This week we had the opportunity to complete a thorough test of the new Audi Q4 e-tron. In the latest in our series of Living with Electric, below we share our thoughts and advice for those considering the Q4 as an option for their next vehicle.
The Q4 e-tron is a different take on an electric vehicle. While many EV’s have come to the market advertising their impressive acceleration and performance figures, the Q4 takes a different approach. This fully-electric SUV doesn’t go for all-out performance, however the performance is there where you need it. Instead, the focus for the Q4 is practicality and comfort.
First off, the design of the Q4 e-tron was an absolute hit amongst the P+B team. It has a sleek design that is noticeably an Audi but also has subtle elements that make it clear that it’s not just any Audi SUV but instead a member of the Audi e-tron group. This includes a futuristic front grille and a very similar rear design to the full-size e-tron.
As with most fully electric vehicles, the interior feels quite roomy, and more so than the technically larger Audi Q5. The tested vehicle had the introductory “35” level battery pack, and in our tests we found that it delivered on its claimed 212 miles. As with any vehicle (including petrol/diesel) when you put your foot down you will notice that the economy does start to deteriorate rather quickly, but in the Q4 you’re less tempted to do so as the reward isn’t there in the same way it may be for other EV options.
This then isn’t a Tesla Model 3 beater, but instead a competent replacement for your existing SUV that can comfortably overtake when needed. The Q4 provides several driving modes and the option to set the level of braking recuperation both of which provide a change of driving experience and the ability to get the most out of the Q4’s electric range.
As has come to be expected with new Audi’s, the technology is a large draw for the Q4. Sharp graphics on its dual screens, both centre console and driver display, make for easy use and provide all the relevant information right in front of you. You can also customise the views on the driver display to see what matters to you, whether that be the driver assistance systems, media and music options, or navigation.
The interior on the vehicle provided to us from Audi was the Sport trim which means that it has a full fabric interior – for those looking for the eco-option, this non-leather interior is the way to go, but for those expecting a bit more luxury in their Audi, you’ll need to look at S-line or above trim levels.
As a result of the electric drivetrain, the Q4 is very quiet, even at motorway speeds. You don’t necessarily pick up on this immediately, but getting back into a diesel or petrol car after only a short drive in the Q4 will sound like you’re attending a heavy metal concert – the difference is notable.
Boot space is also ample with the ability to fold down the rears seat with a 60/40 split on the odd occasion when you may have larger items to move. There is also a storage compartment below for storing charging cables so they don’t get in the way of your regular items.
Steering feel is notable but not too heavy – the Q4 is very easy to manoeuvre at both high and low speed. The suspension is also very comfortable and absorbs bumps well; so much so that I didn’t have a drop of coffee split when bringing the team back a round of afternoon caffeination post test-drive. There are two proper cup holders in the centre console for those in the front seats, and those in the rear have ample space in the door sills for storing water bottles and other such items.
How we’d order it:
This of course this comes down to personal preference but we suggest the S-Line trim as this provides a sportier presence with upgraded exterior trim and alloys, along with a more luxurious interior inclusive of sport leather seats with pulse cloth inserts. The S-Line has long been a favourite amongst Audi loyalists, and as a result, we typically see enhanced residual values for this model.
We suspect many clients will opt for the “Assistance Package Advanced” which provides a self-cleaning rear-view camera with front sensors (rear sensors are standard) and additionally adaptive cruise control.
What will you compare the Audi to? Well for the most part if you’re considering the Q4 e-tron, it's likely that you’re comparing it to another vehicle in the VW group, the VW ID4. For a short film of our experience of the ID.4, click here.
Comparing the two vehicles, the Audi certainly has a bit more badge presence and in the right specification an upgraded and more luxurious interior but this can largely come down to specification. If you’re unsure which vehicle is right for you or would like some more particular insights on the Q4 e-tron please do get in touch with a member of the P+B team.