What is it?
This is the mid-level longest-range version of the new Audi Q4 E-tron, which itself could be thought of as Audi’s first mass-market electric car. Coming after the bigger, pricier and more luxurious Audi E-tron SUV and the Porsche Taycan-related E-tron GT pseudo sports car, this is the model that, Audi will hope, will begin to give the vast majority of its customers an affordable - but also still a desirable, usable and versatile - route into EV ownership.
In smaller-batteried 168bhp form, the Q4 E-tron can be had from just a whisker over £40,000. The version we’re testing is slightly more expensive, but it combines a 201bhp rear-mounted electric motor with a drive battery of a usable 77kWh of capacity, and advertises some 316 miles of WLTP-lab-test-verified range. That’s a figure competitive with the longer-range version of the Polestar 2, albeit not quite equal to the very longest-range versions of the Tesla Model 3 and Ford Mustang Mach-E (both of which can currently be had for a little more outlay than our Q4 test car). For a sub-£45,000 EV, however, it’s decent battery range for the money, while 125kW fast-charging ability as standard on bigger-batteried cars makes long-range usability all the easier to contemplate.
The Q4 E-tron becomes Audi’s electric sibling for the Volkswagen ID 4 and Skoda Enyaq, taking the VW’s Group’s MEB specialised electric car platform as its mechanical basis and slotting into the wider Audi showroom range just where you’d expect it to: as a mid-sized crossover SUV sized between the Audi Q3 and Audi Q5. Audi’s key claim for the car is that it has outstanding interior packaging, though: passenger space that makes it feel much more like a full-sized SUV on the inside, despite measuring less than 4.6m in length on the outside, thanks to that space-efficient architecture.
The other notable departure here is to do with mechanical layout. While the range-topping E-tron 50 version of the Q4 will have two drive motors and independently controlled quattro four-wheel drive, the lower E-tron 35 and mid-range E-tron 40 become the first Audi mainstream production models in modern history with rear-wheel drive (not counting the rear-driven versions of the R8 supercar).