By on July 8, 2020

Following the triumph that was Audi’s all-electric e-tron utility (the automaker doesn’t believe in uppercase letters), the brand developed a Sportback version for 2020 that sacrificed interior volume for a fastback roofline. The manufacturer describes it as “coiled yet poised, the stylized potential of the e-tron Sportback is clear from any angle — it’s designed to attract, electrify and generate envy of ownership,” making us cringe at the sheer magnitude of its pomposity. Based on the sales record of e-tron models, we may not be alone in feeling that way.

While plenty of outlets praised the model for its luxurious ride and upscale interior with lavish technical inclusions, we’ve come down hard on its production troubles and lackluster range. That’s likely the result of us mistakenly thinking cars should be broadly useful, especially SUVs and crossovers. But we’re also hyper-critical grumps and Audi also failed to deliver on the one item that set these cars apart from their internal combustion counterparts — the battery. Our hope was that the formula would be improved for the brand’s next EV, and that does seem to have happened.

Audi just debuted the Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept to complement the Q4 EV that appeared at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

Unlike the original e-tron twins, their extra-compact siblings will be able to surpass 200 miles during road trips. The e-tron Q4s hold a 82-kilowatt-hour battery between their axle-mounted electric motors that’s said to be good for 280 miles on the European WLTP test cycle. Single-motor variants with rear drive are estimated to make it 311 miles per charge. While both figures stand to receive a haircut when tested by the EPA, it’s still an improvement over their bigger brothers.

Styling has not strayed, however. The German habit of taking a SUV-shaped crossover and hammering it into a bulbous sedan (à la BMW X4) hasn’t abated. The Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept is basically the Q4 e-tron with a less traditional and slightly lower roofline. It also happens to be a smidgen longer at 15.1 feet. But they’re both 6.2 feet wide and have a wheelbase of 9.1 feet.

While designed similarly to the larger e-trons, the MEB-based Q4s are a bit funkier, with Audi putting a bit more stank on the Sportback overall. It has extra creases and folds with a contrasting color palate that only aids the intended effect. Their interiors boast a lot of personality yet pursue minimalism to a fault. While still in concept guise, we’ve nonetheless had to raise an obligatory eyebrow at the 12.3-inch touchscreen that seems responsible for most functions. It looks slicker than a hot dog covered in baby oil, but we’d rather keep buttons handy to cut down on the need to hunt and peck at the screen.

Audi says multiple powertrains will be on offer — not just RWD and twin-motor AWD — and plans to preview the concept with the best version. That’s the twin-motor AWD variant with a combined 225-kW (301 horsepower). The manufacturer suggests 60 mph in 6.3 seconds with a top speed of 111.8 mph. However, it will prioritize the rear axle, for the sake of efficiency, whenever possible.

[Images: Audi]

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3 Comments on “Audi Debuts Q4 Sportback E-Tron Concept...”

  • avatar

    Such a huge grill for a battery car!

  • avatar

    That interior sucks for a start. And the outside, what a horror — the Germans are transfixed by humpback hatches on stilts. If anyone can tell a Merc from a BMW from an Audi in this trendy guise from more than forty paces, phone the German Embassy and complain they look TOO different. That’ll confuse someone, and serve ’em right.

    Sportback? Ha ha ha. Right. Sure.

  • avatar

    I’d like to see the Rube Goldberg contraption that runs the wiper blades across that soccer field size expanse of windshield glass.

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