First Drive: Audi Q4 e-tron
Audi’s first mass market EV is attractive and comfortable, finds Martyn Collins.
SECTOR Compact SUV PRICE £40,750-£66,750 CHARGING 7.2kW AC / 125kW DC RANGE 208-316 MILES
Audi e-tron and e-tron GT models are already on sale, but with the new Q4 e-tron, Audi has its first mass market EV.
It’s predicted to be the brand’s second-best selling model in the UK, behind the A3, with 20,000 units forecasted in the first full year of sales.
Built on the same VW Group MEB dedicated electric platform as the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Škoda Enyaq iV, it’s the most conventional of the three on first look. However, on closer inspection, the Q4 e-tron is quite different. The short overhangs, raked front screen and high waistline give it a very square stance. Our test car was on 20-inch wheels, which actually looked a little bit lost under the arches. The curvier Sportback SUV-coupé variant, on sale now and starting deliveries in October, is arguably more attractive – but the sloping rear compromises headroom.
Audi is already well-known for its distinctive light signatures, but for the first time on any Audi, the Q4 e-tron is offered with variable digital light signatures. These work in conjunction with the Matrix LED lighting – with a choice of four signatures available via the MMI touch operating system.
Size-wise, the Q4 e-tron logically fits in between the Q3 and Q5, but clever interior packaging makes it feel more Q5-sized inside. Head and legroom, front and rear, are particularly impressive – although the tall shape with short overhangs compromises all-round visibility.
Like the outside, the inside feels the most conventional in design when compared to the Volkswagen and Škoda sister cars. The dashboard design is similar to all other current Audi models – although the gear selector and drive controller are part of the lowest point of the dashboard rather than the centre console. Still, as you’d expect from an Audi, the trim and quality feel a step above both the sister models.
Other highlights included an augmented reality head-up display, which helpfully places directional arrows when the sat-nav is on, and a quartic steering wheel with a flat top and bottom – which is actually great to hold when on the move.
We had the £51,165 Launch Edition, but Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung versions are available to order. Our 40 model was powered by the largest 77kWh battery and a 204hp rear-mounted motor, giving a 304-mile range for our model and 316 miles in the Sport. However, there’s a 35 version with a 52kWh battery, 170hp and up to 208 miles of range, depending on version. At the top of the range are the 50 variants. These bring 299hp and an expected 295-mile range while the additional front axle motor gives quattro four-wheel drive.
When it comes to recharging, the 55kWh battery is capable of DC charging at up to 7.2kW AC and 100kW DC, with 77kWh versions at up to 11kW AC and 125kW DC. The 77kWh battery can harvest 80% of charge in 38 minutes via 100kWh DC charging.
On the road, the Q4 e-tron feels potent and responsive. It is a tidy handler too, which despite the big wheels, rides firmly but not uncomfortably.
Refined, spacious and good to drive, the Q4 e-tron is exactly the mass market EV we expected Audi to make.
Key Fleet Model: Q4 e-tron S line 40
Strengths: Design, quality, spacious interior, good to drive
Weaknesses: All-round visibility disappointing
Fleet World Star Rating