(Pocket-lint) - Audi's previous electric vehicles have arrived with names that stood them apart. The first production car was simply called the Audi e-tron, a name lifted from Audi's (now retired) hybrids. Then we had the e-tron GT, e-tron Sportback and simply put, there was only so far that Audi could run with the e-tron name before it got confusing.
So the fact that Audi's latest concept model is called the audi Q4 is hugely revealing. It feels like it slots right into the range of compact SUVs between the Q3 and the Q5 and that e-tron name is going to become rather more normal. Two styles have been revealed, the Q4 e-tron and the Q4 Sportback e-tron Sportback - both in concept form at this stage.
Having showcased the Audi Q4 e-tron at Geneva International Motorshow in 2019, the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron was revealed on 7 July 2020.
VW Group's big EV push
To look at, anyone familiar with Audi's SUVs will see where the Q4 comes from. It fuses e-tron design features like that huge rear light bar with the sort of sporty sculpting that Audi's SUVs carry. As a concept, we might expect some changes in the production models, but at launch Audi confidently said that the SUV would be launched in 2020, while the Sportback version seems destined for 2021.
What's underneath is important though. It sits on the VW group's MEB platform - modular electrification platform - which will underpin a wide range of vehicles from the group, from the VW ID to the Seat El-Born, with VW estimating that some 15 million vehicles will be manufactured on this platform.
Again - this is Audi looking to the mass market, although we'd expect the concept four seater to become a rather more conventional five seater, otherwise families won't buy it. The Q4 e-tron has a regular hatched back, giving it a typical SUV silhouette, while the Sportback has a dropping coupé style roofline, for a sportier stance. That's been popular in cars like the BMW X6 and Audi has made slightly more dramatic big coupé models in the past few years.
The interior is futuristic but not inconceivable; the central touchscreen paired with Virtual Cockpit is typical of Audi's current models, but we can't help feeling that Audi will stick to the recently-introduced MMI Touch with a second screen, perhaps eating some of the space the concept model offers. The original e-tron wasn't hugely different in the interior to the Audi Q8 and unless there's a bigger interior design change planned, we're not expecting a huge departure for teh Q4 either.
Audi Q4 e-tron powertrain and performance
Turning to the important performance figures for this model, the battery makes up the floor in the MEB, weighing some 510kg but providing balance front and rear and a low centre of gravity. It's the same on both Q4 models and the performance is very similar.
It's an 82kWh battery, paired with two electric motors front and rear, the rear providing 150kW, leaving 75kW for the front. The Q4 - unsurprisingly - is Quattro all-wheel drive, claiming a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds and the front and rear are electronically managed to provide the optimal balance of power.
The range is said to be 279 miles (450km) on the WLTP standard, supporting up to 125kW charging, which would see you at 80 per cent in 30 minutes.
With the launch of the Q4 Sportback, Audi mentioned that the "rear wheel drive" version would have a slightly longer range of 310 miles (498km), presumably because it would be lighter and have lower power meaning it doesn't drain the battery so quickly. We suspect this will just have the 150kW rear motor.
Audi Q4 e-tron release date and price
Nothing has yet been said about the price, but that's obviously going to be key. The Audi e-tron starts at just under £60,000 so you could reasonably expect the Q4 e-tron to slide into a more affordable position beneath this. Certainly, we'd expect Audi to stick to the premium end of the market, avoiding conflict with electric SUVs from VW's other brands.
Audi said that the Q4 e-tron would be unveiled alongside the Audi e-tron GT in the second half of 2020, so is unlikely to be on the road until 2021. The Q4 Sportback e-tron is due in 2021.