The Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron is an excellent all-round car, with very few faults, the main decision is whether to go for the SUV body style or the more expensive and less practical Sportback body style.
We’ve tested the Audi Q4 e-tron SUV and we thought it was an excellent car – in fact we’d say it’s one of the best EVs on sale. However you can now buy the Audi Q4 Sportback – which is the same car but with a ‘fastback’ body style. Apart from the body style there’s not much difference between them, other than the Sportback being more expensive – so is it possible to justify buying the Sportback model?
The Audi Q4 e-tron has an ‘SUV’ body style which means there’s a practical, boxy-shaped boot – which is good for fitting various things such as dogs. The Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron has a less boxy-shaped boot, but, perhaps surprisingly, it’s actually slightly larger in size: 535 litres compared to 520 litres. There’s still a useful compartment under the boot for charging cables, and although rear-seat headroom is tighter than the e-tron SUV, you still get a flat floor offering lots of legroom for rear-seat passengers.
Perhaps the most important differentiator is that the Q4 Sportback e-tron has a more sporty-looking exterior than the SUV model, although there’s virtually no difference in the interior – which is the normal premium environment that you would expect from the brand, with good design and high quality materials.
But aside from the styling, both cars are virtually identical from an engineering perspective. That means a lithium-ion battery mounted in the floor (in the case of our test car an 82kWh battery with a useable capacity of 77kWh), with 299PS and 460 Nm of torque, and all-wheel drive.
As above, the Q4 e-tron and the Q4 Sportback e-tron are virtually identical other than the body style. However the Sportback’s fastback body style means that it has a slightly lower centre of gravity (along with suspension that is stiffer and 15mm lower in S line trim) and this must make some contribution to the driving experience, because the Q4 Sportback e-tron is excellent to drive on your favourite country road. This is despite the 2,215kg kerb weight.
With a 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds it may not be the fastest-accelerating EV, but it’s certainly no slouch, and the instant torque means that the responses are always there when you need them.
The quattro all-wheel drive system means that levels of grip are excellent, in all weather, and the ride quality is also good, along with the levels of refinement that you would expect from an EV.
Dynamic mode is on offer in the drive settings, along with Eco and Comfort (and Individual) – and you can change the drive modes by pressing a physical button on the dashboard rather than having to delve into a touchscreen to do this. You can also select ‘B’ for increased brake regeneration using the stubby gear selector, and this can be further adjusted by steering wheel-mounted paddles – again, a much better solution than having to change these settings on a touchscreen.
Another feature that makes the Q4 Sportback e-tron ideal for keen drivers is the fact that the lane departure warning system, which corrupts the steering when you go near white lines, can be switched off with the touch of a button at the end of the left-hand stalk on the steering column. And the interference of the traction control system can also be reduced with the touch of one button on the dashboard.
The good news about buttons continues. Unlike the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq, which are the same car as the Audi under the skin, there are physical climate control buttons on the dashboard in the Q4 e-tron, which, again, is a massively better solution than having such controls in the screen.
However when you do use the touchscreen it’s excellent, with five permanent shortcut buttons on the right of the screen for Home, Radio, Media, Phone and Nav, and the screen displays mapping with very clear graphics. You can also bring up the map in the instrument display in front of the driver, and there’s a head-up display with an arrow that moves on the windscreen to direct you to turn corners.
One very small detail that we’re not sure works very well is the volume control – rather than a dial that you turn, like most volume controls, in the Q4 you move your finger around a dial in a circle to increase or decrease the volume, which seems somewhat gimmicky.
The Audi Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro has an official combined WLTP electric range of 298 miles in S line trim as tested. This can increase to 303 miles with Sport trim, or drop to 295 miles in Edition 1 trim, or 285 miles in Vorsprung trim.
Although the Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron was an excellent car to live with in virtually all respects, one area that was slightly disappointing was the real-life range, which, on average, varied between 200-220 miles. However the car was on test during a week of wet and cold weather, which wouldn’t have helped with the range. A heat pump is available as an option for £950.
The maximum rapid charging rate of the Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron is 125 kW. Using a rapid charger, the battery can be charged from 5-80% in 38 minutes, or an extra 80 miles of range can be added in just 10 minutes.
Using a home wallbox, Audi claims a full charge time of 11.5 hours for the 77kW battery.
The Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro 299PS 220kW S line costs £54,255 (the Q4 ‘SUV’ 50 e-tron quattro 299PS 220kW S line that we tested cost £44,275).
However that’s not the end of the story with our test car – in typical Audi fashion, there were a number of options… these included Geyser Blue metallic paint (£575), Interior package for front sport seats (£1,100), Matrix LED headlights (£1,075), Assistance package plus (£950), Safety package plus (£650), Audi phone box (£475), Comfort package plus (£850), Ambient lighting pack plus (£100), Acoustic glazing for front doors (£120), MMI Navigation Advanced (£750), Flat top & bottomed twin-spoke leather steering wheel with paddles (£285), Panoramic glass sunroof (£1,250), 21″ x 8.5J 5-arm rotor ‘evo’ sport alloy wheels (£1,275), and SONOS premium sound system (£395). The total cost for our test car was a quite substantial £64,820.
The Q4 Sportback e-tron is available with 52kW (‘35’ models) and 77kW batteries, with ‘35’, ‘40’ or ‘50’ power outputs, trim levels are Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung, and you can choose between rear or all-wheel drive (‘50’ models). There’s also the SUV body style.
The Audi Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro 299PS 220kW S line is an excellent all-round car. It looks stylish, it’s good to drive, the interior is well designed, high quality and functional, and we particularly like the physical buttons for key controls on the dashboard. The decision any potential buyer will need to make is whether the extra price of the (less practical) Sportback body style is worth it – especially when the price of our test car was £54,255, or £64,820 with options. We’d also like to see an improved real-life driving range, but the Audi Q4 50 e-tron quattro retains its Green Car Guide rating of 10/10 in Sportback form.