New 2021 Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron concept previews electric coupe SUV

Swooping electric SUV will be capable of over 310 miles and will be Audi’s seventh electric car by next summer

Audi has a new concept car that gives us a clear look at an electric SUV production model due on sale in 2021. It’s called the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept and, as per the brand’s established naming conventions, it’ll become a 'Sportback' coupe-SUV variant of the regular Q4 e-tron. 

The Q4 e-tron is set to be the first Audi to launch on the VW Group’s MEB platform for electric vehicles, the Sportback version will be a slightly sportier sibling for Q4 e-tron with both cars rivalling the Tesla Model Y.

Both versions of the Q4 e-tron will be on sale next year, and Audi says it is revealing the Q4 Sportback e-tron in concept form for now to give potential customers an early chance to decide which version they prefer before order books open. 

With the Q4 Sportback e-tron, Audi has tweaked the original design of the Q4 e-tron into a compact coupe-SUV. It will join a growing line-up of such models in the brand’s range, such as the full-size e-tron Sportback EV and combustion powered cars like the Q3 Sportback and upcoming Q5 Sportback

Design and technology

The main changes on the Sportback version are, predictably, all found at the rear of the car. The traditional C-pillar on the Q4 e-tron has been removed, and the roofline arches in a single continuous crescent from the front axle to the very rear of the car, to give the Q4 Sportback e-tron a fastback style look. 

The rear window is steeper in rake than before and is split in half by a small lip spoiler, but the rear three-quarter windows grow in size. Elsewhere, it carries over the large rear diffuser with illuminated e-tron logo, LED taillight bar, characteristically squared off shoulders, 22-inch wheels and large front grille of its sibling. 

The interior is the same too. The driver is presented with a hexagonal steering wheel that has touch sensitive pads for controlling various cabin and driving functions, behind this is a small digital instrument panel. A larger 12.3-inch central touchscreen is angled towards the driver, and a storage compartment is found beneath the panel housing the drive mode selector. 

Like the original Q4 e-tron concept the Sportback is presented as a four-seater, though the production model will almost certainly accommodate five passengers. White and beige microfibre upholstery features around the cabin and the seats are finished in Alcantara. The dark floor covering is made from recycled materials. 

Battery, range and performance

Using the MEB platform means that the flagship version of the Q4 Sportback e-tron will support a battery 82kWh in size. While the Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback, which also uses MEB, will be available with 45kWh and 58kWh battery packs to allow for cheaper models, Audi has not confirmed if the Q4 e-tron will be offered with smaller battery options just yet. 

Audi has confirmed that all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive versions will be available though. With the dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup, the Q4 Sportback e-tron claims a maximum range of 280 miles on a single charge, while power stands at 298bhp, enabling 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 112mph. Specs for rear-wheel-drive versions have not been fully confirmed, but a range of over 310 miles on a single charge has been mooted by Audi.

Rapid charging at up to 125kW has been confirmed for the Q4 e-tron models. Find a suitable roadside charger, and Audi claims that you’ll be able to top up the battery to 80 per cent from flat in just over half an hour. 

Prices and market

Both versions of the Q4 e-tron are still at the concept stage and won’t be revealed in production form until early next year. Volkswagen, meanwhile, is just weeks away from presenting a similar sized electric SUV in the form of the ID.4 that's due on sale before the Q4 e-tron pair. The Audi will be positioned above its VW stablemate on price, and with the 82kWh battery on board, expect a starting price over the £50,000 mark when it arrives. The Q4 Sportback e-tron will carry a small premium of a few thousand pounds over that.

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