Meet the Audi Q4 e-tron, the first Audi built on the bespoke electric platform underpinning all of the Volkswagen Group’s most affordable EVs. And knowing what its customers want, we’re getting a four-ringed SUV before anything else. It’s basically Audi’s VW ID.4...
There are numerous versions available from launch, and Audi’s not chasing the headline 0-100km/h times of Teslas, the cheapest taking a yawning 9.0secs.
You’ve a choice of 52 and 77kWh batteries and 170, 204 and 298hp peak outputs. The lesser-powered pair are rear-wheel drive, while the top-spec Q4 50 e-tron gets quattro AWD as standard. It’s the quickest Q4, with 0-100km/h in 6.2secs and a 178km/h top speed.
The range figure swells from 335 to 525km depending how much you spend, the longest distance offered up by the middle-rung, RWD Q4 40 e-tron in slipperier Sportback form. There are three levels of brake regen, adjusted through the steering wheel paddles that’d normally be on gearchanging duty in an internal combustion SUV.
Yep, Audi’s offering a coupe-fied Sportback straight up rather than making us wait. It’ll likely cost a couple of grand more (final Sportback prices are TBC), but it’s the one to have if you’re really buying into the electric life: its slipperier drag coefficient (0.26Cd vs 0.28) buys it a few more miles of range while giving you a rear screen dissected by a pert spoiler, like that paragon of style, the old Honda Civic.
It’ll be a teeny bit more cramped inside, of course, but Audi’s claiming abundant space whichever Q4 you go for. In fact, there’s more talk of practicality than performance.
We’re told the Q4 is similar in size to a Q5, while offering interior space comparable to a Q7 (albeit without the seven-seat option), while each car will be delivered to its new owner completely carbon neutral. Helping it there are lots of recycled materials, including seats whose trim is spun from 26 old 1.5-litre plastic bottles.
Like your innovations to be a little less worthy? It wouldn’t be a headline Audi launch without some new headlight chintz, and sure enough the Q4 e-tron gets the option of fancy Matrix LEDs which, if you go exploring the infotainment system, you can programme to display four different shapes to oncoming drivers.
Want your tech to be more tangibly useful? The head-up display allows augmented reality sat nav instructions. The fancy cameras-for-mirrors of its big-brother e-tron won’t be available, though. At least not yet.
Otherwise, it’s typical Audi SUV fare. Wheel sizes vary from 19 to 21 inches, lower sports suspension is an option and you’ve a choice of drive select modes, with the addition of ‘Range’, which limits your top speed to 88km/h.
What do you reckon, then? This, an ID.4 or an Enyaq… or something else entirely?
STORY Stephen Dobie