It was only a short while back that we got along to the NZ launch of the (long-anticipated) addition to Audi’s electric vehicle range, the Q4 e-tron. Needless to say, the sporty ‘baby’ of the line-up impressed us enough for us to demand another look – thanks Audi NZ.
To recap, the Q4 e-tron was originally launched overseas in 2021 and we were the fourth market outside of Europe to welcome this innovative car. Having already impressed us with the e-tron SUV in 2019 and the e-tron GT two years ago, Audi continues to shape its brand with the introduction of the Q4 e-tron compact SUV, making EV mobility more accessible.
The Q4 e-tron stands out as a versatile vehicle, combining the dimensions of a compact SUV, the boot size of a medium SUV (Q5), and the interior space of a Q7. Additionally, it boasts more cup holders than an S8, so you’ll never go thirsty. The Q4 e-tron comes in two body styles – a traditional SUV and a sportback coupe, both styles, however, share the same MEB EV platform, but the latter offers enhanced aerodynamics and slightly more range – also it’s the one I was given for the follow up review.
To be more specific, my review model was the 50 e-tron quattro S-line variant (220kW/460Nm), with an 82 kWh (77 kWh net) lithium-ion battery, offering a range of 511km, so plenty enough to give it a proper test – even if I was going to be heavy footed.
Taking a quick tour of the exterior, up front the trademark hexagonal-shaped grill has been blacked out because it is an e-tron, the lights are matrix LED and there’s plenty of airflow to keep that big battery cool. It’s aerodynamic too, with Audi claiming that my Sports Coupe has a drag coefficient of 0.23 cd.
As to whether or not it will fit in your garage dimensionally it’s 4.58 m in length and 1.63 m in height, meaning that despite it riding on 21-inch feet, it’s short for an SUV, in fact even I can look over the top.
The roofline slopes towards the rear and the rear itself is actually quite busy, with a full width spoiler that cuts across the rear screen (so it does compromise the view a little) , the lights are LED and offer a personalisable welcome, and the tailgate has ‘kicker’ entry so you don’t have to get your hands dirty when opening.
The first thing you’ll notice when stepping inside is that the Q4 e-tron is on the moment to put your bum on the driver’s seat, so all you have to do is select drive and press the go pedal. Some may find this feature a little bit disconcerting (especially when leaving), however you do get used to it pretty quickly.
Anyway, back to that take off. With its two electric motors and quattro AWD, the Q4 e-tron 50 leaves the blocks with oomph, 6.2 seconds 0-100km/h oomph to be more specific. This is hot hatch territory, in a compact SUV EV!
The sensation of instant torque brings on the instant grin and should you have the mindset of engaging Dynamic Drive, this ‘townie-biassed’ SUV becomes a bit of a performer, with the adaptive suspension and quattro systems making light work of corners, regardless of how tight and in fairness, regardless of the weather.
The cabin itself is very Audi, by which I mean premium and immediately recognisable, with leather, piano blacks and chromes as far as the eye can see. However, the steering wheel isn’t round, it’s virtually hexagonal (don’t worry, it’s very comfy) and Sonos provide the sound system. The overall feel is both sporty yet mature, and for those traditionalists, the switch gear (indicators and the like) remain a throwback to the 80s, or maybe even further.
Nestled behind the steering ‘wheel?’ are a couple of paddles which, unlike the model’s fossil-fuelled siblings, handle the level of regen braking as opposed to gear changing and with three levels to choose from, you can top up the battery/slow the SUV to suit.
While on the matter of efficiency, my time with the Q4 e-tron was spent in various stages of performance, don’t get me wrong, this SUV can be driven mildly and admirably so, but toddling around the city was not my primary focus. With that in mind, the vehicle’s on board data (for which there appears to be copious amounts of) told me that I was averaging 18.6 kWh/100 km, which to be fair, I didn’t think was too bad.
Something of particular (or is that peculiar) interest to me are the Q4 e-tron’s door cards, you can actually fit a full 1L bottle into the door card in an unusually and yet very clever way, and to me, it’s the little touches like this that really add to this SUV’s practicality and attractiveness.
Aside from the rear window, visibility is good with sizable side mirrors, and the bolstered seats offer ample support for those keen to tackle corners with speed, road and wind noise is minimal (just a little from the mirrors), however, the Sonos system certainly takes care of that.
The new Q4 e-tron may be the current first rung on Audi’s ever-increasing EV ladder but it’s a goodie. Obviously for me, the more powerful quattro coupe is the pick of the bunch, with the added power and all-wheel-drive system, it accelerates confidently, providing a smooth and settled ride. But for those that want a little more range, then the single motor will more than suffice – either way, the shared MEB platform offers a very stoic, well balanced drive. Simply put, the Q4 e-tron is a great addition to the Audi EV family and punches well above its weight – baby.