Readying the Spork: The 2020 Audi Q4
Audi has confirmed its design team has finished applying the finishing touches on the company’s first-ever Q4. Its job will be to tackle the increasingly popular subcompact luxury crossover segment populated by the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz GLA. As such, the German brand will provide its customers with a vehicle that’ll assuredly be marketed as an adventure-ready SUV while still being a luxury-focused tech buffet that handles like a sports car and looks phenomenal.
It’s an interesting situation. Despite the industry’s fierce determination to make premium sedans and SUVs ever more “coupe-like,” nobody seems to be selling legitimate coupes anymore. You don’t see that much with other products. Sporks exist because companies didn’t want to pay to stock twice as many eating utensils, not because people were clamoring for a fork-like spoon.
That might not be a fair comparison, though. While everyone hates the spork, only a small subset of jaded automotive journalists and driving purists feel like crossover vehicles are an unfair compromise. The rest of the population seems to adore them, at least according to the sales statistics, and Audi is trying to tap into everything that’s hot right now with the Q4.
Audi’s head of exterior design, Andreas Mindt, recently told Autocar that the model would be “a bit more than a coupe version of the Q3, to my eyes a lot more.” In addition to offering coupe-like styling with the ride height of an SUV, the automaker intends to create a plug-in hybrid — likely to be called the Q4 e-tron.
Riding on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, the Q4 should be based loosely off the TT Offroad Concept (pictured above). Autocar claims it’ll be a few inches longer than the Q3 and have a heavily swept-back roofline and liftback tailgate. We’ve heard nothing on the subject up till now, though it would make sense for the manufacturer to size it between the Q3 and Q5.
Since it’s a new Audi, it’ll also be brimming in tech. We’re ready to guarantee fully digital instrumentation, but the rumor mill also suggests the inclusion of gesture controls, a 9.2-inch center touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and everything else you’d expect from the brand.
As this is intended to be a global model, engine options are likely to vary depending upon the market. But it’s believed that Audi will use a new 1.5-liter gas-burning unit on the entry-level model, with an identically sized diesel variant for those Europeans who haven’t developed a phobia of the fuel. Those will be accompanied by the firm’s updated 2.0-liter gasoline and diesel engines — as well as a 2.5-liter five-cylinder for the rumored RS Q4, which should sound incredible with the throttle wide open.
Assembly is scheduled to commence in Győr, Hungary sometime next year, with the Audi Q4 going on sale as a 2020 model. We can’t say with any certainty that North America is on the company’s short list of recipients. But, assuming it is, you should be able to own one this time next year.
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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