There’s a new player in the electric SUV market, and it’s going to take some beating. Here’s Charlie Atkinson’s take on the Audi Q4 e-tron.
Audi’s latest step in its plan to offer 20 fully electric vehicles by 2025 comes in the form of the Audi Q4 e-tron; an electric SUV with a decent range that is cheaper than some of the premium alternatives like the Mercedes EQC.
It is pricier than some of its direct competitors, however, namely the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Skoda Enyaq, so does it do enough to warrant paying that little bit more?
What does it look like?
The comparisons to the ID.4 and the Enyaq begin from the outside. The Audi Q4 e-tron has a similar shape and size to the other two models, but the overall design is much more interesting, with the typical Audi creases making the whole aesthetic of the car look very sharp and angular, compared to the relatively bland roundness of the ID.4.
It also has a few interesting features, such as the matrix LED headlights and the grille design, which has had some mixed reviews but, in my mind, I think it works well and makes this electric vehicle stand out from the other conventional EVs available.
On the Sportback version, there is a slightly improved rear-end design, but all models feature the continuous light strip and the embossed e-tron sign at the bottom.
There are a couple of strange bits, such as the fake air vents seemingly glued to the front end, but overall, it’s a really cool design and is further proof that Audi does not make bad looking cars.
What about the interior?
Inside, it’s exactly what you’d expect from an Audi. It’s very dark and stripped back, but I actually quite like the simple, minimalist approach they’ve taken.
There are a couple of things that spice it up, however, like the hexagonal steering wheel and a light bar on the dash which changes colour depending on which driving mode you have selected.
For a car that is quite expensive, there are lots of nice, expensive-feeling materials all around, so you don’t feel as though you’ve been ripped off with lots of cheap, scratchy plastics all over the place. The seats are tremendously comfortable, and there’s plenty of headroom and legroom in the back.
The boot is also massive, with a capacity of 520L which is well up there with some of the most practical EVs on the market.
The 10.1” touchscreen also works well and is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It’s not as big as some of the other infotainment screens out there, but it is a decent size and is easy to navigate and use whilst driving.
Less practical, however, are the buttons on the steering wheel which are both physical buttons and also touch sensitive. They are easily activated, and accidentally calling someone when you’re trying to turn the volume of your music down is an all-too-common occurrence.
Thankfully, that’s only a minor inconvenience, and the overall quality of the interior of this car does shine through and being behind the wheel of the Audi Q4 e-tron is a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
What’s it like on the road?
For an electric car, the Audi Q4 e-tron is not as nippy as you’d expect, with a top speed of 99mph and a 0-60mph time in around six seconds. It still gives you the initial punch that you want and expect when behind the wheel of an EV, but, considering this is an SUV, the priority is not speed.
In the best possible way, the Audi Q4 e-tron is a nice, simple and comfortable car. As I’ve already mentioned, there is luxury on the inside and it’s a similar experience when driving, too.
Due to its weight, as a result of the size of the battery, and its size, the car handles beautifully and really sticks to the road, even when you accelerate into a corner and go weaving up some winding country roads. No matter where you’re driving, whether it’s chugging along the motorway, nipping about in town or out in the sticks, you feel comfortable and relaxed all the time.
And it’s a good job that this car is comfortable because you can get through a fair few miles off a single charge. With a WLTP range of 316 miles, which, in real world is closer to 280 miles, the Audi Q4 e-tron has one of the best ranges for a car of this size and class.
You should be able to get the most out of that charge thanks to the different driving modes, too. You can choose from ‘efficiency’ which is Audi’s eco-mode equivalent, ‘comfort’ and the sporty ‘dynamic’ mode.
There is minimal difference in terms of performance between these three modes (apart from the colour of the light bar on the dash) so for the most part, I left it in efficiency mode so I could really maximise my range and get the most out of my charge.
It’s more of the same with the regenerative braking, too. The severity of the regen-braking can be adjusted via the flappy paddles on the steering wheel, but even on its strongest setting, it isn’t enough to grind you to a complete stop, which means you won’t be able to get away with the one-pedal driving that electric vehicle drivers are used to.
The Audi Q4 e-tron is, overall, a really nice car to drive. There are a few things which could be improved, such as the regen braking and the performances of the different driving modes, but on the whole, I really enjoy being behind the wheel of this car and it is up there with one of the most enjoyable EVs to drive.
I think it’s clear to see that Audi has done things right when it comes to their latest EV, and it’s a really positive step for a brand that is going to be launching a lot of electric vehicles over the next few years.
It is pricey, with entry level models for this car starting from just over £40,000, meaning it doesn’t apply for any government grants, and these Sportback variants begin from £42,500.
But in our mind, the Audi Q4 e-tron does justify its price. From the way it looks, to how comfortable it is to drive, its practicality and its really good range, the Q4 e-tron is not just one of the best electric SUVs on the market, but in our mind, it’s one of the best EVs full stop.