Audi Q4 e-tron review
Audi’s latest electric car shares a platform with the VW ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV, but superior interior quality, technology and comfort put it a step above; it's worth paying extra for
- Impressive technology
- Comfortable ride
- Spacious interior
- Quite expensive
- Entry-level model's range
- All-wheel-drive only in top spec
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|35 e-tron||193-208 miles||7hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||38mins (5-80%, 100kW)|
|40 e-tron||294-316 miles||11hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||38mins (5-80%, 125kW)|
|50 e-tron quattro||279-294 miles||11hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||38mins (5-80%, 125kW)|
Audi is pushing ahead with the electrification of its vast model range, at a similar rate to rivals BMW and Mercedes. The Q4 e-tron was the brand’s fourth zero-emissions model to arrive, launching after the e-tron, e-tron Sportback and e-tron GT, and it has since been joined by the Q4 e-tron Sportback. Audi expects the electric SUV to be one of its most popular models, behind only its A3 hatchback.
It’s not surprising that the company’s first mass-market electric model is an SUV, which sits just between its combustion-engined Q3 and Q5 counterparts in size. It already has plenty of rivals, from the BMW iX3, Mercedes EQA, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 – as well as newcomers like the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model Y.
The range starts out with the Q4 e-tron 35, which produces 168bhp. So far, we've tested the slightly pricier 40 model, which makes 201bhp, still from a single electric motor powering the rear wheels; it's more than enough to deliver the familiar electric-car burst of acceleration when you hit the throttle. It also handles potholes and bumps in the road well – albeit on the the £725 optional adaptive suspension with damper control fitted to our test car.
The entry-level Q4 35 e-tron gets a 52kWh battery, but the 40 and the 50 quattro all-wheel-drive model get a larger 77kWh unit. Audi claims the 40 has a maximum range of 316 miles, but even though it was fully charged at the start of our test route, its own dashboard display only promised 270 miles of range. However, efficiency was impressive, so that prediction is probably realistic. If you're caught short, the 35 e-tron offers 100kW rapid charging capability, while the more expensive powertrains can charge at up to 125kW. In both cases, that translates to around 80 miles of range added in 10 minutes.
Although it shares the Volkswagen Group's 'MEB' electric-car platform with the Volkswagen ID.3, Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq iV and Cupra Born, the Q4 e-tron also features the kind of advanced technology, superior cabin quality and classy design that has always tended to set Audis apart from the less prestigious brands.
Inside, the cabin has been made to feel as spacious and open as possible, with a very minimalistic design. It’s also driver-focused, with the 10.1-inch infotainment screen and physical buttons for the climate control below it oriented towards you. The flat-bottomed steering wheel also features a host of touch-sensitive buttons and sits in front of the latest version of Audi’s 'Virtual Cockpit' digital driver’s display.
Being an SUV, the Q4 e-tron also needs to be practical, and it's pretty good at this. There’s 520 litres of boot space on offer, including underfloor storage for your charging cables. Folding the rear seats frees up a total of 1,490 litres of space, which is on par with the combustion-engined Audi Q5.
Overall, the Q4 e-tron justifies wearing a heftier price tag than its VW Group siblings, thanks to its superior ride comfort, build quality and technology. It’s undeniably a more stylish package, too, with decent real-world range and rapid-charging capabilities that'll be appealing to many looking for a first electric car to replace a diesel or petrol-engined SUV. For a more detailed look at the Q4 e-tron, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingAudi’s latest electric car shares a platform with the VW ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV, but superior interior quality, technology and comfort put it a step above; it's worth paying extra for
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe choice of 52 or 77kWh battery depends on what powertrain you select; range is up to 316 miles and rapid charging is standard
- 3Running costs & insuranceWhile the Q4 e-tron comes with a three-year warranty and only has a 2% Benefit-in-Kind tax rate, the higher-spec models sit in some fairly lofty insurance groups
- 4Performance, motor & driveIt may not match the Tesla Model 3's performance, but the Q4 e-tron is pacy and handles well; ride quality is also excellent
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThere’s lot of choice when it comes to Q4 e-tron trim levels and options, but all models come with a slick infotainment system and the German brand’s excellent Virtual Cockpit
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityWith boot capacity on par with an Audi Q5, the Q4 e-tron offers plenty of space for families and features an airy, open cabin – one of the benefits of sitting on a dedicated electric-car platform
- 7Reliability and safety ratingThe Q4 e-tron has a five-star crash safety rating from Euro NCAP, but Audi as a brand hasn't tended to top satisfaction surveys of late