- Excellent range (40 and 50 models)
- Build quality
- Interior passenger space
- Smaller boot than VW and Skoda alternatives
- Pricey options
Range (WLTP): 208-316 miles Top Speed: 99 mph 0 to 62: 6.2-9 sec Cost/Mile (@14p/kWh): 3.4-3.6p
Audi has already had considerable sales success with the original all-electric e-tron, despite it being heavy and not top of the pack for range. But the Q4 e-tron is already a considerable step forward dynamically. This is Audi’s first car to use the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform, as also found in the VW ID.3, ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV. So it’s a pure-electric car, without any compromise or baggage from other fuel types. But Audi has also tried to give it more of what habitual buyers of its cars expect to see from the four circles. Business lease deals start at £451.73.
Price and Options
Where Volkswagen initially tested the water with a single drivetrain configuration for the ID.4, and Skoda has only just released its dual-motor Enyaq iV, Audi has launched three motor and battery variants of the Q4 e-tron at once. These arrive with four different trim options, and two body variants.
The motors are denoted by the model numbers, which include the 35 with 170PS (168hp) and the 40 with 204PS (201hp). These are both rear-wheel-drive. The 50 we were sent for review has 299PS (295hp) and all-wheel drive. The 35 gets a 52kWh battery, and the other two a 77kWh battery. The four trims are Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung. On top of this, there’s a Sportback version of the Q4 e-tron too, which is available with all three motors and all four trims, so there are 24 different variants of this car to choose from.
Of course, being a German car, the Q4 e-tron has a long options list to choose from. The basic colour is the usual Audi grey, with other colours £575 apart from a violet metallic, which is £950. This was the colour we were sent, and it is the most exciting option, with most paint choices being sober and dark apart from white. Each trim comes with a basic alloy wheel, ranging from 19in for the Sport, 20in for the S line and Edition 1, and 21in for the Vorsprung, but there are some design choices available for a bit extra.
One of our favourite Audi options, which our review car came with, is Matrix LED headlights. These cost a hefty £1,075, but they’re worth having. Instead of being a single bulb, the headlights are made up from a grid of LEDs, which point in subtly different directions. Allied with a sensor at the front of the car, when on main beam, they just dip the LEDs the system senses are pointed at oncoming traffic. It's incredibly cool and effective, like a curtain of dark that draws apart to prevent your headlights blinding anyone.
There’s a sizeable panoramic sunroof available as an option, which is a £1,250 extra but included as standard with the Vorsprung trim. There are a lot of interior options, too, which can add a few thousand to the price. The many options are available individually, but the more sensible and economic route is to select one of the two bundles. These are the Comfort and Sound Pack, and the Technology Pack. The latter gives you an augmented reality HUD and costs £1,050.
The £1,295 Comfort and Sound Pack is arguably more important, because this includes a reversing camera, which we consider essential in a car this big, as well as adaptive cruise, which is also extremely useful. Surprisingly, our test vehicle was an S line with over £10,000 of options but didn’t include the Comfort and Sound Pack so lacked the reversing camera. A heat pump is also a £950 optional extra.
Unsurprisingly, the Audi Q4 e-tron is priced above the Volkswagen ID.4, which in turn sits above the Skoda Enyaq iV, showing the brand hierarchy within the Volkswagen Group. The Audi Q4 e-tron 35 starts at £40,610, the 40 at £44,275, and the 50 at £50,655. If you compare these to the equivalent VW ID.4, they are £2-5,000 more. The prices still don’t sound terrible for an Audi, but the cost does rack up fast as you add options. The Audi Q4 e-tron Vorsprung costs £64,355, and you can still add a few options to that. That’s twice the price of the entry-level Skoda Enyaq iV. The Sportback versions of the Q4 are even more, about £1,500 over the equivalent normally backed models.
However, to put this in perspective, an equivalent Audi SUV would be the Q5. The 40 Sport version of that starts at £43,440, which is less than a thousand pounds cheaper than the Q4 e-tron 40 Sport. So you’re barely paying a premium for electric with Audi. On the other hand, the general value compared to vehicles without the Audi brand is less persuasive, particularly when many lesser marques provide a reversing camera as standard.
This is the third SUV we have seen based on Volkswagen Group's MEB platform, which the ID.3 also uses. So, underneath, the Q4 e-tron has the same basis as the VW ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq. However, the approach Audi has taken is considerably different. Where VW has tried to make its ID. cars stand apart from its non-electric vehicles, Audi has made the Q4 look very similar to other Audi SUVs, particularly the most recent Q5. Only the fact that the front grille isn’t primarily an air intake signals the difference.
Clearly, this is a car meant for people who want an Audi first without having to shout about it being electric. As such, it’s a decent-looking vehicle. The Sportback in particular is simultaneously chunky and sleek, which is presumably why this body style is popular, despite what you lose in boot space practicality. There are numerous welcome design touches, such as the e-tron logo projected as puddle lights and the way the rear strip of lights pulsates like the front of the Knightrider car when you unlock the vehicle. Strangely, fully keyless entry doesn’t appear to be an option, though.
The sense that Audi is mostly trying to hide rather than announce the electric nature of the Q4 e-tron continues on the inside. Whereas the VW ID.4 feels both high-tech and relatively minimalist inside, and the Skoda Enyaq iV also presents a more functional interior, the Q4 generally feels like an Audi. This is what you’d hope for if you’ve just spent the extra money for the Audi badge over these other two alternatives.
We particularly like the premium Napa Leather seat option in our review car, although these are an extra £1,100 and indeed all the seating choices add considerably to the price of the car. We also like the brushed metal on the dashboard, and the interior ambient lighting (an optional extra) is very well executed. The dashboard is more conventional in appearance than an ID.4, so if you just want an Audi interior experience, only electric, it fits the bill.
There are some areas we think don't hit the right note for an Audi, though, such as the plastic on the top of the doors, and the buttons on the steering wheel. The hexagonal steering wheel in our review car is a £285 extra but the buttons feel flimsy and lack the premium feel we’d expect from this brand.
However, one thing we like that the Q4 shares with its SUV MEB stable mates is just how much room there is inside. The front seat area is incredibly spacious in all directions, so you will have no trouble fitting in the driving seat no matter how tall you are. The seats are comfortable and the electronic adjustment in our review car included lumbar, with two memory positions, which is standard in the S-line trim level and above.
There's a decently sized cubby in the central console with an armrest you can adjust the height of. You get a couple of cupholders, and a compartment in front for a smartphone with a couple of USB ports. However, this compartment isn’t actually a wireless charger even if it looks like one. Instead, there is a clip a little further back in this space where you can secure your phone to a charging plate. This is a slightly unorthodox arrangement but at least keeps your phone very secure. On a more negative note, the glove compartment is surprisingly small for such a big car.
Another feature that adds to the sense of interior space is the panoramic sunroof. This has touch-sliders to open the blind and the forward section of the glass. With the blind retracted, the rear feels even more spacious than it already is, if that were possible. There really is a huge amount of leg and head room for rear passengers, making this a great car for transporting four adults, and five if absolutely necessary. The middle seat is a lot more cramped but at least there is no transmission tunnel taking up the space where the middle passenger will want to put their feet.
With no middle passenger, you can pull the seat back down to reveal an armrest integrating two cupholders. Also in the middle is an elaborate console with a pair of USB ports and a 12V car power adapter port. There are two air vents and controls for the climate control, because all Q4s come with tri-zone air conditioning, which is an excellent inclusion. The two outer rear seats have ISOfix points for child car chairs, as does the front passenger seat.
Storage and Load Carrying
Apart from the considerable interior passenger space, the MEB platform also promises excellent cargo capacity. However, it appears that Audi has maximised the space for rear passengers at the expense of rear storage. The boot opening is electric as standard from S-line trim onwards, but without a kick release. While the 520-litre capacity within is generous, the VW ID.4 gives you 543 litres and the Skoda Enyaq a whopping 585 litres.
There's a compartment under the boot floor, which is a perfect size for cables. This car comes with Type 2, granny, and our review car even included a Commando adapter for when you're out camping, which appears to be standard issue.
You can drop the rear seats in a 40/20/40 configuration. The middle section can be dropped separately, if you need to put something long in the boot alongside two rear passengers – such as a set of skis. Drop all three sections forward and the boot expands to 1,490 litres. The space is flat, too, which is always beneficial if you have fragile flat items to transport, such as a mirror. However, while this is decent estate car territory, it is behind the ID.4 and far behind the Enyaq.
The Q4 can tow, too, with the 35 and 40 able to pull 1,000kg braked. With the dual-motor 50 this rises to 1,200kg. Unbraked, all cars can pull 750kg. However, while bicycle racks for a towing hitch can be added as options, the actual towbar doesn’t appear to be something you can specify direct from Audi, so you will need to get this from a third party.
A feature that the Q4 e-tron inherits from its MEB platform is the way you can simply press the brake pedal with the keys on your person to start the power. There is a separate start-stop button but you only need to use this if you want to power the media system up on its own or turn things off while still sitting in the car.
The hexagonal steering wheel is an optional extra, with the basic one a more regular round-ish shape. As we already mentioned, the buttons are a bit flimsy and it’s quite easy to accidentally trigger the voice control when you just want to adjust the sound system’s volume. The optional wheel also comes with paddles for varying regenerative braking.
There are traditional stalks for windscreen wipers, indicators and lights, and another for the cruise control, which is only adaptive if you have purchased the appropriate option bundle. There are buttons on the right of the steering wheel for a few functions, which are similar in style to the ID.4's and not quite at the level we expect from Audi. However, the controls in the central console are much more premium in feel.
These include a chunky rocker for selecting reverse, neutral, and drive mode. Pull this once more backwards and you can enter B mode, which provides more aggressive regenerative braking. There’s a separate parking button and no discrete parking brake. A round multi-function switch lets you control the audio volume, which you simply stroke to increase or decrease the level. We found this easier to use than the control on the steering wheel.
You get a couple of buttons for toggling the vehicle safety sensors and parking view. Ahead of this is a wide button with the hazard lights in the middle and the motor power on the left. Options include dynamic, comfort, efficiency, and range modes. If you also specify the suspension with damper controls, the softness of the ride will also be adjusted with these settings. There are discrete controls for the air conditioning, which is dual zoned at the front. As we already mentioned, there’s a third zone available for rear passengers.
The digital dashboard display behind the steering wheel mimics analog dials. On the right is a speedo with digital speed in the middle, and on the right a power meter incorporating the charge level with the driving efficiency in the middle. The middle can be configured to show various types of information, such as a trip meter or the sat-nav view, which is a Google satellite map.
However, if you have the head-up display option found in our car, you might not be looking at this dashboard that often. The Q4 e-tron is the first Audi to have the ability to specify a HUD. Unlike the HUDs we've seen in other EVs, such as the Kia Soul EV or Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate, the projection isn't onto a separate panel that extends from the dashboard, but onto the windscreen itself. The end result is excellent, and provides a speedo, current speed limit, lane assistance and some useful guidance when navigating.
All cars get a 10.1in media screen, which is reasonably well designed. The interface is a little sluggish, but logically constructed. The system comes with a three-year subscription to connected services, including live traffic and online destination search. There is support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which can operate wirelessly. There’s a DAB radio, of course, and a reasonable array of car settings available.
Performance and Driving
Where VW launched the mid-range rear-wheel-drive ID.4 before bringing out the lower-powered version and all-wheel-drive GTX model, Audi has launched all its engine types at once. The top Audi Q4 e-tron 50 has the same motor configuration as the GTX, so it delivers 299PS (295hp), which enables a 0-62mph sprint of 6.2 seconds. The 204PS (201hp) 40 version has rear wheel drive only like the original ID.4, and hits 62mph in 8.5 seconds, while the 170PS (168hp) 35 version takes 9 seconds.
The 50 is quite quick, but it is eclipsed in a straight line by a number of other electric SUVs in the same class. The much more expensive Jaguar I-pace would soar past, and so would the Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin AWD. The Ford Mustang Mach-E also beats the 50 on paper, with the Extended Range AWD more than a second quicker. That said, how fast do you really need your family SUV to be? The Audi is adequately quick.
This car does handle a lot better than the original e-tron, too, which goes round corners like a fast sofa. The Q4 e-tron 50 is 400kg lighter and you can really feel that lower weight in corners. That said, this still isn't a sports SUV because it weighs over 2.1 tons. The low centre of gravity means it corners better than a petrol SUV this heavy would, but you still want to be a bit careful carrying too much speed into a twisty A-road bend.
Still, this car is fast enough to monster most petrol cars about town and on dual carriageways. The ride is a bit firmer than some electric SUVs we've tried, although you can vary this if you have the optional damper kit. However, the size and stance feel perfect on a motorway. With the comfortable seats and decent range this is a great car for extensive motorway trips, particularly in 40 and 50 variants.
Range and Charging
There are two battery sizes with the Q4 e-tron – 52kWh and 77kWh. The 52kWh battery only comes with the 35, providing 208 miles of WLTP range. The 40 and 50 get the 77kWh battery. With the lighter rear-wheel-drive 40 this enables up to 316 miles of range, while the heavier all-wheel-drive 50 manages up to 299 miles. This drops with bigger wheels. The 21in rims on the 50 Vorsprung reduce the range to 280 miles, for example.
These are all good figures, but the Ford Mustang Mach-E goes quite a bit further – up to 379 miles with the Extended Range RWD version. However, you should be able to contemplate long distances with all Q4 models, thanks to solid high-speed charging capability. The 52kWh battery supports up to 100kW charging and the 77kWh up to 125kWh, giving 80% capacity in just 38 minutes in both cases. It will take 11.5 hours for a complete charge on a 7kW AC supply for the larger battery, or 7.5 hours with the smaller battery.
This isn't the most efficient car, however, costing 3.5p a mile on a 14p per kWh home supply for the 52kWh battery 35, a slightly more frugal 3.4p for the 40, and 3.6p per mile for the 50. The Skoda Enyaq is a bit cheaper. Obviously, 14p per kWh isn’t realistic anymore, so putting that in efficiency terms, the 35 manages 4 miles per kWh, the 40 a slightly higher 4.1 miles per kWh, and the 50 just 3.9 miles per kWh.
The warranty is a standard one for European cars – 3 years or 60,000 miles, with three years for paint and 12 years for perforation. The battery gets 8 years or 100,000 miles but there is no word on what capacity this is for. The service interval is 19,000 miles or 2 years, whichever is sooner. There is no indication of cost, but at least Audi is not expecting you to bring a car in for service every year that doesn't need any oil or spark plug changes. Insurance groups start at 25 for the 35, up to 39 for the top 50 trim. This car will be cheaper to insure than a Tesla Model 3, but it's worth noting that the ID.4 GTX is in 34 or 36, depending on version.
Our review car had plenty of safety tech on board. We already mentioned the HUD, which has lane departure warnings built in. You see a glowing orange line if you stray across the dotted line on a motorway, with haptic feedback on the steering wheel. It's an effective implementation. However, you get lane departure warnings across the range, even without the HUD. Also standard on all cars is basic cruise control, rear parking sensors, and front collision detection.
Our car also had blind spot detection, which consists of a big orange light that comes on in the stem of the wing mirror if a car is detected in the potential blind spot either side of the vehicle. But blind spot detection is part of the £650 Safety Package Plus, which also includes rear cross-traffic assist – handy if you reverse out into busy roads regularly.
The £1,425 Assistance Package Advanced is what you need for more advanced parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and the reversing camera. To complicate things further, with the Assistance Package Advanced you must also pay £285 for the hexagonal steering wheel, making a grand total of £1,710. However, as we already mentioned you can also pay £1,295 for the Comfort and Sound Pack to get the reversing camera, making this the cheaper option.
Overall, you can put together a comprehensive package of modern safety features with the Q4, but you can expect to pay a few grand to do so. This is all very typical of a German car and is a stark contrast to the safety features provided by Korean brands, for example.
|Price:||(starting from) 35 – £40,035; 40 – £44,275; 50 – £50,655|
|Range (WLTP):||35 – 208 miles; 40 – 316 miles; 50 – 299 miles|
|Charge time (7.4kW):||35 – 7.5 hours; 40, 50 – 11.5 hours|
|Charge time (100kW, 80%):
||35 – 38 minutes|
|Charge time (150kW, 80%):||40, 50 – 38 minutes|
|Battery:||35 – 52Wh; 40, 50 – 77kWh (net)|
|On Board Charger:||11kW|
|Cost per mile*:||35 – 3.5p; 40 – 3.4p; 50 – 3.6p|
|0-62mph:||35 – 9 seconds; 40 – 8.5 seconds; 50 – 6.2 seconds|
|Top Speed:||99 mph|
|Power:||35 – 170PS; 40 – 204PS; 50 – 299PS|
|Wheels driven:||35, 40 – Rear; 50 – All|
|Cargo:||520 litres / 1,490 litres with rear seats down|
*based on electricity costs of 14p per kWh