The Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro offers all-electric driving, all-wheel drive, a range of 291 miles, and the normal Audi premium interior.
We’ve had the Audi e-tron – a large all-electric SUV – and there’s the Audi e-tron GT – an electric sports saloon. We now have the Audi Q4 e-tron, an SUV which is a more affordable option than the e-tron and the e-tron GT, but it’s still more expensive than many rivals – so is it worth the premium pricing?
The Audi Q4 e-tron shares its platform with the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Skoda Enyaq. All three cars have a lithium-ion battery mounted in the floor (in the case of our test car an 82kWh battery (77kWh net)), with 299PS and 460 Nm of torque, and all-wheel drive.
It’s a compact SUV but it has more space than an equivalent petrol or diesel SUV thanks to the electric powertrain. There’s lots of rear legroom (with a flat floor), and a good-sized boot, but the luggage capacity, at 520 litres, is less than the Volkswagen ID.4 (543 litres) and the Skoda Enyaq (585 litres).
Although it shares a platform with its Volkswagen and Skoda family members, it certainly looks like an Audi, on the outside, and on the inside – more about that later.
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The Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro shares many benefits with other electric cars; it’s quiet and refined, and has instantly-available torque, resulting in smooth, linear acceleration.
The quattro all-wheel drive system means lots of grip, theoretically on different surfaces and in all weathers, although this is subject to the tyres – more on that later. With a low centre of gravity thanks to the battery being positioned in the floor, it goes round corners with minimal roll – despite being an SUV.
The ride quality is generally very comfortable, although there can be some noise from the suspension if driving over very poor road surfaces, and there can be some tyre noise on some motorway surfaces.
The Q4 e-tron feels like it responds to steering inputs more sharply than the ID.4 and Enyaq; the Q4’s (optional) ‘square’ steering wheel may help with this.
There are ‘drive select’ modes of Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual. You select these modes via a physical button, and if you choose Dynamic, for example, then the car helpfully stays in the same mode next time you start the car.
The Q4 is good to drive in all modes, but even in Dynamic, although the performance is good, it doesn’t have the massive urge of some rivals when accelerating. Perhaps the not-insignificant 2,210kg kerb weight is a factor here.
The Q4 e-tron’s gear selector is a small button rather than a traditional gear lever – something that is becoming increasingly common – and this allows you to choose D, or B for increased levels of regenerative braking. You can also increase the regen (temporarily) by using the steering-wheel mounted paddles, to simulate engine braking.
The Q4 e-tron was subjected to a four-week test in the Lake District. In this environment the electric drivetrain was completely effortless when negotiating steep mountain passes (when petrol cars were usually struggling and straining). The quattro all-wheel drive system delivered excellent traction. The extra ground clearance and short front and rear overhangs were a benefit on uneven surfaces. And the boot fitted lots of outdoor equipment. So the Q4 e-tron proved itself to be an ideal vehicle for the Lake District, even if it was a bit wide for many of the narrow roads.
The Q4’s interior is very similar to other Audis, and this is a good thing. It’s well designed and has high quality materials. There’s a large (13-inch) central touchscreen with excellent high definition graphics, including for the satnav mapping (the aerial view when driving through mountains is particularly impressive). There are also five permanent shortcut buttons on the right of the screen for Home, Radio, Media, Phone and Nav, and under the screen there are physical buttons for the heating and ventilation system. In our opinion these two features make the Q4 much better than the ID.4 or Enyaq from a user-friendly point of view, as the Volkswagen and Skoda have virtually all controls buried in the touchscreen. This also makes the Q4 better than many other EVs that have nothing on the dashboard apart from a touchscreen.
The Q4 also has a high quality digital instrument display in front of the driver, and you can choose to view different information in here, including a map. In the instrument display there’s a battery gauge – which is actually very small – and there’s a separate read-out showing how many miles of range you have left.
And our test car had a head-up display which shows information such as your speed and the speed limit, but the party trick is the moving arrows which float over the road in front of you to direct you where to turn.
One thing that you can’t do is type a destination into the satnav when you’re driving, and speaking destinations into the voice control system wasn’t always successful.
You can easily switch off the annoying lane departure warning system by pressing the left-hand steering wheel stalk – although you have to do this every time you start the car.
In our view the biggest issue with the Q4 e-tron is that there’s no reversing camera – you just get a diagram and beeping when reversing. There’s also an issue with forward visibility – the bonnet may be short, but the front of the bonnet is high, which obscures the road directly in front of the car. One of these issues is likely to have contributed to the Q4 picking up a puncture in a Lake District car park, the surface of which was comprised of rocks rather than smooth tarmac. The Bridgestone Turanza Eco tyres evidently didn’t stand up to Lake District rocks very well, and the Q4 doesn’t have a spare wheel, and our test car – an early car from Germany – didn’t have a puncture repair kit or tyre inflator. The fitter of the replacement tyre suggested that the tyres are supposed to ‘self-seal’ after a puncture, although this seemingly didn’t happen.
The tyres also had a very minimal tread pattern, so although our test car was a quattro, we don’t imagine that these tyres would offer much grip in mud or snow.
The Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro has an official WLTP driving range of 291 miles in S line trim as tested. This rises to 299 in Sport trim, and decreases to 288 in Edition 1 trim, and to 280 miles in top of the range Vorsprung trim.
We were able to enjoy the Q4 for an extended four-week test and over this time, after mixed driving – much of which was over mountains – the real-world range varied from 240-255 miles.
The Q4 is available with two different battery sizes, 52kW (with a range of up to 208 miles) and 77kW. The 77kW battery also gets an 11kW onboard charger as opposed to the 7.2kW one in the 52kW car.
Using a home wallbox, Audi claims a full charge time of 11.5 hours for the 77kW battery. At a public 125kW charger an extra 80 miles of range can be added in just 10 minutes.
Electric cars do not charge at their maximum charge rate for an entire charging session – their charge rate typically starts off high with a battery with a low state of charge, then the charge rate decreases as the battery charge increases. See the charge curve for the Audi Q4 e-tron from Fastned:
The Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro 299PS S line costs £44,275. Our test car had a number of options including Geyser Blue metallic paint (£575), front sport seats (£1,825), Matrix LED headlights (£1,075), Assistance package plus (£1,000), Safety package plus (£650), Function package (£325), Comfort package plus (£850), Ambient lighting pack plus (£100), Acoustic glazing for front doors (£125), Technology pack (£1,200), Flat top & bottomed twin-spoke leather steering wheel with paddles (£285), Panoramic glass sunroof (£1,250), 20″ 5-Y-spoke graphite alloy wheels (£150), and SONOS premium sound system (£395); the total cost of the test car was £54,795.
You can choose between two batteries (52kW and 77kW), three power levels, rear or all-wheel drive (35 and 40 models are rear-wheel drive, while the 50 gets quattro four-wheel drive), and two body styles (SUV and Sportback). The entry-level 35 model is the only version to get the 52kWh battery (and a 208 mile range) while the 40 and the 50 both get the 77kWh battery with the equivalent of 204PS and 299PS respectively and ranges of up to 316 and 298 miles.
Everyone is different and everyone has different needs for a car, but for ourselves here at Green Car Guide, the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro is one of the best EVs that you can buy at the moment. Why is this? Well, with careful driving we’re sure that you could squeeze 300 miles of range from it. It’s a compact size but it offers lots of interior space. The interior is also an impressive environment, from a visual, tactile, technological and user-friendly point of view. It’s excellent to drive, and it has the added benefit of quattro all-wheel drive – something that is useful in places such as the Lake District. Having said that, we’re not convinced the Bridgestone Turanza Eco tyres would translate the grip to the road in all seasons and on all surfaces. And a car at this price point should really have a reversing camera. But overall the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro is an EV that has a lot going for it (and of course it has the aspirational Audi badge), and despite the price premium over some other EVs including its Volkswagen and Skoda family members, it’s awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.