The Q4 E-tron is an all-electric mid- sized crossover SUV that majors on interior space, on-board technology and, of course, typically refined, responsive zero-emissions running. Dynamic performance and handling and design appeal are important strengths for the car too, says Audi – although, as we’ll see, those claims are a little more open to question.
The car has sprung from the Volkswagen’s Group’s strategically vital MEB electric car platform, and will be built not in an Audi factory but instead alongside the closely related VW ID 4 in Zwickau, Germany. It splits the difference between Audi’s Q3 and Q5 SUVs almost perfectly on height and length. Being an EV with a heavy under-floor drive battery stretching almost the full width and length available within the wheelbase, the Q4 weighs more than either a conventionally powered Q3 or Q5, though: 2050kg in running order in the case of our test car, and up to 2135kg for a range-topping version.
The car comes in three mechanical derivatives, two of which have a single permanently excited synchronous motor cradled above their rear wheels that drives those rear wheels exclusively. In the entry- level Q4 E-tron 35, that motor makes 168bhp and draws power from a drive battery with usable capacity of 52kWh. In the mid-range 40 (as tested), it makes 201bhp (but the same 229lb ft) and has 77kWh of usable electricity storage to draw on.
The range-topping 50 quattro, meanwhile, adopts the bigger battery but has a second, front-mounted electric motor mounted within its chassis (an asynchronous one this time), giving it 295bhp and 339lb ft in all – as well as dual-motor four-wheel drive. In the range-topping trim, then, the Q4 E-tron has a 112mph top speed and can knock off 0-62mph in a little over six seconds. In as-tested mid-range form, though, those claims are a less Tesla-rivalling 99mph and 8.5sec respectively.