The Q4 didn’t surprise, but maybe that’s a good thing.
Since it’s unveil earlier this year, the production Audi Q4 e-tron has often been touted as the best overall option when it comes to premium electric crossovers. Good quality throughout, neat styling, solid tech (unlike its ID.4 twin), great brand name, a dedicated EV chassis and relatively attainable pricing stack up for an impressive offering. So when I finally got my hands on one after delays due to the global chip shortage, expectations were high.
First of all, the model I was driving was the Q4 e-tron 40. This variant lies in the middle of the range, and comes with the larger 77kWh battery pack and RWD as standard. Fundamentally, it is the exact same car as my 1st Edition ID.4 – which also comes with the larger 77kWh battery pack and is RWD.
Outside the Q4 is well proportioned and feels very traditional. Perhaps it was the basic spec of the car I was driving, but for whatever reason to me it didn’t quite stand out as much as my ID.4 which was lined up alongside it. Maybe a nicer spec S-Line trim would change this opinion, or the Sportback model.
Sitting into the Q4 e-tron, I immediately noticed the steering wheel. Compared to the ID.4, it feels a lot more sporty and premium. Overall the materials are superior, which is no surprise given this is an Audi product. The infotainment system is more responsive too. It runs off the same software as the rest of Audi’s range, which was first introduced in 2018.
Compared to the airy vibes of the ID.4 the interior does feel a little cramped however. The dash occupies a large amount of space, and the infotainment screen is very close to the driver, tilted in their direction. From the front it almost feels like the interior of a sports car, not a crossover.
Unsurprisingly, the Q4 offers a very similar driving experience to the ID.4. This means it’s a good cruiser, but not especially engaging. It offers comfort and refinement, and has marginally less road noise than the ID.4. Acceleration is okay, in the Q4 40 0-60 mph takes 8.5 seconds according to Audi. However, it’s important to note off the line the Q4 feels rather quick, before rapidly dying off beyond 30 mph. For those of you who want more pace, the top-of-the-line Q4 50 will do 0-60 in 6.2 seconds. It’s no Model Y Performance or Ford Mach-E GT on the acceleration front, but then again if you’re looking at a car like this chances are speed isn’t your main priority.
The adaptive cruise works well, although I found it a bit more complicated to activate than on my ID.4. Either way, it’s an essential option to spec – especially if you do a lot of highway miles.
Ah yes, the burning question when it comes to every EV. I only had the Q4 for around 40 minutes, but was averaging around 250 miles of range at 90% charge. It’s important to note the Q4 40 I drove is the best Q4 when it comes to range. The Q4 35 has a 52kWh pack and only manages roughly 200 miles of range real-world. Meanwhile the Q4 50 will do marginally less than the 40 due to its additional performance and power (it has 295bhp versus 204bhp on the 40 and 168bhp on the 35).
The Q4 performs well in this area, as any family crossover should. Although it has no frunk, it offers 520 liters of boot space in standard guise. This is marginally less than the ID.4, but still good for this segment. Rear legroom is okay, if not a little cramped for taller adults (6 foot+).
Q4 e-tron pricing is currently unavailable for the US market, however it is expected to start at around $45,000. Whether or not that will be for the Q4 35 or Q4 40 remains to be seen. Given Volkswagen does not offer the 52kWh ID.4 in the US, perhaps Audi won’t sell the Q4 35 there either. If so, $45,000 for the Q4 40 represents a good deal. It’s important to note how small the price gap is between the ID.4 and Q4 in Europe. Usually between equivalent Volkswagen and Audi products there is at least a 10k price gap, however in this instance it is closer to half that figure. Why? Because the ID.4 and Q4 share the same MEB platform and are produced alongside each other. Hence due to economies of scale the Q4 is cheap for the VW Group to build, and as a result has a very reasonable MSRP.
The Q4 didn’t shock me. Instead it did everything I expected it to, and in good fashion. It’s a solid offering from Audi, and a more credible choice than the likes of the ICE-based Mercedes EQA in my opinion. Yes, it is effectively an ID.4 in more fancy trappings, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Fundamentally the ID.4 is a great car, and adding better software, more premium materials and an Audi badge is a smart move from the VW Group.
Personally I was considering trading in my recently purchased ID.4 for a Q4 due to its premium qualities and brilliant infotainment, but the extensive wait times and price gap between the Q4 35 and Q4 40 changed my mind. Either way, if you’re in the market for a premium crossover it’s hard to go wrong with the Q4.
Images via Audi / B. O’Hare