Electric family SUV has the same battery as its cheaper sibling but gains an extra motor. Does it deliver?

What is it?

This is the one that counts for Audi. If the brand is to make a real stab at electrification, the Q4 E-tron needs to be the car doing the heavy lifting. We’ve driven the lower-powered, rear- driven Audi Q4 E-tron 40 before, so now it’s the turn of the pricier 50 Quattro.

Audi’s cousin of the Skoda Enyaq iV and Volkswagen ID 4 in this form gets a 77kWh battery (as in the 40) and two motors, together offering up 295bhp and 339lb ft. The healthy 94bhp uptick over the 40 means the 50 Quattro is 1.3sec quicker from 0-62mph, in part thanks to its small front motor giving all-wheel traction.

The flip side is a range of 291 miles, which is 25 miles down on that of the 40 and a massive 88 miles down on the Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range, if on par with the Polestar 2.

A flat floor and wheels pushed right out into the corners combine to provide plenty of room, and the three-stack dashboard arrangement looks smart. But – shock horror! – some of the interior feels a bit flimsy, especially on the steering wheel. Here, Audi’s switchgear no longer has that survive-anything feel about it.

Audi q4 e tron 50 2021 584

What's it like?

Some polish is lacking from the way it drives, too. The ride is well controlled and never coarse, but for where this car is aimed, it’s too firm, shuffling between bump to bump rather than flowing over them. That’s possibly due to our car’s lack of adaptive dampers, as previous Q4s we’ve driven had this option fitted. Still, it’s missing the sophistication we’ve come to expect from Audi.

At least the 50 Quattro delivers the sort of ‘in-gear’ punch that makes 50-70mph overtaking easy, never running out of puff at such speeds.

And refinement is excellent, with the sort of wind noise isolation that lives up to the punchy sticker price.

The real-world range isn’t far off what Audi states, either: we matched the claimed efficiency of 3.3 miles per kWh on a mixed-roads journey.

Audi q4 e tron 50 2021 592

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Should I buy one?

The biggest problem for the Q4 is its aforementioned cousins. It doesn’t feel special enough to justify the premium badge or price, and besides, this more potent powertrain isn’t exclusive to Audi.

Given this, it will be interesting to see how Audi attempts to redefine ‘premium’ over the next few years.

Audi q4 e tron 50 2021 596


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xxxx 9 September 2021

A good an example of less is more.

AddyT 6 September 2021

From someone who has always been hugely into cars for pretty much my whole life, I have not kept up with any of these new electric cars whatsoever. I have absolutely no interest in them nor the Governments alleged wish to have only these cars on sale (as new cars) by 2030. Nor will I ever be buying one. We don't even have the infrastructure to support everyone in an electric car but that's another conversation for another day. All I know is I'll be driving ICE cars until I am no longer fit to drive. May sound like a stubborn old man....I'm not, I'm 37. 

Badgerr 23 September 2021

That's a shame.  You should give them a go.  The performance is so much better that many ICE cars, and the running costs are so much cheaper.  So glad I made the switch, and can't see why I would ever want to go back.

bol 6 September 2021

Audi defines quality with quilted effect leather upholstery and lots of shiny gewgaws. The same way I define naff.