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New Audi Q4 e-tron 2024 review: more power, more range and faster charging

Rather than a cursory bumpers ‘n’ lights refresh, Audi has delivered upgrades under the Q4 e-tron electric SUV’s skin, making it a tangibly better car

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Verdict

The Audi Q4 e-tron looks almost exactly the same as before, but under the skin Audi engineers have been beavering away to deliver a raft of meaningful improvements. Audi’s most popular SUV is now a tangibly better car with more power, more range, faster charging and a subtly tightened driving experience. The fact that it’s still at its best delivering comfortable, upmarket family transport rather than attacking twisty B-roads means the slower, longer-range 45 version is where the smart money goes.

The electric car revolution continues to gather pace. Government legislation is focusing the industry’s best and brightest minds on the need to shift zero-emission cars at scale, threats of financial penalties looming. But with new entrants – both models and entire brands – arriving all the time, competition for customers is hotting up. Audi is obviously feeling this squeeze, and has taken steps to keep its mid-size Q4 e-tron electric SUV fresh and relevant.

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The old Q4 e-tron 40 and 50 models are no more, with the 45 and 55 designations taking over. Both still employ a 77kWh (usable) battery, but improved chemistry, a new electric motor and other modifications, have delivered substantial boosts in power and efficiency. 

Power first; the base rear-wheel drive Audi Q4 45 e-tron now pumps out 282bhp, enough for a 0-62mph sprint of 6.7 seconds. That’s quite the leap from the old 201bhp e-tron 40, which took 8.5 seconds to perform the same task. Want to go quicker? Upgrade to dual motors for quattro all-wheel drive and you can shave a tenth of a second from that acceleration time. Climb up to the quattro-only Q4 55 e-tron and you get 335bhp for a 5.4-second dash. The old ‘50’ model, incidentally, had 295bhp and did 0 to 62mph in 6.2 seconds.

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What it all means is that every Audi Q4 e-tron is quick. But efficiency is likely to be an even bigger lure for buyers. The base 45 SUV version will officially do 330 miles on a charge, while adding the quattro system trims that to 319 miles. According to WLTP tests, the 55 can do 312 miles. Sportback models benefit from their slightly slipperier shape to the tune of seven to nine extra miles of range, depending on the model.

Previously, the old 40 SUV could do up to 322 miles, while the 50 managed an identical maximum of 312 miles. Charging speeds are better – 135kW in the rear-wheel drive models, and 175kW in the quattro – enough for a 20 to 80 per cent top-up in around 28 minutes in both versions.

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There’s no doubt that the revisions make the Audi Q4 e-tron SUV (and its coupe-SUV Sportback sister car) significantly more impressive on paper. But what does that actually mean when your backside hits the leather and your hands are on the wheel? We had the old model down as a classy and stable cruiser without much sparkle to entertain the driver, but Audi has recalibrated the steering and suspension in these new cars.

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We drove both the 45 and the 55, with the caveat that both were fitted with the adaptive dampers that aren’t set to be offered in the UK. We came away impressed – both with the extra tautness in the ride, and the well-judged adaptive steering weight. 

The Audi Q4 really does ride very well for an electric SUV of this size. At low speeds it absorbs the bumps effectively, with big potholes and drain covers causing audible thuds but much less in the way of physical jolts than you expect when you spot these obstacles coming. At speed it’s smooth and composed over undulations, and on the motorway refinement is top notch. There was hardly any sound from the powertrain, very little tyre noise from the 20-inch wheels, and just a whisper of wind around the mirrors. 

UK customers wanting a bit more in the way of aural accompaniment can specify Audi’s new e-tron Sport Sound as a £625 option. This adds two additional speakers in the back of the car and two outside that broadcast a strange wheezing noise that mimics an internal combustion engine, rising and falling with throttle inputs. It’s probably better to turn the stereo up instead. 

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Despite the obvious objective and subjective improvements, the Audi Q4 e-tron still isn’t a thrilling thing to drive. The weight (2,145kg in the base RWD model) is better controlled, but this just isn’t a car that responds well to being tipped enthusiastically into a corner. 

Most buyers won’t care, though, and that’s why we’d point them towards the entry-level 45 version that dips just under the £50,000 mark in SUV form and costs £1,500 more for the Sportback. It feels more than fast enough and delivers the Q4’s best range figure. It’s £1,430 more for quattro all-wheel drive, and another £4,950 on top of that for the flagship 55 model. 

Inside, the Audi Q4 e-tron gets a larger (11.6-inch) central touchscreen than before but everything else is pretty much the same. It’s a roomy mid-size SUV with the layer of Audi polish to help it stand out from its Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq sister cars, as well as from the growing band of alternatives outside the VW Group. 

There are hard plastics on the doors and on the centre console that feel a little below par in a £50k car, but the Virtual Cockpit driver’s display remains one of the clearest and most versatile systems of its type – and equipment levels are decent. Even entry-level Sport cars get 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, a powered tailgate, heated front seats, a rear view camera and adaptive cruise control. You’ll get a 6ft adult behind a driver of similar size without much fuss, even in the Sportback which does have a bit less headroom, and the 520-litre boot (535-litres in the Sportback) is up with the best in the class.  

Model:Audi Q4 45 e-tron Sport Sportback
Price:£51,415
Powertrain:77kWh battery, electric motor
Power/torque:282bhp/545Nm
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:6.7 seconds
Top speed:112mph
Range:339 miles
Charging:135kW, 10-80% in 28 mins
Size (L/W/H):4,588/1,865/1,632mm
On sale:Now
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Head of digital content

Steve looks after the Auto Express website; planning new content, growing online traffic and managing the web team. He’s been a motoring journalist, road tester and editor for over 20 years, contributing to titles including MSN Cars, Auto Trader, The Scotsman and The Wall Street Journal.

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