The Audi Q4 e-tron - E-mobility in a new dimension!

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Photos by Audi

Welcome on board: In the new Audi Q4 e-tron, drivers and passengers experience completely new dimensions. The space available in the electrically powered compact SUV far exceeds today's class limits - it offers space at the level of the luxury class. The display concept also opens up a new dimension: the augmented reality head-up display connects the real and the virtual world, the MMI display is up to 11,6 inches diagonal (optional towards the end of the year). The new generation of steering wheels with touch controls also represents the future course of the new Stromer. When it comes to the shelves, the Audi Q4 e-tron scores with a total volume of around 25 liters; the bottle holders in the top of the doors are a highlight. The airy and progressive interior design makes the new technology era tangible.

New and clever solution: the packaging

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With the Q4 e-tron, Audi presents a real all-rounder - it is a confident companion for everyday life and leisure and is suitable as a first car in every respect. With a length of 4.590 millimeters, a width of 1.865 millimeters and a height of 1.613 millimeters, the Q4 e-tron joins the larger compact SUV segment in terms of external dimensions. The architecture of the modular electric drive kit (MEB) on which the compact electric SUV from Audi is based, however, enables a completely new room layout. The front overhang measures just 86 centimeters, while the wheelbase is a generous 2,76 meters - even more than in the medium-sized SUV segment. The resulting interior space, at 1,83 meters, is even as long as that of a large luxury SUV.

Welcome on board: comfortable entry, generous space

Even getting into the Audi Q4 e-tron is easy: the doors open wide, the seats are comfortably high. The driver and his up to four passengers enjoy a generous amount of space, also because there is only one flat step instead of a central tunnel. The seating position in row two is almost seven centimeters higher than in the front, but there is still plenty of headroom - and the knee room is downright luxurious. The compact electric SUV from Audi surpasses its direct competitors in the premium segment in terms of space.

Shelves galore: 24,8 liter volume and ergonomic bottle shelves

As a real all-rounder and family car, the Audi Q4 e-tron has a generous range of storage spaces - including the glove compartment, they add up to a volume of 24,8 liters. The center console integrates two cupholders, a 4,4 liter storage compartment with a lid, two (optionally four) USB-C sockets and, on request, the Audi phone box for the mobile phone. All four door panels have slots for bottles with a volume of up to 1,0 liters, which are located high up in the front area of ​​the armrest and are therefore ergonomically very easy to reach. The upper bottle holders were created in close cooperation between designers and engineers - accommodating them in the limited space of the door was a real challenge. The trunk of the Audi Q4 e-tron can accommodate 520 liters of luggage. By folding down the backrests, which are divided in a ratio of 40:20:40, an almost flat surface is created; 1.490 liters are available with a roof-high load. This corresponds to the level of the next higher SUV segment. On request, Audi can supply a partition net and a luggage compartment package. Among other things, it contains a loading floor that can be used at two height levels.

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Fully digital on four levels: the operating concept

As in all of its models, Audi also uses a fully digital operating and display concept with a flat menu structure in the Q4 e-tron. It comprises four levels: the digital instrument cluster or the Audi virtual cockpit for the driver, the central MMI touch display, natural voice control and the optional augmented reality head-up display - it is a new, pioneering technology.

New dimension: the augmented reality head-up display

With the optional augmented reality head-up display in the Q4 e-tron, Audi is taking a big step in display technology. It reflects important information about the windshield in two separate levels - the status area and the augmented reality (AR) area. The information from some assistance systems, the turning arrows in the navigation system and their start and destination points are visually displayed in the right place over the real outside world as contents of the AR area and displayed dynamically. They appear to float virtually at a physical distance of around ten meters from the driver; depending on the situation, they sometimes appear to be significantly further in front of him. The displays can be grasped at lightning speed without irritating or distracting the driver. They are a great help, especially when visibility is poor.

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The field of view for the AR content corresponds to a diagonal of around 70 inches from the driver's perspective. Below it is a flat close-range window, the so-called status area. It shows the speed at which you are driving, the traffic signs as well as the assistance and navigation symbols as static displays; they appear to be floating around three meters in front of the driver.

The heart of the system: the Picture Generation Unit

The technical heart of the augmented reality head-up display is the picture generation unit (PGU), which is located deep inside the long instrument panel. A particularly bright LCD display sends the light beams that it generates onto two flat mirrors; special optics separate the components for the near and far range from one another. The flat mirrors direct the rays onto a large concave mirror with electrical adjustment. From there, they reach the windshield, which reflects them into the so-called eyebox and directs them towards the driver's eyes. At an apparent distance of ten meters or even more depending on the situation, he sees the symbols just as clearly as the real environment.

Forward-looking imager: the AR creator

The so-called AR Creator - a processing unit in the modular infotainment kit (MIB 3) that is composed of several individual modules - serves as the software mastermind and image generator. The AR-Creator renders the display symbols every 60 frames per second and adapts them to the geometry of the projection optics. At the same time, it calculates its position to match the surroundings - it obtains information about it using the raw data from the front camera, the radar sensor and the GPS navigation. Its software contains around 600.000 lines of programming code, around half more than the entire control system of the first version of the space shuttle.

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In its calculation work, the AR Creator takes into account that there are always a few fractions of a second between the detection of an object by the sensors and the output of the graphic content. In these short time frames, the Q4 e-tron can change its position significantly, whether through braking or a pothole. Several arithmetic operations run continuously so that the display in the eyebox does not skip. One of them takes place in the software of the camera, in the case of another, the AR Creator predictively calculates how the car will continue to move forward on the basis of the latest data. In a further arithmetic operation, he estimates the vertical movement - the data for this are supplied to him by the camera, radar and the sensors of the stabilization control (ESC). These findings flow into the "Shake Compensation", which takes place a few milliseconds before the image is displayed and has the task of preventing the display from shaking.

Navigation: the drone flies ahead

When it comes to navigation, the augmented reality head-up display shows its strengths particularly impressively. On the road, the so-called drone - a floating arrow - shows the next action point on the route. It behaves dynamically: before an intersection, for example, the floating arrow first announces the turning maneuver, before an animated arrow points precisely into the street. If you then continue straight ahead, the drone flies ahead and disappears, only to reappear in time for the next action point. The distance to the turning point can be seen in meters in the lower window of the close-up area.

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Even if the driver has activated the adaptive driver assistant, which guides the car in the middle of the lane, the augmented reality head-up display supports him with visual information. As soon as the Audi Q4 e-tron approaches a boundary line without flashing, the lane departure warning overlays the real lane markings with a red line. Another example is the regulation of a vehicle in front: If it is active, the car is marked with a colored stripe on the display - this allows the driver to record the status of the adaptive driving assistant or the adaptive speed assistant without distraction. A red marking and a warning symbol appear when the adaptive driving assistant asks the driver to demonstrate that he is paying attention.

Three variants: the digital cockpit

The standard digital instrument cluster measures 10,25 inches diagonally and is operated via the multifunction steering wheel. The power meter, which is on the display next to the speedometer, summarizes all the important information about the drive, from the power to the battery's charge level in percent to recuperation. The first option level is the Audi virtual cockpit. It integrates the navigation map and the infotainment controls and can be switched between two views. The top version is the Audi virtual cockpit plus. It offers the layouts “classic”, “sport” and “e-tron”, in which the power meter plays the main role. Many of the displays can be freely configured here via the MMI.

Up to 11,6 inches diagonal: the central MMI touch display

The MMI touch display with acoustic feedback has a 10,1 inch diagonal and a resolution of 1.540 x 720 pixels. By default, it is configured as MMI radio plus with DAB reception and is used to control the infotainment and some convenience functions, and it also enables text input by handwriting. In the optional large version, the display has an 11,6 inch diagonal and 1.764 x 824 pixels resolution. It is the largest display in the Audi range to date and will be available at the end of the year.

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Good understanding: the voice control

The third operating level in the Audi Q4 e-tron is natural voice control, which is activated with the keyword “Hey Audi”. She understands many inputs and inquiries in everyday language, such as "Where is the next restaurant?" If the MMI navigation plus is on board, the comparison takes place online in many cases.

Progressive and airy: the interior design

The new technology era into which Audi has started can also be experienced in the interior of the Q4 e-tron. The dashboard presents itself in progressive elegance, it underlines the airy feeling of space. The cockpit is designed in an emphatically three-dimensional manner, its geometric volumes are in tense relationships with one another.

In the Audi Q4 e-tron, the control and display units take on the function of design elements more than ever. The digital instrument for the driver is embedded like a diamond between two volumes - a short one on the left, which includes an air vent, and a long one on the right. It extends to the passenger door and integrates additional air nozzles. In front of him is the central MMI touch display in the room, looking clean and light. It is inclined towards the driver and is ergonomically easy to reach.

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A slim inlay, the so-called tech layer, lies above the display and connects it to the dashboard. Materials such as open-pored linden wood, aluminum in two different designs and plastic are available for the surface of the panel. Shortly after the market launch, the inlay for the S line interior is also available with a technical hybrid fabric, some of which is made from recycled material.

The other contours of the dashboard - the so-called accent surfaces - are in different shades of silver and gray, depending on the equipment package, to match the decor. The most striking runs horizontally - it divides the dashboard into two zones and bears a striking e-tron badge. Directly below it, also oriented towards the driver, is the air conditioning control unit. A large operating island in black panel optics stretches out into the room below. It carries the compact shifter for selecting the speed levels, a capacitive volume control, the start / stop button, the hazard warning switch and the button for Audi drive select. In addition, there are buttons for other functions that are designed as seamless touch surfaces in black panel optics and backlit in white.

The future in your hands: the steering wheels with touch controls

The steering wheels in the Audi Q4 e-tron are also heading for the future of mobility. With their double-spoke design, they belong to a new generation. The four rings on the impact pot have a flat design, and e-tron lettering adorns the lower spoke. The upper spokes have touch surfaces in black panel optics, the functional areas of which are also backlit and thus display the currently active buttons. Slight elevations separate them from one another and make them easier to use, and when a button is pressed, there is gentle haptic feedback. As with smartphones, there are touch gestures as well as swipe gestures, for example for scrolling through lists.

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The steering wheels are available in different versions. In the top version, they have rockers fixed to the steering wheel for thrust recuperation and a two-part cover on the spokes. The heated rim is flattened both above and below - a solution that makes the interior ambience look even more futuristic. Look, function or feel - the new steering wheel clearly expresses the progressive character of the Q4 e-tron.

High security: the front seats

The front seats in the Q4 e-tron represent the latest in safety technology. In the event of a side impact, in addition to the side airbags, the so-called center airbag also unfolds from the right cheek of the driver's seat so that the driver and front passenger do not collide. Seat heating, electric adjustment and electric lumbar support are available on request. The seats are available in a basic and a sports version with a visually integrated headrest - and optionally with diamond quilting.

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When it comes to interior colors, customers can choose between black, steel gray, Santos brown or parchment beige. The nine equipment packages also include a seam package. Five packages are available for the basic version, the other four for the S line interior. They differ in the door sill trims, the paint tone of the accent surfaces, the material of the armrests and the headliner. All optional equipment packages for the interior include white LED lighting, alternatively there is the multicolored ambient lighting package plus. Some features are reserved exclusively for the S line interior: illuminated aluminum door sills, pedals with stainless steel covers, a black headliner, S embossing in the seat backrests, a steering wheel rim made of perforated leather with contrasting stitching and S badges.

Dinamica and Puls: seat covers made from recycled polyester

The S line interior also has a lot to offer in terms of cover materials. When it comes to traditional materials, there is a choice between a leather / synthetic leather mix and fine Nappa leather. Another new variant is the combination of synthetic leather and the microfiber material Dinamica. It looks and feels like suede, but is made from 45 percent recycled polyester, which comes from textiles and PET bottles, for example.

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Another option for the S line interior is the Puls cover, also in combination with synthetic leather. Secondary raw materials are also used here: up to 50 percent of the textile used consists of recycled PET bottles, which are processed into yarn in a complex process. The result is a material that visually and haptically achieves the same quality standards as a classic textile cover. In a seating set for the Q4 e-tron, 26 former plastic bottles of 1,5 liters each are used for a new purpose.

Audi gives power: the Q4 e-tron is entering a dynamic market segment

Audi's electric offensive continues to pick up speed: the Q4 e-tron follows the large SUV models Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback as well as the sporty e-tron GT. The Q4 e-tron plays a central role in the brand's electrification strategy - it is entering a particularly attractive and rapidly growing market segment, the compact SUV class. For Audi customers, it offers an attractively priced entry into the world of premium electric mobility.

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