We’ve driven the electric Audi Q4 e-tron and found some compelling reasons to consider it! Its super smooth and easy to drive (as all EVs are) but unlike its diesel or petrol siblings the Q4 e-tron is near silent when provoked. Any harsh input on the accelerator will be met by an instant response. In an SUV this torque always feels more impressive than in a regular car. SUVs are bulky and heavy – even if they don’t take up any more road space with their footprint than estate cars. The big petrol and diesels engines that usually power them are set to become obsolete in the next decade as electric motors continue to prove they are more up to the task of hauling weight around. The irony that a lot of that weight is made up of their own rechargeable battery pack should not be lost!
On the road the Q4 e-tron’s electric motor delivers hot hatch like performance and can be really good fun to drive with gusto. Audi has tweaked the suspension, steering and ride to meet its own tastes and I can confirm it feels quite precise – even on twisty back roads. The new Q4 e-tron sits on VW’s electric car platform so it joins the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq and shortly SEAT ‘Born’ electric SUVs that also use the group’s electric platform.
In terms of size the Q4 is larger than an Audi Q3 and smaller than a Q5. In the cabin and boot there is Q5-like space. In the back of the five seat car the three rear seats benefit from the lack of a transmission tunnel (middle hump) on the floor so passengers will be happy. The really good news is the long range version can do over 500kms on a full charge. The Q4 e-tron comes with a choice of a standard 55kWh (51.5kWh net) battery in the Q4 e-tron ’35’ has a maximum range of 330km. The larger 82kWh (76.6kWh net) battery fitted in the e-tron ’40’ is capable of up to 511km. During our short test we managed circa 17.5kW consumption per 100 km in our Q4 e-tron ’40’ test car – that is impressive as we drove it quite hard at times. The smaller battery in the Q4 e-tron ’35’ is of course cheaper to buy and delivers a range that will be perfect for urban users – whereas the long range version solves any range anxiety issues a potential EV convert may have – even in winter when, as a rule, EV range drops off.
The Q4 eTron isn’t cheap but it is relatively cheap for an Audi and when you factor in its electric zero emissions credentials – there is a lot to get excited about. Styling wise the Q4 is blocky and will attract some anti-SUV sentiment from the usual suspects, as with its EV siblings in the group. The large covered in grille (it doesn’t need to cool an engine) expresses a strong SUV ‘look’ but the fact the car is produced in a carbon neutral factory and with a sizeable amount or recyclables will help soften critic’s coughs.
The Audi Q4 e-tron will come in five-door SUV and Sportback body styles. Rear wheel drive is standard while a Q4 e-tron 50 ‘quattro’ AWD dual motor versions will be available. The entry point is the Audi Q4 e-tron ’35’. Next up is the larger battery version called the ’40’ we tested. It pushes out 200hp and has 310nm of torque. These figures are overly impressive in a fossil fuel car but remember this is an EV with instant access to all its power. 0-100km/h takes a healthy 8.5 seconds. The most powerful version with push out close to 300hp and be capable of 0-100km/h in just 6.3 seconds. A single CCS (combo) charging port on the driver’s side allows for Type 2 AC or AC/DC (combo) connection. The Q4 e-tron 35 has an onboard charger capable of charging at up to 7.2kW (that’s a home EV box maximum charge) while the 40 gets an 11 kW AC charger (so it will be quicker charging on standard public charges). DC charging is much faster with 110kW and 125kW capability quoted respectfully.
Pricing starts from €41,465 net of grants/VRT relief and delivery. There are three trim grades called Advance, Sport and S Line. At present the two higher grades in the ’40’ long range battery version do not qualify for the SEAI EV grant as they have a list price over €60,000 (€60,635 and €63,525). This makes the entry point ’40’ long range the one to go for at €51,850 – leaving a few quid over for one or two optional extras. We’ll review the Q4 e-tron when we get an extended period in it but for now we can safely say it is one of the best Audi’s you can buy.