine braking. But the Automatic mode is undoubtedly, with a few exceptions, the most suitable.
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronAutonomy, battery and charging
Let’s talk battery: the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron has a battery with a net capacity of 52 kWh (35 and 40 versions), or 77 kWh (45 and 50 versions), and gross capacity of 82 kWh. Autonomy varies between 343 km for the less powerful Q4 and 526 km for the 40 version. The four-wheel drive versions display 486 and 480 km respectively in 45 and 50.
The consumption announced by Audi between 21 and 18 kWh per 100 km proved to be accurate according to our readings. During a journey of 3h57, 175 km covered, at an average speed of 44 km/h (outskirts of Oslo and small country roads), the on-board computer showed 19.1 kWh/100 km. Related to the battery capacity of 77 kWh, this gives a range of 403 km.
If you mainly take the highway at speeds reaching an average of 130 km / h, expect on the one hand that consumption explodes, and on the other that autonomy melts like snow in the sun. This is an important element to take into account.
As for recharging, which we did not have the opportunity to try during our test in Norway (it was not, however, for lack of terminals absolutely everywhere!), it can go up to at 11 kW in alternating current. In direct current, it recently increased from 125 to 135 kW thanks to an OTA (“over the air”) update.
It remains little compared to the competition (up to 250 kW for a Tesla Model Y or a Kia EV6), especially since Audi is part of the Ionity consortium which allows to deliver up to 350 kW. We will reassure ourselves by saying that long journeys are generally not part of the daily life of motorists. And that the faster the recharge, the more the battery heats up and the battery is damaged.
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tronPrice and availability
Compared to a “very short” Q4 e-tron, the Sportback version requires an additional cost of 2,000 euros, which could be justified by the more welcoming trunk and lower consumption (-0.5 kWh/100 km with equivalent engine and finishes ). This gives an Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron which starts at 47,750 euros (version 35 basic finish). The 35 version is the only one to be able to benefit from the intermediate ecological bonus of 2000 euros on all its finishes. The 40 version, which starts at 52,900 euros, can only benefit from it on its first two finishes.
The four-wheel-drive Audi Q4 Sportback e-trons are not eligible for any bonuses. Note that our test model (the 50) starts at 70,300 euros in the S-Line finish. A price that is clearly at the top of the basket, more expensive than a Volvo C40 Recharge Twin with equivalent autonomy but with more than 100 hp more (408 hp). It is also higher than the price of a Tesla Model Y Performance (66,990 euros), certainly much less premium, but much more dynamic, with greater autonomy, and reference efficiency. Ouch.