The Audi Q4 E-tron isn’t likely to be the most talked-about electric car of 2021. It doesn’t have remarkable performance, or the cartoon-strip design appeal of a Hyundai Ioniq 5, Honda E or Renault 5. Instead, it has an Audi-typical maturity and refinement in the way it operates; impressive practicality and on-board technology; and competitive energy efficiency and battery range to complete the picture.
Not much, you might think, when the premium that Audi buyers pay usually gets them more: a cabin of really distinguishing quality as well as bold sculptural style, say, or an exterior of just-so luxury car proportions. If those buyers are a bit unconvinced by the Q4 E-tron, we suspect they will also be little encouraged to find out how closely related the car is to its sibling models from Volkswagen and Skoda. Should they test drive either, they might then discover just how much harder it is going to be for brands like Audi to develop premium-worthy cars on shared platforms in the electric era.
For Audi, the Q4 is a foothold and starting point in a strategically important part of the car market. It is somewhere to build and grow from, but not a car to lead the agenda with.