Audi Q4 e-tron review
If you’re looking for a family-friendly electric car with premium badge appeal, then the Audi Q4 e-tron could be right up your street.
What's not so good
Find out more about the Audi Q4 e-tron
The Audi Q4 e-tron is Audi’s attack on the family all-electric SUV market, so it’s taking on alternatives such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Kia EV6, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and of course the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq – both of which are mechanically identical underneath.
Get the version with the biggest 77kWh battery and it can take you for a claimed 317 miles before you’ll need to charge it up again. A smaller battery (52kWh with a 211-mile range) is available, and if you fancy, you can have a slightly sleeker, sportier-looking Sportback model with a lower roofline and a sharply-sloped tailgate. Think of it as a car for the Instagram generation — slick, expensive, and very on-trend.
It’s a pretty good looking car in either form. The nose is very upright and cliff-faced, with the usual massive Audi grille (although, of course, it doesn’t actually need a grille…) and it looks rather more chiselled than the softer, rounder-looking Volkswagen ID.4.
You get smart-looking LED headlights, big alloy wheels that run from 19 to 21-inch, and the slope-roofed Sportback definitely cuts a bit more of a dash on the road.
Inside, it’s all very contemporary Audi — expensive-looking materials, a big 10.1-inch touchscreen in the middle, and a digital instrument panel that’s the same size to make sure that the cabin is very modern. Overall the cabin lives up to the badge’s premium billing – although you should definitely compare it with the Skoda Enyaq.
Still, the good news is that cabin space is generally excellent — the flat-floor layout (the batteries are underneath) means that rear seats are properly roomy.
The Q4 '40' e-tron offers the best balance between range and performance. I'd go for the S Line trim, but with a few optional extras added in.
Go for the mid-spec Q4 40 e-tron and you get the big 77kWh battery. That means you get the longest possible 317-mile range and it feels pretty brisk, but not exceptionally fast.
But even with that power, it’s not that fun to drive – it’s more calm, gentle and sensible in the Audi tradition. Even the four-wheel drive 50 e-tron quattro isn’t all that thrilling. If it’s sharp cornering mixed with electric power you’re after, go and check out the Ford Mustang Mach-E or the ever-popular Tesla Model 3.
As with most electric cars, the real-world range is rather less than it says on the tin. We averaged 3-miles per kWh, which allows around 231 miles between charges, which is not too shabby.
Q4 e-tron prices start at a reasonable £40,035 for the base 35 e-tron in Sport trim. You’ll pay £64,355 for a 50 e-tron quattro in top-spec Vorsprung. It goes without saying that you could get yourself a VW ID.4 or a Skoda Enyaq for less, with the same mechanical and battery bits underneath (they’re even built in the same factory). Audi is banking on its peerless badge appeal to draw buyers in though, and the Q4 definitely looks and feels a bit posher.
However, items such as adaptive cruise control, a panoramic roof, a premium sound system , and the rather useful heads-up display are either reserved for the top-spec Vorsprung model (which starts at £54,310) or are expensive options, which is a bit of a let-down for a car that’s supposed to be cutting-edge.
But anyway, if this electric Audi SUV still sounds like it’s right up your street, head on over to our Q4 e-tron deals page to see how much money you can save through carwow.
Passengers will be comfortable enough in the back row, but the boot is smaller than some
You might think it’s a first world problem complaining about not having electric-adjust seats in your posh German SUV, but really a car like the Audi Q4 40 e-tron should have those. At least it’s still pretty easy to get comfy, even with the manual-adjust seats. They’re good and supportive too.
At least those in the back get some decent space — very decent, in fact. The flat floor means that there’s loads of room for feet, and plenty of knee and headroom too. Only the very tall passengers (Stephen Merchant, perhaps?) will have any issue with the space on offer.
The middle seat is also a little more useable than is the norm for cars like this, but you still wouldn’t want to put anyone you actually like into it for a long journey. It’s fine for shorter trips, though. Of course, the Sportback isn’t quite as roomy in the back — the roofline isn’t dramatically lower (there’s only 18mm in the overall difference) but it does slope more sharply.
There are Isofix anchors for child seats on the outer rear seats, as well as the front passenger seat, and the covers for the anchors simply flip-up, rather than needing to be removed. There are also standard electronic child locks for the rear doors, which are very handy if you’re regularly carrying kids around.
With the flat-floor, and the inherently greater space efficiency of an electric car, you’d expect just a little more space for odds and ends in the cabin. The Q4’s little lozenge-like gear selector switch, which sits on a tray-like panel that juts out from the centre of the dashboard, seems to take up a lot of space for such a small thing, and that eats into storage. There are good-sized cupholders, and door bins though, although again the storage box under the arm-rest seems oddly small (this is an area where the Skoda Enyaq, once again, does a better job).
Rear seat passengers also get decent door bins, and seat-back pockets, but the cupholders in the rear folding armrest aren’t positioned ideally — they’re right where your elbow naturally goes.
The standard Q4 e-tron has a seats-up boot capacity of 520 litres, which is less than what you’ll get in both a Volkswagen ID.4 and a Skoda Enyaq. Still, a flat floor and a wide opening makes it very easy to load up, and if you collapse the rear seats down you’ll open up 1,490 litres of space.
There’s a little bit of under-floor storage which is good for stashing charging cables, or valuables that you want to keep really out of sight. But the disappointing thing is that there’s no ‘frunk’ or storage space under the nose — that’s all taken up by air conditioning and electronic control units.
Interestingly, the Q4 e-tron Sportback comes with a seats up boot space of 535 litres, which is down to a slight increase in length to make way for its sloping roofline. However, that same roofline ultimately eats into luggage capacity when the seats are folded down, and will make loading taller items trickier than in the standard Q4.
Refinement and comfort levels are excellent, but it’s not a barrel of fun to drive.
Right now, you can choose between two sizes of electric car battery when buying an Audi Q4 e-tron. Our 204hp 40 e-tron test car came with a 77kWh (useable) battery, but there’s a cheaper, 35 e-tron model that comes with a 52kWh battery and a 170hp motor. The dash from 0-60mph takes just under 9 seconds, and you’ll get a claimed 211 miles between charges (with the sleeker Sportback offering a slightly longer 217-mile range).
You can also get a beefier Q4 ’40’ e-tron with a 77kWh battery and a 204hp electric motor, which can do 323 miles on a single charge. Again, the Sportback version goes that little bit further; it can do 328 miles (the most of any Q4 e-tron model.) Both versions will accelerate from 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds.
If you want quattro four-wheel drive, you’ll have to upgrade to the 50 e-tron quattro, which gets a second electric motor. Driving the front wheels, you get 299hp, and a slightly shorter 302-mile range, (309 miles for the Sportback). The 50 cuts the 0-60mph time to 6.2 seconds.
A 7kW home-charging wallbox will top either of the batteries up to maximum charge overnight, and if you’re out and about you can charge from a public DC charger at speeds of up to 125kW. That’s rapid enough to get you from 0% to 80% in about 35 minutes, assuming you can find one that’s quick enough.
It’s worth pointing out that 35 e-tron models have a maximum 100kW charging speed, which seems a bit mean given that the larger battery can only charge 25kW faster, and that you’ll need to charge the smaller battery more frequently anyway.
The Q4 e-tron is a pretty hefty car — a 40 e-tron, with the 77kWh battery, tops the two-tonne mark even when it’s empty, but it doesn’t feel like that to drive. Part of that is down to the torque of the electric motor — 310Nm is a healthy figure, and it all kicks in as soon as you step on the accelerator.
The other reason that the Q4 doesn’t feel big and cumbersome to drive is that the steering is light and accurate, making it easy to guide around town. The turning circle is pretty tight, too, which helps when you’re trying to get it in and out of tight car parks.
Visibility is good, although the rear pillar is rather big and the rear screen a little small. A parking camera would help with that, but it’s on the options list so you’ll have to make do with the standard-fit rear parking sensors instead. That’s not great on a premium model such as this — alternatives offer cameras as standard.
On the upside, the Q4 is comfy and refined. That weight, and carefully tuned suspension, means that it rides smoothly even on the optional big wheels even when you go for the sportier S-Line model that gets stiffer springs. It’s rock-solid on the motorway too, although you will notice a bit more wind and tyre roar as the speeds rise — part of that, though, is because there’s no engine noise to cover them up.
The Q4’s regenerative braking setup has two modes — off (allowing the car to coast freely when you lift off the accelerator), or a B mode, which you select by flicking the little gear lozenge backwards. That makes the Q4 slow down rather more sharply when you lift off, returning a little more charge back to the battery. It’s not a ‘one-pedal’ system as used by some alternatives though, so you’ll have to use the physical brake pedal to come to a complete stop.
While the light steering and quick electric motor response do disguise the Q4 e-tron’s weight at lower speeds and around town, you’ll notice it more on a twisting road. Under braking, especially, you start to feel that two-tonne bulk, and that light steering doesn’t give you much feedback. It’s calm and composed, but if it’s actual fun you’re looking for, Ford or Tesla should be your first ports of call.
The Q4 offers big screens and lots of tech, but some of the controls are a bit fiddly.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.