We get behind the wheel of the Q4 e-tron – Audi’s entry-level, all-electric car…
Launched in 2021, the Audi Q4 e-tron battles it out in the hugely competitive mid-sized SUV sector.
Its many rivals include the Tesla Model Y, Kia EV6, BMW iX1, Mercedes-Benz EQB, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2.
Priced from £51,325, it also competes with its Volkswagen Group cousins (they share the same platform) – the Skoda Enyaq and VW ID.5.
Available in both SUV and sleeker Sportback versions, the Q4 e-tron comes with a 76.6kWh battery and two power levels – the ’40’ (rear-wheel drive single electric motor) or the top-spec ’50’ quattro (two electric motors driving all four wheels).
The ’40’ delivers 201bhp and accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, while the ’50’ has 295bhp on tap and can hit 62mph in 6.2 seconds.
Both versions have a 135kW charge capacity, which can get you from 5% to 80% in as little 29 minutes. Like all EVs, it will also charge up overnight if you have a home wallbox.
Depending on body style and power output, the Q4 e-tron has a claimed range of 292 – 328 miles.
Naturally, the Q4 e-tron is generously equipped, but as ever with Audi, there’s still a lengthy list of options, plus three packs (Technology, Technology Pro and Safety Package Plus) in addition to the basic three trim levels (Sport, S Line and Black Edition).
We road tested the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro in S Line trim. Our car was a Sportback, which is mechanically identical to the more conventional SUV version, except for the sharply raked roofline for extra kerb appeal. Perhaps more importantly, its slippery body also delivers a slightly longer range.
Inside it’s very Audi. In other words, it’s a combination of top build quality, state-of-the-art tech, comfort and space.
As with all SUVs, there’s a high driving position, while the dashboard layout is refreshingly conventional with a user-friendly blend of 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, a 11.6-inch central touchscreen, separate (physical) climate controls and a multifunction steering wheel.
Audi’s infotainment system is as slick as ever. What’s more, it uses ‘haptic feedback’ (there’s a slight clicking sensation when you touch it), which is much better than the frustrating touch-sensitive system used by other VW Group brands such as Volkswagen and Seat.
Visibility is good and where there are deficiencies, the multitude of cameras and sensors make up for it. Oh, and kudos to Audi for sticking with a rear wiper, an essential missing from competitors such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
On the road, the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro may not be as blisteringly fast in a straight line as some rivals, but it’s still swift enough for everyday driving.
The ride is a tad stiff, but even so, it manages to stay comfortable and refined with very little wind and road noise making it into the cabin.
In fact, our test car – which was fitted with 20-inch wheels and optional adaptive suspension – only got caught out on poorer surfaces.
The Q4 disguises its weight well, for a fairly heavy car (more than two tonnes), thanks to a low centre of gravity, but also light and accurate steering with a reasonably tight turning circle. It’s only when stopping from speed that you sense how hard the brakes are working.
Push it on more challenging roads and it would be a stretch to call it the most engaging of drives, but at least it manages to remain relatively flat in faster corners, plus it grips well and traction is excellent.
There are various drive modes (Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual) and selecting Dynamic does make it feel slightly sharper and more responsive, but that’s as far as it goes.
We also like the way you can also adjust the level of brake regeneration via the paddles on the steering wheel, plus there’s a B-mode on the gear selector, for maximising energy recuperation.
Based on a week of mixed driving, we’d estimate our Q4 e-tron has a real-world range of around 270 miles. However, if you opt for the entry level model, your range is likely to be closer to 230 miles.
The Q4 e-tron’s interior is spacious and there’s enough room for six-footers to sit comfortably in the rear which isn’t always the case with sportier SUVs.
Add 535 litres of luggage space in the boot (15 litres more than the SUV version) and 1,460 litres with the rear seats folded, and it’s a very practical proposition.
Finally, and as with most modern EVs, the Q4 e-tron is loaded with the latest technology and solidly built, achieving a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s crash tests.
Verdict: Handsome, comfortable, practical and easy to drive, the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron oozes badge appeal and is one of the best 100% electric SUVs in its sector.
Review in association with www.automotiveblog.co.uk