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In-depth reviews

Audi Q4 e-tron review - Electric motor, drive & performance

Performance is brisk and the Q4 feels composed with a top-class ride quality for an electric SUV

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Electric motor, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Audi Q4 e-tron is based on the same underpinnings as the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq. It shares a low centre of gravity with these cars that results from the weight of the battery beneath the floor. This produces a composed feel at modest speeds and through sharp direction changes but there’s no getting away from the fact that these are heavy cars. At 2,145kg in its lightest form, the Q4 isn’t huge fun to drive quickly and that leads us to think that the less powerful 45 powertrain is the one to go for.

Audi has worked hard on the ride quality of the Q4 and this comfortable feel on a variety of road surfaces is a key strength. The way it absorbs big potholes around town and smooths out rough B-roads, even with the larger wheel options installed puts it ahead of the Enyaq and the ID.4. You do get noise from the suspension over big bumps, but that’s made more noticeable by the general lack of noise in the cabin. At motorway speeds, you get a rustle of wind around the A-pillars but little else to disturb the peace.  

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The S line models have sports suspension fitted as standard that lowers the car by 15mm. It looks great but we would question the value of this because of the adverse effect it has on ride quality in combination with the S line 20-inch wheels. Maybe we’re getting old but comfort is a real strength of the Q4 and it seems a shame to spoil it.

All the Q4 e-tron models feel quick without matching the eye-watering performance of the Tesla Model Y. The power isn’t all delivered at once as it is with some electric cars, with the Q4 adopting a more progressive approach that limits the risk of wheel spin when pulling away. Most buyers will prefer this and find it more relaxing in everyday driving.  

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Versions with paddles behind the steering wheel also feature adjustable battery regeneration, so the driver can quickly adjust the braking effect without having to take their attention off the road. You need to select ‘B’ mode in the drive model selector to get the strongest braking effect, but it’s still not quite enough for true ‘one pedal’ driving where you don’t need to use the brakes.

Electric powertrains

The Q4 45 e-tron is the only rear-wheel drive model and is powered by a single motor making 282bhp. It’s the slowest Q4 e-tron with a 0-62mph time of 6.7s and can reach a 112mph top speed. The quattro all-wheel drive model adds 100kg in weight but the extra traction it provides has the net result of lowering the 0-62mph time by 0.1s. At the top of the range, the Q4 e-tron quattro variants are all quattro and have 335bhp for a 0-62mph time of 5.4s. The Sportback models have exactly the same performance figures. 

No Audi Q4 e-tron feels like it’s lacking in performance. The acceleration is piled on in a smooth and linear fashion so that even the rear-wheel drive cars seem more than capable of deploying all the power without struggling for grip on dry roads. Choosing a quattro version will bring additional security in wet and slippery conditions but most buyers will be fine with the entry-level car, in our view. It’s quick with power and torque in reserve to respond smartly to throttle inputs, even at high speeds. 

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    210kW 45 82kWh Sport 5dr Auto [Leather]
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £51,270

Most Economical

  • Name
    210kW 45 Quattro 82kWh Sport 5dr Auto [Leather]
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £52,700

Fastest

  • Name
    250kW 55 Quattro 82kWh Sport 5dr Auto [Leather]
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £57,650

Steve Walker is group web editor at Autovia, overseeing the online presence of Auto Express, Carbuyer, evo and DrivingElectric. Steve has been working as a motoring journalist, road tester and editor since 2002 and has written about cars for numerous titles over the years from Coach and Bus Week and the Yorkshire Post to The Scotsman, AutoTrader, MSN and the Wall Street Journal

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