GRR

The Q4 e-tron is Audi’s smallest EV

15th April 2021
Bob Murray

Honey I shrunk the e-tron… Audi has taken its successful battery-electric recipe and bundled it up inside its most compact and least expensive all-electric car yet. The Q4 e-tron arrives in June and is available to order now, priced from £40,750 and boasting a range of up to 316 miles.

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Sibling to the Volkswagen ID.4 and rival for Tesla’s Model Y in the compact SUV stakes, the Q4 e-tron arrives with signature Audi class and lots of choice: regular or sleeker Sportback body styles, rear-drive or all-wheel-drive, two battery sizes and single or dual-motor options with power outputs spanning 170PS (125kW) to 299PS (220kW). There are four trim lines up to Vorsprung spec which is the flagship at £65,070.

The battery Q4 is the first Audi to use the group’s new MEB electric architecture which here offers two battery sizes: 52kWh and 77kWh, with 100kW and 125kW charging capacities respectively. The bigger battery can take on power sufficient for 80 miles of range in 10 minutes at a fast-charger.

The designs of both regular and Sportback bodies stay close to the 2019 concepts and remain notable for muscular styling with heavily sculpted sills and big wheels inside bulging arches. The proportions are dictated by a long wheelbase and short overhangs inside an overall body length of just under 4.6m. So far from a giant.

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The Sportback gets the coupe style roofline as well as the marginally better 0.26 Cd, but either is roomy and practical says Audi – roomy enough to rival cars in the full-size SUV class, it claims. Both e-tron and e-tron Sportback get a (standard) powered tailgate opening on to a boot of between 520 and 1,490 litres with the back seats down, and only slightly less in the more sportily styled model.

Performance? Do not expect fireworks from the 170PS entry model – 0-62mph takes 9.0 seconds – but the top dual-motor variant is brisker with 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and a 111mph top speed – the lesser versions are restricted to 99mph. Note that unless you go for the big battery, the entry model’s range is 208 miles on a full charge.

In the dual-motor models it is the rear motor that does most of the work, with the front firing up only when needed. The degree of energy recuperation is variable and at its maximum can see the rear motor decelerating the car by 0.3g and generating 145kW of power, for the kind of one-pedal motoring that makes the most of an electric car’s range.

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Near 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity should ensure signature Audi handling while the battery Q4 should be handy around town with its tight 10.2m turning circle. There’s a sport setting for the ESC and adaptive dampers are available as part of what Audi calls its electronic dynamic handling system.

Among the expected Audi goodies putting in an appearance here (depending on model) are Matrix LED lights, full-width rear light bar (incorporating the brand’s four rings in a very cool touch), 19-, 20- or 21-inch alloy wheels in a variety of finishes, a black styling package and – of course – a typically fully featured and well finished cabin.

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Making their debut inside are Audi’s largest ever 11.6-inch MMI display, a new steering wheel with touch controls, a new breed of high-end stereo from Sonos, and an augmented reality head-up display as part of the Audi virtual cockpit.

New e-trons are coming thick and fast – there’s another new one due to be unveiled at the Shanghai show next week – as Audi’s all-electric range takes shape. The compact Q4 promises to be the most successful model yet and we especially like it in Sportback form – prices for this have yet to be confirmed though and you’ll have to wait until September to get one.

  • Audi

  • EV

  • Q4 e-tron

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