7 things that I wish Audi improves in the new/next-gen Audi Q4 e-tron - SUV VEHICLE

7 things that I wish Audi improves in the new/next-gen Audi Q4 e-tron

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I’m a fan of the Audi Q4 e-tron and Sportback models, which I think serve as a great entry point to the e-tron range. These stylish crossovers deliver solid performance, come well-equipped, offer a spacious and comfortable ride, and the interior quality is great for the price range and category.

However, there are certain aspects of the Q4 e-tron that could benefit from refinement when the model is redesigned. Some of these quirks can be addressed with the facelift, so I’ll be waiting for the changelog of the new Audi Q4 that should be here in 2025.

Quirky dashboard

2024 Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron dashboard
I love the quality, comfort, and the space level in the Q4 e-tron, but the dashboard feels very geometric.

Gas-powered Audi car interiors have won accolades around the world, with both the Q3 and the Q5, being my favorites. However, with the Q4 e-tron, I feel like the dashboard seems to veer toward complexity, with an array of shapes and angles. Streamlining the dashboard and further improving the software could help achieve a futuristic and user-friendly interior.

Gloss black plastic

2024 Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron center console
The future Q4 e-trons could offer a trim option that replaces the piano black surfaces.

While gloss black plastic certainly makes an initial visual impact, and those test driving the car for the first time are bound to be impressed, it poses practical challenges in terms of maintenance. It tends to be a magnet for fingerprints and smudges. Exploring alternative materials that are easier to clean and maintain would enhance the overall ownership experience.

Buttons on the steering wheel

2024 Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron steering wheel
Taking VW’s lead, Audi should bring back regular buttons and scrollers on the steering wheel.

Call me old fashion, but the capacitive touch/sliders surfaces on the steering wheel aren’t practical. They don’t offer the right feedback, and aren’t tactile. Thomas Schaefer, the CEO of Volkswagen, has confirmed that these capacitive controls are going away in the future, and will be replaced with push-buttons. Considering that the brands share EV platforms and many customers, I wonder whether Audi will also embrace this shift.

Volume knob

2024 Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron interior

I’m all for digitization of automotive interiors, but designers have to achieve the right balance between physical and digital controls for it to be accepted by all users. Operating the volume control on the Audi Q4 e-tron reminded me of control wheel on my Apple iPod, and the placement can be improved. I hope to find a knurled silver volume knob for the infotainment system screen in the future Q4 e-tron model to provide an intuitive and tactile experience.

Frunk

Rivian R1S frunk live image
A frunk would be useful to store a charging cable, or safely carry valuables and electronic items. Pictured is the Rivian R1S.

The Audi Q4 e-tron is built on the VW MEB Platform (the same as the ID.4 and the ID.7). This is a dedicated EV architecture, where the frame and components are designed for EVs, so they won’t have provision for a gas tank, a transmission, exhaust tunnel, or even an engine compartment. However, it’s a surprise to me that Audi designers couldn’t accommodate a small frunk or front trunk under the bonnet. Such a feature could prove practical for keeping items like charging cables or securing valuables, enhancing the practicality of the boot.

Over-advertising

2025 VW ID. Buzz easter egg back glass tailgate
Incorporating easter eggs throughout the car would be more intriguing than having numerous badges around the body. Image: VW

While branding is essential, I personally feel that the numerous ‘e-tron’ badges found both inside and outside the car to be excessive. I can spot badges in the front and rear bumpers, on the lights, grille, additional badging on the fender and boot, and I haven’t gotten to the interior yet! I feel like the Q4’s unique silhouette and styling cannot be mistaken for another brand even in the dark, so here’s my two cents for the new Q4 e-tron’s designers: simplify the badging and instead try easter eggs as seen in the ID.Buzz!

Price

2024 Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron front
In the next round of revisions, I expect Audi to further improve charging speed, range, and add performance, without adjusting the price, to keep its crossover competitive in the U.S. marketplace.

Audi currently imports the Q4 e-tron from the German factory, which means that it doesn’t qualify for the federal tax credit of USD 7,500. It starts from USD 55,200 and stretches out to USD 65,200 for the dual-motor version. Surely, the Audi badge is a status symbol that many aspire to have, but frankly, Audi would have to work out a strategy of local assembly to keep the Q4 e-tron competitive as new competitors join the race.

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