Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Sunday 29th January
Car Review

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron review

£42,195 - £66,515
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Published: 25 Jun 2021
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Generally speaking the Q4 e-tron isn’t a neck-snappingly fast EV in the mould of, say, a Tesla. That said the near-300bhp twin-motor e-tron 50 is certainly rapid enough to keep your kids/EV-sceptic passengers amused, with a claimed 0-62mph time of a shade over six seconds. 

It feels faster than that though, especially in the soaking wet (we didn’t drive the Q4 Sportback so much as sail it). The way all four tyres bite into sodden tarmac and fire you off the line or out of a tight bend, without so much as a flash of the traction control light, is very impressive.

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There’s enough performance and composure here that you could quite easily keep pace with a well-driven hot hatch along a B-road. Sure the steering doesn’t have any feel (at its best in ‘Normal’ mode, ‘Sport’ feels too gluey), but it’s accurate and predictable, and the accelerator and brake pedals are well calibrated for making smooth progress. 

It’s hardly a driver’s car, but the Q4 is without doubt the most dynamic car we’ve yet driven on this platform. 

IS IT EFFICIENT? 

With its slipperier body, the Q4 e-tron Sportback is more aerodynamically efficient than the Q4 SUV (0.26Cd vs 0.28). This particular version of the Sportback – the ‘50’ in spangly Edition 1 trim – claims 295 miles of WLTP range. That’s seven more miles than a Q4 SUV in the exact same spec. Other versions of the Sportback claim well over 300 miles of range, but you probably won’t go that far unless you drive exceptionally carefully and never switch on the air conditioning. 

In the Edition 1 there are paddles on the weird flat-bottomed and flat-topped steering wheel to cycle through the different levels of regenerative braking. They only have an effect when you’re actually braking, then immediately forget your preference as soon as you lift-off the pedal. This is annoying. I just popped the Q4 in ‘B’ mode – another step back from D on the gear selector thing – to effectively lock it in the highest setting. Even so this is not a one-pedal car. 

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On a 70-mile sodden mixed route through Bedfordshire I only managed 2.6 miles/kWh in the Sportback 50. Granted I had the air con on and wasn’t hanging around, but even so I’d have expected to get over 3 miles/kWh. 2.6 miles/kWh is equivalent to just over 200 miles of range – to hit this car’s claimed 295 miles of range I’d have needed to average 3.8 miles/kWh. So…more testing required. 

The Q4 e-tron 35 can charge at a max rate of 100kW, whereas the 40 and 50 can charge at 125kW. In practical terms, that means a Q4 40 or 50 can take on up to 80 miles of juice in just ten minutes at a sufficiently beefy charging station. 

MUST BE PRETTY COMFY…

So equipped with the Edition 1’s adaptive dampers, yes, the Q4 Sportback is a comfy car. Even with those colossal 21-inch alloys it copes pretty well with potholes and broken tarmac, the weight of the battery in the floor keeps it level through the bends and there’s good body control when you’re pushing on. 

Driving position is good too – the wheel pulls right out of the dashboard towards your chest – and the cabin is very quiet. Wind- and tyre-roar are well-contained (though those alloys do resonate over some surfaces) and there’s no discernible whine from the motors. Even by EV standards the Q4 Sportback is hugely refined.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Audi Q4 220kW 50 Quattro 82.77kWh S Line 5dr Auto
  • 0-626.2s
  • CO2
  • BHP299
  • MPG
  • Price£59,855

the cheapest

Audi Q4 125kW 35 55.52kWh Sport 5dr Auto
  • 0-629s
  • CO2
  • BHP170
  • MPG
  • Price£42,195

Variants We Have Tested

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