This is Audi’s new compact electric SUV, the Q4 e-tron. The Q4 e-tron sits between the non-electric Audi Q3 and Q5 in terms of size and style, and it range varies from 335 kilometres up to 511 kilometres depending on which version you go for. In Ireland, prices for the Q4 e-tron start from around €48,000, and it goes up against a host other electric SUVs like the Skoda ENYQAQ, Volkswagen ID.4 and Volvo XC40 Recharge. But is it the best premium compact SUV on the market right now? Carzone spent a week driving it on Irish roads to find out.
Starting outside, it is available in two different body styles, this one is the regular Q4 e-tron SUV but there is also a lower and sleeker Q4 e-tron Sportback model available with coupe styling. The Q4 e-tron shares its platform with the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda ENYAQ, but it is unmistakeably Audi from the outside with lots of premium design touches. This includes a large enclosed grille up front and these optional Matrix LED headlights that can even be programmed with different light signatures using the infotainment screen inside.
Along the sides it has aluminium roof rails and the charge port is located where you would normally find a fuel filler cap. At the rear there is a striking full width LED light bar that looks great at night time, and overall it has a typical Audi premium look to it. As standard the Q4 e-tron gets 19-inch alloy wheels, but this one has larger 20-inch graphite grey wheels which are an €835 optional extra .
You can go for larger 21-inch alloy wheels too should you wish, but they will reduce the battery range. There are eight colour choices, Pebble Grey is the standard option but you will have to shell out €1300 extra to get this snazzy Aurora violet metallic finish. In Ireland, the entry model is the Q4 e-tron 35 and it has a 52kWh battery with a claimed range of up to 335 kilometres, while it gets 100 kW DC charging as standard. This is the higher spec Q4 e-tron 40 and it has a larger 77kwh battery with a claimed range of up to 511 kilometres and faster 125 kilowatt charging, more about that later.
Stepping inside the Q4 e-tron feels suitably premium as you would expect in a new Audi at this price point. The first thing that jumps out is a new steering wheel which is flat at the top and bottom, and it also has similar touch-sensitive controls to the Volkswagen ID.4 which can be a bit frustrating to use at times. Space is good up front with lots of adjustment available through the seats and steering wheel and visibility out of the cabin is good too. Elsewhere you get either a 10.1-inch or larger 11.6-inch touch screen system depending on which specification you go for. The system is good to use with crisp graphics and it also has wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto built-in as standard. The Audi MMI system is much easier to use and more responsive than the systems found in the Skoda ENYAQ and Volkswagen ID.4.
This one has Audi’s optional virtual cockpit plus system behind the steering wheel with a 10.25-inch digital display and it allows quick access to all of your EV driving information. It’s good to see that the climate controls are physical buttons too unlike the frustrating slider controls in the Volkswagen ID.4. The Q4 e-tron's floating-style centre console has a drive selector which you slide backwards and forwards for drive and reverse, a start button, controls for the infotainment and there is load of storage space underneath with two usb-c charge points and a 12-volt socket.
There is more storage underneath the driver’s armrest which slides forwards and backwards, along with two cupholders and sizeable door pockets which can hold large water bottles high up on the door which is clever. The Q4 e-tron is the first Audi to be offered with an optional Sonos premium sound system and our test car is fitted with it. The Sonos system sounds great and it is a must for music lover, but it isn't cheap. An optional augmented reality display is also offered projecting driving information and warnings onto the screen along with the Audi Virtual Cockpit instrumentation.
Overall the fit and finish is good as you would expect from Audi, although there are some harder plastics in places, especially further down on the doors. By comparison, the Mercedes EQA feels more expensive inside. In the rear there is enough space for three adults with lots of legroom thanks to the flat floor, good headroom and overall if feels very spacious when you sit into the rear seats. There is two sets of easy-to-use ISOFIX mounts for family buyers and the windows are large with good visibility for children.
The Q4 e-tron has the same amount of boot space as the Audi Q5 with 520 litres of room, which is on par with many other electric cars like the Kia EV6 and Volkswagen ID.4. It’s a very practical space and there is an additional underfloor storage area which is useful for storing the charge cables. When you fold down the seats space increases to 1,490 litres for when you need to carry bulky items. Unfortunately the Q4 e-tron doesn’t get a front storage space like many other electric cars such as the Kia EV6, Hyundai IONIQ 5 or Ford Mustang Mach-e.
As we mentioned earlier, the Q4 e-tron is currently available with two models to choose from in Ireland, 35 or 40. The entry 35 gets a 52 kwh battery, 335 kilometre range and a single electric motor that sends 170 brake horsepower to the rear wheels. We drove the more powerful 40, which has a larger 77kwh battery, up to 511 kilometres range and a single electric motor that sends 204 brake horsepower to the rear wheels. There will be a two-motor, four-wheel drive Q4 50 e-Tron quattro with 295 brake horsepower that will arrive at a later date.
It’s not the fastest Audi, mostly because it weighs two tonnes, but it’s composed, quiet and easy to live with for everyday driving. The 40 that we are driving can sprint from 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds which is quick, but not thrilling like many other electric cars in this class that offer superior acceleration. That said, performance is good enough for mixed driving, it gets up to speed quickly at lower speeds and it cruises well at motorway speeds too. Most buyers will care more about range than acceleration times however, and from our experience the Q4 e-tron offers a realistic 400 kilometre range. During out test, we managed circa 19kWh per 100 kilometres of driving in efficiency.
You can adjust regenerative braking with paddles behind the steering wheel and select driving modes with a drive select button on the centre console including Efficiency, Comfort and Dynamic. There is also a B Mode on the gear selector which maximises energy regeneration, but you don’t get a one-pedal driving mode like in other electric SUVs such as the BMW iX3 or Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Overall the Q4 e-tron is enjoyable to drive, it’s quiet around town, smooth at motorway speeds and it has enough power for overtaking with ease. Even though it shares a lot in common with the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda ENYAQ, it feels more refined and ultimately enjoyable to drive, as you would expect with Audi’s input. What really stands out is how easy it is to manoeuvre in tight car parking spaces with a great turning circle, light steering and help from the reversing camera which is very clear.
In terms of charging, the Q4 e-tron 40 is capable of charging at a fast charge station at up to 125kW, so it will take around 38 minutes to charge from 5% to 80% with a high-speed rapid charger. That is still some way off other EVs like the Kia EV6 and Tesla Model 3 which are capable at rapid charging at well over 200kW, meaning faster turnaround times on longer road trips. At home, the Q4 e-tron 40 will take around 12 or 13 hours overnight to charge from almost empty to full with a standard home wall box charger.
There is lots of safety tech to get accustomed to including advanced driver assist systems which alert you to different scenarios out on the road, but in an intuitive way. Our high specification GT-Line test car is fitted with blind spot view monitors which flash up on the digital driver’s display and this is helpful for turning in areas of low visibility or watching for pedestrians and cyclists. The Q4 e-tron gets a lot of assistance systems as standard with pre sense Collison warning, cruise control with a speed limiter and lane departure warning.
The Q4 e-tron is available in three different specifications in Ireland, Advance, Sport and S-Line. The entry Advance 35 e-tron starts from €47,800 in Ireland and it has 19-inch alloy wheels, front and rear LED lights, aluminium roof rails, black fabric upholstery, heated front seats, the leather sports steering wheel, electric and heated mirrors, Android Auto and Apple Car Play and rear parking sensors.
The mid-range Sport model is the one that we drove and it starts from €51,858 with the smaller 35 battery. It gets additional advanced bumper styling, sports seats inside, 4-way lumbar support for the seats, various upgrades inside including glossy black trim and Audi’s comfort and assistance packages, upgraded black fabric upholstery, contrasting paint, folding and dimmable mirrors, a frameless rear view mirror and electric tailgate, a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control and parking aid plus.
The highest specification S-Line model starts from €54,475 with the smaller 35 battery, and it gets additional S-Line sport seats, larger 20-inch alloy wheels, sports bumpers, black fabric headlining, aluminium inlays, stainless steel pedals, S-Line exterior styling, synthetic leather upholstery, sports suspension and an ambient lighting package. Our test car is the Q4-etron 40 Sport with a whole host of optional extras including upgraded 20-inch wheels, SONOS premium sound system at €526, Matrix LED headlamps at €1449 and Audi’s MMI Navigation Pro System at €3,071! This means the price tag on our test car is, wait for it, €66,787!
So should you buy the Audi Q4-etron? If you are looking for an electric SUV that offers strong practicality, a premium look and feel, excellent infotainment and good real world range, then it could be one to consider. Tick the options list a few times and it quickly gets expensive however, while some of its rivals also offer faster rapid charging times. That said, the Q4 e-tron ticks all of the boxes as a premium family SUV, and it is likely to become one of Audi’s best-selling models here in Ireland as a result.