The Audi Q4 e-tron’s cabin is environment-friendly, but will it be user-friendly?

Those touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel...
by Tom Harrison | Mar 13, 2021
PHOTO: Audi
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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 International 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.

The Audi Q4 e-tron Dashboard

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The Audi Q4 e-tron Steering Wheel

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 that Mercedes-Benz announced a while back for the new S-Class, and it looks jolly clever, with an effective display area of around 70 inches across.

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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. No more excuses for being in the wrong lane or too close to the car in front.

The Audi Q4 e-tron Media Control Panel

The Audi Q4 e-tron Center Console

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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 those of 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 clickwheels. 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.

The Audi Q4 e-tron Front Passenger Seats

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The Audi Q4 e-tron Rear Passenger Seats

The Audi Q4 e-tron Driver Side Door Controls

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In other news, Audi promises it’s made good use of the Q4’s EV-only platform (shared with the VW ID.4) to maximize interior space. We’re told its 1,490-liter cargo area (with the seats folded; capacity is 520 liters with them up) is equal to that of an SUV from the class above. Those bottle holders in the doors look neat, too. We’re also promised that 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.

More photos of the the Audi Q4 e-tron:

The Audi Q4 e-tron Windshield Feature

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The Audi Q4 e-tron Alternative Front View

The Audi Q4 e-tron Alternative Rear View

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The Audi Q4 e-tron Profile View

The Audi Q4 e-tron Alternative Side View

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The Audi Q4 e-tron Alternative Rear View

NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Audi
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