Audi loves to play word games with its model lineup. Right now, the Audi e-tron electric SUV is in showrooms and will be joined shortly by the e-tron Sportback, which is essentially the same car but with a sloping hatchback design instead of the more traditional extended roof of the SUV-like e-tron. Why people would want to forego a big chunk of cargo carrying capacity — which theoretically is the raison d’étre for buying an SUV in the first place — is a great mystery. But as my old Irish grandmother liked to say, “Everyone to their own taste said the old lady as she kissed the cow.”
Audi says it is gearing up to offer the Q4 e-tron — a somewhat smaller car based on the Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous MEB chassis — early in 2021 according to Car and Driver. Prices will start at around $45,000, which should put it in direct competition with the Tesla Model Y. With an 82 kWh battery, range is said to be 280 miles.
Now Audi says the Q4 will also be offered in a Sportback version beginning in early 2022 but there will be one important difference between it and its sibling. The Sportback version will have a 100 kWh battery pack with 20 modules — the largest battery offered in an MEB based car from Volkswagen Group yet — according to Motor.es. With the larger battery (and higher price, presumably), the Q4 e-tron Sportback is expected to have an WLTP range of 600 kilometers — about 350 miles. Prices for the new model have not yet been announced.
It is expected the work Audi is doing to shoehorn the larger battery into the MEB chassis will lead the way for other MEB based vehicles from the various Volkswagen Group brands to do the same. That could be a boon to larger, less aerodynamic cars like the forthcoming ID. Buzz.
While browsing the Audi media site, I came across the news that the company is planning to offer upgraded versions of the original e-tron called the e-tron S and the e-tron Sportback S. Both will have three electric motors — two in the rear and one in the front — for more thrilling performance via the magic of torque vectoring. That’s something that should come in handy during your morning commute.
In fact, looking at the Audi site, the company has 16 different cars in production with about a bazillion combinations of models, colors, equipment packages, drivetrain options, and interior upgrades available. Then there is a welter of concept cars Audi is working on. It’s enough to lead an uninformed outside observer to wonder if the company couldn’t slash those offerings by half and maybe save a little money in its manufacturing and distribution processes. While it’s at it, it could also benefit from having a grammarian on staff to help it with punctuation and capitalization. It’s not good sales technique to confuse customers with an overload of choices or weird names that don’t exactly trip off the tongue.