New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron on sale now, priced from £40,750
Two body styles, three powertrains and four trim-levels confirmed for Audi’s compact Q4 EV, including a 295bhp quattro option
Audi has become the latest brand to enter the booming small electric SUV market with not one, but two new offerings. Say hello to the Audi Q4 e-tron, which will soon be available as either a conventional SUV or a coupe-SUV Sportback model.
That starting price also means the Q4 e-tron range will not be eligible for the government's £2,500 plug-in car grant. UK prices for the Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback are yet to be confirmed but, in Europe, the coupe carries a €2,000 (around £1,700) premium over the SUV.
The Q4 e-tron is the first production Audi built on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric car platform. Like the Mercedes EQA and Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge, it’s also another example of a premium European brand entering its home market with a compact electric SUV before Tesla can get the Model Y on our roads.
As well as being Audi’s MEB debut, the Q4 e-tron is also the first premium brand car on the platform. As such, it comes with several key differences keeping it at an arm’s length from its more mainstream Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV siblings. Better materials, more tech and more power are all on the agenda.
There’s a divergence in bodystyle between the conventional Q4 e-tron and the swoopier, more aerodynamic Q4 e-tron Sportback, while Audi’s compact electric SUV will also be available with three different powertrain options from launch, including a quattro all-wheel-drive version with 295bhp.
New Audi Q4 e-tron: electric motors and charging
The Q4 e-tron line-up opens with the £40,750 Q4 e-tron 35 model, which uses a battery with 52kWh of usable capacity mounted under the car’s floor.
This battery powers a 168bhp electric motor at the rear axle, with 310Nm torque. Audi claims 0–62mph in 9.0 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 99mph. Audi also says the car will cover 208 miles between trips to the plug.
At the plugs, the Q4 e-tron 35 comes with 7.2kW AC compatibility for home wallbox recharges, and is able to charge at 100kW from a roadside CCS rapid charger.
The Q4 e-tron 40 is the middle option in the powertrain line-up. It’s priced from £44,990 and features a larger battery pack, rated at 77kWh net, as well as a more powerful rear motor with 201bhp and 310Nm of torque. Audi says the upgrade trims the EV’s 0–62mph time to 8.5 seconds, although its top speed remains limited at 99mph.
Thanks to the larger battery, range increases significantly to 316 miles on the SUV and, although the Sportback version of the 40 model has not yet been fully homologated, Audi expects it will improve further on that figure due to its slightly better aerodynamics.
At the top of the line-up sits the all-wheel-drive Q4 e-tron 50 quattro. It’s priced from £51,370 and features the same 77kWh battery pack as the Q4 e-tron 40, but an extra electric motor to drive the front axle.
The more potent powertrain develops 295bhp and 460Nm torque, which is enough to slash the Q4 e-tron’s 0-62mph time to 6.2 seconds and increase its top speed to 112mph. Both the SUV and the coupe are expected to have a maximum range of 295 miles, although both EVs are yet to pass through final WLTP homologation.
Both the 40 and 50 quattro versions come with an 11kW AC charging standard, while they can recharge at a CCS rapid charger at a rate of up to 125kW. Audi says 80 miles of range can be added in around ten minutes, for drivers needing a short burst of additional charge to finish a journey.
Every UK model also gets Audi’s drive select system, which offers a choice of five configurable drive modes that alter the throttle and steering characteristics. Options include a sporty Dynamic mode, an Individual mode that allows custom settings and a Range mode, which ekes the most efficiency out of the EV’s battery pack.
New Audi e-tron Q4: trim-levels and equipment
We’re yet to receive a full breakdown of how the UK Q4 e-tron range will be structured, but Audi has offered some guidelines to tide us over until the car’s specs are finalised. Three trim levels have been confirmed, and every battery and powertrain combination is available with each equipment level.
The Audi Q4 e-tron in Sport is the entry-level trim. It comes as standard with LED headlamps, gloss black window surrounds and aerodynamic 19-inch alloy wheels, which were designed to reduce the amount of turbulent air in the SUV’s and cut drag.
Above that, there’s the S line model. It’s priced from £42,850 and features 20-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, more aggressive front and rear bumpers and sports suspension, which drops the SUV’s ride height by 15mm over the standard model. Adaptive dampers can also be specced as an optional extra.
Inside, the Q4 e-tron S line gets a sports steering wheel, a black headliner, illuminated treadplates and a pair of faux leather and cloth-trimmed sports seats.
From launch, a special Edition 1 trim will also be available priced from £46,945. It builds on the S line model with a little more standard equipment, such as Matrix LED headlights, a black exterior styling package and a unique hexagonal steering wheel with two shift paddles that are used to switch increase or decrease the car’s level of regenerative braking.
At the top of the range, there’s the Q4 e-tron Vorsprung. It’s priced from £54,450 and adds 21-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof and some additional safety equipment, such as side assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist.
Inside, Vorsprung cars get Nappa leather-trimmed sports seats, a premium Sonos audio system and a wireless smartphone charger which also offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
New Audi Q4 e-tron: design, interior and practicality
Audi says that the finished car is 95 per cent the same as the Q4 e-tron concept car from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, and that the Q4 e-tron and its Sportback sibling are the next evolutionary step in the firm’s developing electric car design language.
The regular Q4 e-tron is sized at 4,588mm long, 1,865mm wide, and 1,632mm tall, so it lives up to its billing as an SUV positioned between the Q3 and the Q5 in terms of size - it’s more or less perfectly positioned between the two.
It achieves a drag coefficient of 0.28cd (0.26cd for the Sportback) thanks to its aerodynamically focused design. Many small features - from little fins on the bottom lip spoiler, to the mirrors, the flat underbody and the front grille with its closing louver, contribute to the Q4’s slippery profile.
Lighting front and rear is an important element of the Q4 e-tron’s design. The car is the first Audi to be offered with a new digital LED headlight technology with four different lighting signatures that the driver can change between. It’s also the first of Audi’s smaller models to feature a full-width LED taillight bar at the rear.
Inside lies what Audi suggests could be one of the Q4 e-tron’s major selling points: an amount of space that comes close to that in its largest SUV, the Q7. The impressive carrying capacity is largely thanks to the less stringent packaging requirements that come with electric drivetrain.
Storage is another aspect of the Q4’s innards that Audi is keen to highlight. The interior has a large centre console with multiple functions and sockets, including an optional phone charging box, while all four doors have a large cubby suitable for carrying one litre water bottles.
Materials include open pore wood and aluminium finishes on the dashboard alongside soft touch plastics, but surfaces and fabrics made from recycled materials will also be available. Buyers can choose an upholstery mix of leather and man-made leather, or full Nappa leather. An upholstery option using recycled PET bottles will also be offered - each seat using the material of 26 bottles. The floor and mats also contain recycled materials.
The Q4 e-tron’s boot stands at 520 litres measured to the windowline (535 litres in the Sportback, but the coupe profile means space above the windowline is less). While the rear bench doesn’t quite fold flat, the amount of space when you do drop it down expands to 1,490 litres (1,460 litres Sportback).
New Audi Q4 e-tron: technology and infotainment
The Q4 e-tron is fitted as standard with a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel, with Audi’s full size 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit system available on the options list. Similarly, the 10.1-inch central infotainment screen can be upgraded to a new 11.6-inch MMI Plus touchscreen, though this won’t be available directly from launch.
The 11.6-inch MMI Plus display introduces enhanced navigation with a route planner incorporating charging stops into any longer journeys and Google Earth overlay for maps. MMI Plus also introduces live traffic data and an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers.
The Q4 e-tron heralds the introduction of the Audi augmented reality head-up display. This new system uses clever technology to make it appear as if key driver information is not being shown on the windscreen itself, but is instead being projected into live space ten metres ahead of the car. Navigation prompts appear to float over the road ahead and guide the driver to the correct exit at a roundabout or the correct lane at a junction.
The augmented reality tech works with some of the Audi’s extensive driver assistance and technology features too, including an adaptive cruise control system with steering assistance.
Various collision warning and avoidance systems are available, as is a predictive efficiency assistant that uses navigation data and traffic sign recognition to deploy the Q4’s battery in the most efficient manner possible for a journey. Exactly what will be standard equipment and what will be optional will be revealed when the car’s full UK specification is announced.
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