In-depth reviews

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron review

The sleeker-looking Sportback variant of the Q4 e-tron electric SUV is just as practical, efficient and good to drive as its sister car – but has a heftier price tag

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Great looks
  • Efficient and comfortable
  • Same drivetrains as regular Q4 e-tron

Cons

  • Slightly reduced interior space
  • All-wheel-drive only in top spec
  • More expensive than regular Q4 e-tron
ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
35 e-tron217 miles8hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (10-80%, 100kW)
40 e-tron324 miles11hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)34mins (10-80%, 125kW)
50 e-tron quattro309 miles11hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)34mins (10-80%, 125kW)

The Audi Q4 e-tron is an excellent electric car that gives rivals like the BMW iX3 and Mercedes EQA a run for their money. It's expected to be the brand’s second best-selling model overall in the UK – electric or otherwise – behind only the A3 hatchback. But it's also a rather conventionally styled premium SUV, so Audi has continued the trend of introducing more rakish, coupe-like versions of its family cars with this: the Q4 Sportback e-tron.

It shares mechanical underpinnings with the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV, and it's no coincidence that coupe-SUV versions of both of those, called the ID.5 and Enqyaq Coupe iV, will be arriving during 2022. Among the Q4 Sportback e-tron's rivals from outside the VW Group are the Volvo C40 Recharge, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y and Kia EV6. Audi reckons just over 15% of Q4 e-tron buyers will choose the Sportback rather than the regular car – not surprising when you consider that it's a little less practical than its sibling.

As you might expect from a car with the Sportback’s sweeping roofline, rear-seat passengers lose 24mm of headroom. However, there’s still enough space even for those approaching six feet tall, while knee and legroom are as impressive as they are in the regular Q4. Curiously, there's a gain in boot capacity over the regular Q4 e-tron: the Sportback sees an increase of 15 litres to 535 with the back seats in place: that’s nearly 200 more than the boot space in the Mercedes EQA.

Sit in the driver's seat of the Q4 Sportback e-tron and you immediately feel you're in a more upmarket environment than what's offered in the ID.4 or Enyaq iV. The cabin feels more plush, with the Sportback’s 10.1-inch central infotainment touchscreen integrated into the dashboard rather than perched on top of it. Overall, the quality of the Sportback’s interior is very good, and successfully justifies its more premium price tag – generally around £1,500 more than the equivalent Q4 e-tron.

The entry-level Q4 Sportback 35 e-tron features a 52kWh battery and 168bhp electric motor. Upgrading to the 40 e-tron grants you a longer-range 77kWh battery and a bit more power, while the 50 e-tron adds a second motor to the front axle for quattro all-wheel drive, but a slight reduction in range.

We've driven the mid-tier 40 e-tron, which thanks to a 324-mile range and slight bump in power over the entry-level version, is likely to be the pick of the range and the best suited for everyday driving. It has 125kW rapid charging as standard, which means a top-up to 80% battery capacity from almost empty is possible in less than 40 minutes. Meanwhile, a full recharge from empty using a home wallbox will take a little over 12 hours.

On the road, the rear-wheel-drive Audi can’t match more powerful rivals when it comes to outright acceleration, but it’s quick enough. The 201bhp electric motor provides that familiar instant kick when you put your foot down, and the Sportback continues to pull strongly well past the national speed limit.

Our time in the car suggested a real-world range of close to 250 miles should be consistently achievable, based on three miles per kWh reported efficiency in normal driving. Overall, the Q4 Sportback e-tron feels stable and agile, with a good amount of grip on offer.

It’s not the most engaging electric car on sale, but it makes up for this when it comes to comfort. The serenity of the cabin is only broken when you push the car and a small amount of tyre or wind noise filters in. But the rakish coupe-SUV is able to remain relatively flat when cornering, as well as nicely cushioning rougher roads – although admittedly our car was fitted with Audi’s optional adaptive dampers.

The Q4 Sportback e-tron successfully retains the best qualities of its conventionally shaped sister car, from the interior quality to the on-board technology, to ride comfort and even practicality. And for those who are happy to pay extra for the Sportback’s rakish roofline and slightly sportier styling, the German brand’s Model Y rival ticks all the right boxes. For a more in-depth look at the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron, read on for the rest of our review.

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