THE AUDI Q4 e-tron has been revealed, the German car maker’s entry-level electric car designed to take on battery-powered compact SUVs from traditional Teutonic rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
With prices starting at around £36,000, the Q4 e-tron will be Audi’s most affordable electric model when it enters production in June, and may turn heads away from not only the BMW iX3 and Mercedes EQA but also models from VW Group sister companies such as the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV.
However, the Audi Q4 e-tron’s pricing means that it’s not covered by the recently-tightened government plug-in grant: prices in Europe start at €41,900 (£36,3800) for the entry level Q4 35 e-tron, and rise to €54,900 (£47,670) for the range-topping Q4 e-tron quattro Sportback, a fastback coupe derivative due to arrive in late summer.
Special “Edition” models will be available at launch that include a €6,195 (£5,380) premium, thanks to the inclusion of premium options such as 21in bronze wheels.
The Audi will be made alongside VW’s ID.4 at the car group’s factory in Zwickau, which manufactures in a carbon-neutral manner. The third-party supplier that produces the Q4 e-tron’s batteries are also required to do so in a carbon neutral manner, says Audi.
Neither production model differs significantly from their respective concept cars, which Audi unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show (the last edition of the trade show that took place).
Being electric, there’s no engine to fit beneath the bonnet, so the short front end spearheads a blanked off grille. Deeply etched feature lines, one of Audi’s design hallmarks in recent years, also help to create a muscular silhouette, while the familiar horizontal rear light strip also makes an appearance.
Like many electric car makers, Audi has put special focus on aerodynamics — less air resistance results in more miles between charges. The company claims a drag coefficient of 0.28 for the standard Q4 e-tron, which lowers to 0.26 in the Sportback variant. That puts it either side of the Mercedes EQC‘s 0.27 but falls short of the BMW iX’s 0.25 and the upcoming Tesla Model Y’s 0.23.
However, in concert with a 52kWh battery in the smaller 35 e-tron model and a bigger 77kWh battery in the 40 and 50 e-tron models, ranges of between 208 miles and 316 miles are attainable.
The range-topping all-wheel-drive Q4 50 e-tron sacrifices around 21 miles of range for extra performance, giving it a 0-60mph acceleration time of 6.2 seconds.
It can also hit 111mph, instead of the electronically-limited 100mph in the other two models — though most drivers, even with access to derestricted sections of autobahn, will choose to keep the speeds well below that in order not to drain the battery too quickly.
Inside, the Q4 e-tron is equipped with a head-up display, bespoke dashboard and a new steering wheel with a variety of touch controls.
Infotainment systems are controlled through a 10.2in central touchscreen, although a larger 11.6in version will be made available as an option towards the end of the year.
– After reading about the Audi Q4 e-tron 2021, you might be interested in Grand Tour script-writer Richard Porter’s thoughts on the Audi e-tron Sportback.
– Last year, Audi revealed the new S3 and S3 Sportback.
– You may also want to read our review of the 2020 Audi S8.