full review | 

Audi’s fully-electric Q4 stands strong in crowded market

The Q4 is surprisingly fast and comfortable to drive

The Q4 interior

Daragh Keany

A rare double here today folks. Both of us have driven the new Audi Q4 e-tron in recent weeks —two different trim levels too, to give us a good overall view of the electric SUV.

In what is easily becoming the most exciting and crowded segment in the business, Audi has rolled out their electric Q4 which, as you can probably predict, sits right between the Q3 and Q5 when it comes to size.

But it’s the powertrain that makes this stand out from the other SUVs in the Audi stable. With a 504km range and 204bhp this is no spring chicken. It is fast and big and comfortable and is fully electric. It is a very good looking car too, especially in this Geyser Blue metallic finish, and sits proudly on the road in a claustrophobic market.

The Q4 interior

Firstly, you will notice the blanked-off front nose (we can’t say grille, because there isn’t one) which is the only real tell-tale sign from the outside that this is an electric vehicle. There is no denying that bit is an Audi but you could be fooled into thinking it came with a combustion engine.

No matter which trim line you opt for you will still get a lot of tech and features, although the entry level cars don’t have things like reversing cameras and electric boots. And while you might roll your eyes thinking ‘first world problems’, we do think that a few basic features should be available in all trims considering it is a premium German brand and a cutting-edge electric.

The seat adjustments are manual too, which is really strange considering the level that the company pitches itself at. But these are all minor gripes about an altogether great car.

When you sit inside you are in no doubt of the brand of car. It is right out of the Audi designers’ handbook (not a bad thing) even if they offer the Q4 a new flat-bottomed and flat-topped steering wheel. We like it, but may take some getting used to for some Q4 buyers.

The Q4 e-tron’s central touchscreen can be as large as 11.6”, while they have kindly left the climate controls snugly grouped beneath it. Not to moan too much but this is a vastly better option than the normal ‘extra’ touchscreen found in other premium Audis. This also means that there is even more extra space in and around the centre console which is always a good thing. And you still get controls for the drive selector, start-stop button, USB ports and a wireless phone charger, depending on options.

The rear seats are just as spacious as those in the previously reviewed Kia EV6, Hyundai IONIQ 5 as well as the group’s stable mates the Skoda Enyaq and Volkswagen ID.4. Which basically means that there is loads of legroom and head height for up to three adults; certainly for three kids, even if booster seats are required. There are two ISOFIX points as well to match its competitors in the market.

The boot is bigger than you’d expect too, with over 500 litres available with the rear seats upright. Usually you lose a lot of boot space in an EV to house the battery but Audi has done well here to offer buyers a lot of space.

The Q4 brilliantly balances excellent body control with decent comfort. And to that is added premium level refinement, even allowing for the fact that an electric powertrain is always quiet.

The ‘40’ model gets a 150kW motor, which gives it that 204hp (along with 310Nm of torque). It’s surprisingly fast yet it seems completely effortless to reach those speeds and the traction is exceptionally well managed.

The most important thing here is the range, and we do have to question the company’s boasts.

One of us was in the Advance line model and with a full charge only managed 340km of motorway driving (which is the range normally afforded to the lower-range models) before he had to stop at a charge point at Castlebellingham on the M1. That, in its own right, brought more problems as some EV drivers don’t adhere to the unwritten rules about charging etiquette and left him waiting ages for a spot at the fast charger which would get him home.

Both 35 and 40 can be ordered in Advance, Sport and S line specifications. The minimum equipment level includes heated front seats, that new steering wheel, rear parking sensors, cruise control, air conditioning, Bluetooth and more. The entry-level Advance 40 Q4 e-tron is €51,850 but you can cut another €10k off that for the lower range (around 355km).

The best-looking variant is the S line, adding 20-inch alloys and a sportier exterior look, S-embossed sport seats and sport suspension.


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