Audi has only just launched a new EV – the e-tron GT – but already it’s starting the drawn-out process of revealing its next one. This time around it’s a small SUV called the Q4 e-tron, as previewed by a concept of the same name at the Geneva Motor Show in 2019, then as a coupe-ified Sportback version a year or so later in July 2020.
We won’t see the Q4 e-tron sans camouflage until next month (but as you can probably tell, it’ll look almost exactly like the concept). For now all Audi wants to talk about is the interior and a bit of headline tech.
We’ll start with the good news. The Q4 e-tron will be the first Audi to feature an augmented reality head-up display. It’s not dissimilar to the system Mercedes announced a while back for the new S-Class and looks jolly clever, with an effective display area of around 70-inches across.
The optional system draws information from various cameras, sensors and safety systems and can, for example, project navigation arrows, lane-markings and distance markers onto the road ahead. So no more excuses for being in the wrong lane or too close to the car in-front.
More good news: Audi has resisted the temptation to fit a second screen for the climate controls. The design of the Q4’s dashboard isn’t dissimilar to other modern Audis’ and keeps the physical climate control panel from the new A3 and e-tron GT. BUT on the other hand… it does get a new steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons in place of the old physical buttons and click-wheels. Ah.
Generally, we hate touch-sensitive buttons on steering wheels. It’s just too easy to unintentionally brush one and end up switching on your heated steering wheel or muting the radio without meaning to. Mk8 VW Golf, we’re looking at you. Perhaps Audi’s implementation of the tech is less annoying – we’re reserving judgement until we can try a Q4 for ourselves.
In other news, Audi promises it’s made good use of the Q4’s EV-only platform (shared with the VW ID.4) to maximise interior space. We’re told its 1,490-litre boot (with the seats folded, 520-litres with them up) is equal to an SUV from the class above. Those bottle holders in the doors look neat, too.
We’re also promised Audi has used recycled materials all around the Q4. It’ll be especially obvious inside – up to half of the textiles used for the optional ‘Puls’ upholstery come from recycled plastic bottles.
We’ll see the actual car and get all the remaining facts and figures very soon, so watch this space.
STORY Tom Harrison