Long-term tests

Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro: long-term test review

First report: EV is set to be Audi’s biggest seller, and we can see why after the Q4 e-tron joins our fleet

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Verdict

The Audi Q4 e-tron has slotted very neatly into Fowler family life. I’m enjoying the drive and the quality, while the running costs are a boon, too. So far, then, it’s a big thumbs up for Audi’s latest electric model.

  • Mileage: 3,143
  • Efficiency: 2.8miles/kWh

If you wanted to know how important the Q4 e-tron is to Audi, the fact that it’s set to become the brand’s biggest seller should tell you all you need to know. And that’s exactly why we’ve added one to our fleet – what can it tell us about Audi’s present and its future?

Shooting to the top of the brand’s sales chart is a pretty impressive feat for an all-new model, especially one that is not powered by any sort of combustion engine. But that’s why the Q4 e-tron is such a key model: it’s the first Audi to sit on the MEB bespoke platform (unlike the larger e-tron SUV, which uses regular underpinnings converted to EV). And as such, the new arrival is every bit the counterpart to mainstream Audis like the Q3 and A3.

Our Q4 e-tron arrived in its striking Aurora Violet metallic paint just as October’s fuel crisis was ending, but it’s already proving its worth when it comes to saving cash.

As fuel prices rise, and even accounting for a hike in electricity bills, a full charge of the Audi from my home charger costs around £12, and that gets us around 220 miles of range in this cold winter weather – well under half the price of a petrol Audi Q3 doing the same mileage.

It should also save me £15 in Congestion Charge when the latest Covid-19 wave subsides and I end up visiting our central London office again. That could add up to more than £100 per month – another figure to consider if, like so many people, you’re looking at the monthly lease rates of an EV.

So that’s a pretty good start to life with our Q4 e-tron, and there are plenty of other aspects I’m enjoying, too. The most noticeable one is the quality.

We’ve also got a Volkswagen ID.3 and Skoda Enyaq on our fleet at the moment and, in true Volkswagen Group fashion, the Audi shares much of the electric running gear with those cars. MEB is a common platform across many brands, after all.

However, my car feels more different from its siblings than other Audis of late, and that comes down to two things. First, Audi has gone its own way when it comes to infotainment, so the Q4 does without the much-criticised and soon-to-be-upgraded system used in the Volkswagen (and the Cupra Born). Secondly, the fixtures and fittings inside the car are also a cut above those of the Audi’s contemporaries.

Then there are the doors, and I’ll admit to becoming a bit obsessed here. Audi has engineered a heft to them that the other VW Group cars just don’t have. Every time I open or close them, it reminds me that I’m in something just that little bit more special – and more expensive.

With winter upon us, I opted for the Q4 e-tron with the biggest 82kWh (77kWh usable) battery powering electric motors on the front and rear for a total of 295bhp and giving quattro four-wheel drive reassurance. It’s quick, too, with the 0-62mph sprint achievable in 6.2 seconds.

One thing the Fowler jury is still out on is the S line trim with its 20-inch wheels and slightly lowered suspension. My daughter, Gemma, has complained about the ride comfort in the back; she says it’s a bit too bumpy, echoing the verdicts on many a review of conventionally powered Audis. S line usually brings lots of appealing kit, but is known for having a more fidgety ride.

I’ll concede that my Q4 does feel firmer than the aforementioned VW, but I have to be honest and say it doesn’t bother me up front. I’ll have to get someone else to drive so I can have a go in the back, too.

What nobody has complained about is the space in the rear cabin; it’s huge. There’s plenty of room, even behind me, and the flat floor enhances the feeling of airiness. These really are key benefits of an EV designed on a bespoke electric-car platform.

The panoramic roof lifts the cabin, too; it’s one of a host of options on our car, including an excellent head-up display and an even better Sonos stereo – the brand’s first foray into car audio systems.

Model:Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro S line
On fleet since:November 2021
Price new:£55,260
Engine:2x e-motor, 295bhp
CO2/tax:0g/km/1%
Options:Matrix LED headlights (£1,075), Assistance package plus (£1,000), Safety package plus (£650), Function package (£325), Comfort package plus (£850), Ambient lighting pack plus (£100), Acoustic glazing for front doors (£125), Technology pack (£1,200), Flat-topped & bottomed twin-spoke leather steering wheel with paddles (£285), Panoramic glass sunroof (£1,250),  20-inch graphite alloy wheels (£150), Sonos premium sound system (£395)
Insurance*:Group: 37/Quote: £914
Mileage:3,143
Efficiency:2.8miles/kWh
Any problems?None so far

*Insurance quote for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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