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 New Audi Q4 e-tron ‘sparks the imagination’.

New Audi Q4 e-tron ‘sparks the imagination’.

The new Audi Q4 e-tron is a family-sized, fully-electric SUV that successfully manages to address most issues brought up by electric vehicle (EV) sceptics. With a range of up to 529km between charges, rapid charging capability and a price that slots firmly between Audi’s combustion-powered Q3 and Q5 SUVs, the Q4 e-tron really is a force to be reckoned with. As the new entry point into Audi’s EV SUV range, the Q4 e-tron is a crucially-important car for the German premium car manufacturer. In fact, it is expected to become the company’s second biggest seller overall, after the A3 hatchback.

Bodystyle & Trim Options.

The new Audi Q4 e-tron is available in two body styles: as a traditional SUV or a Sportback with sleek Coupé-SUV styling. The standard Q4 e-tron SUV is available in three trim levels: Advance, Sport and S Line, while the Sportback version is only available in Sport and S Line trim variants. Underpinning the Q4 e-tron is the Volkswagen Group’s highly acclaimed MEB platform which is also used in the VW ID.3 and ID.4, plus the Škoda Enyaq and CUPRA Born. One of the MEB’s benefits is that it is offered with a wide range of motor configurations and battery sizes. The Q4 e-tron ‘35’ is the entry-level model, and it produces 170PS from a 55kW battery, with a range of up to 357km. Next up is the Q4 e-tron ‘40’ which produces 204PS from a larger 82kW battery, with a range of up to 529km achievable. A range-topping model, badged ‘50’ gets a second motor up front (providing the car with All-Wheel Drive capability), which increases the power output up to 299PS, enough for a 0-100km/h time of just 6.2-seconds. The ‘40’ and ‘50’ models share the same size of battery pack, with the latter car capable of achieving up to 503km between charges.

Exterior & Interior Design.

The new Q4 e-tron possesses all of the usual Audi exterior design clues, from the oversized front grille (with an integrated blockwork design), to the sleek LED headlights, crisp bodywork styling, and striking full-width LED rear lights that provide terrific visual drama.

The interior of the new Q4 e-tron is packed full of Audi flavour, with a suite of advanced safety and infotainment tech as standard, along with a high quality cabin that is adorned with premium materials throughout. The driver-focused cabin features a central touchscreen that is pivoted towards the driver, and the gear selector is located on a panel that protrudes from the lower part of the dash. The whole design follows the modern EV formula of being minimalistic in order to make the cabin feel as airy and spacious as possible. The leather-bound, multi-function steering wheel features a flat top and bottom for a sporty look and feel, and it comes complete with intuitive touch-sensitive controls. The infotainment system features Audi MMI technology, with separate climate controls located in the panel below the screen for ease of use. The rear doors open wide to allow easy access for passengers, and all four doors come complete with very useful high-mounted bottle holders with good-sized door bins underneath. The Q4 e-tron is capable of carrying up to five occupants in a spacious and comfortable manner, while a 520-litre boot capacity (including under-floor storage for the charging cables) can be expanded to an impressive 1,490-litres when the rear seats are folded flat.  

Test Car Details.

My test car was a Q4 Sportback e-tron 40 S Line, which was finished in Pebblestone Grey solid paint (a no-cost option) with Black-Rock Grey/Black upholstery. Standard S Line specification includes key features such as: 20-inch Y-spoke design alloy wheels, sports bumpers, S Line exterior and interior packs, stainless steel pedals and footrest, sports front seats (heated) with ‘S’ embossing, sports suspension, reversing camera, parking sensors (Parking System Plus), adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, Audi sound system, Audi Connect, Audi smartphone interface, Bluetooth interface, and Audi drive select, along with a Comfort package. Optional extras fitted to my test car include black exterior mirrors (a no-cost option), Black Styling package, full body paint finish, 20-inch V-spoke Graphite Grey diamond-turned alloy wheels, panoramic glass sunroof, tinted rear windows, a SONOS premium sound system, and an upgraded ambient lighting package. The sleek Sportback model sits 18mm lower than the standard SUV version, and this not only gives the car a muscular look on the road, but it also provides a well-planted feel when driving on twisty roads. The steering wheel-mounted paddles allow drivers to control the level of regenerative braking, but it is also possible to just leave the car to work out what is best. The Q4 e-tron is supremely comfortable, refined and easy to drive, and the car feels very stable, whether it is cruising on a motorway or travelling along imperfect road surfaces. The car’s well-weighted steering communicates well with the driver, and the car can turn into a corner with terrific precision. With 204PS and 310Nm of instant torque on offer, the Q4 e-tron 40 can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 8.5-seconds, on its way to a top speed of 160km/h (where permitted). Energy consumption as low as 16.6kWh/100km on a WLTP combined driving cycle equates to low running costs, while a range of up to 529km is impressive. When I fully charged my test car from my 7kW domestic wallbox charger, I achieve a range of 494km, and this represents a very respectable 93.3% of the quoted WLTP range. With rapid charging at 125kW it is possible to add 128km of range in about 10 minutes, while a 5-80% rapid charge takes 38 minutes.

Verdict & Pricing.

The new Audi Q4 e-tron isn’t just a brilliant EV, but it is one of the best premium SUVs available. It is immensely practical, refined and relaxing to drive, with a terrific real-world range that easily dismisses any range-anxiety that prospective EV buyers may be concerned about. Sharp lines and taut surfaces give the new Q4 e-tron a truly premium look, and this is matched inside by the high quality fit and finish on offer. Pricing starts at €47,900 for the Q4 e-tron 35 Advance SUV, with my Q4 Sportback e-tron 40 S Line test car specification priced from €65,130 (including delivery & related costs). The optional extras fitted to my test car brought the total cost to €69,130.

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