What is it?
The Q4 E-tron SUV first bobbed up as a concept in 2019 and is already well recognised as Audi’s first foray into EVs for ordinary motorists, as is its close relationship under the skin with Volkswagen‘s well-received ID 4.
Yet despite these everyman connections, it would still be decidedly out of character if Ingolstadt’s purveyor of premium didn’t offer a blingier, go-faster version of its everyman model – especially in the UK, where extras are a way of life and nearly always make a lucrative contribution to a manufacturer’s bottom line.
Step forward the Q4 E-tron 50 Sportback Quattro, which comes with fastback styling, four-wheel drive, the bigger of two offered battery packs, two electric motors instead of one (one front, one rear, producing a combined 294bhp) and delivering brisk 0-62mph acceleration of 6.2sec.
You can get this package in each of four different trim levels, but our test car came, very sensibly, in the relatively elaborate £57,565 Edition 1 trim that many UK buyers will choose, a step below the ultimate £65,000 Vorsprung.
Audi is proud of what it believes are the car’s new, snub-nosed proportions, the short front overhang and long wheelbase enabled by compact motors and the low-mounted battery pack between the front and rear axles.
What’s it like?
For a very well-equipped and relatively high car of roughly Ford Focus dimensions, the Q4 E-tron Sportback is spacious, especially in the rear; and, at 2100kg, around 100kg lighter than some rivals at the kerb. Audi says there’s as much cabin room as in a conventional SUV from the class above.
On the road, the Q4 E-tron Sportback feels instantly quick, mostly because its four-wheel traction is so effective off the mark, in the wet or dry. The car always feels neutral, well-planted and responsive, although not exactly agile, perhaps because of its fairly long (2764mm) wheelbase.
The steering is quick and decently responsive around the straight-ahead, and although the ride is adjustable through five different regimes (that also control steering effort, accelerator response and deceleration), it always offers good wheel control, absorbing bumps with one cushioned impact, without echoes. This and excellent build quality give this Audi a feeling of modern, reassuring quality and solidity.
The performance may be accessible, but if deployed without care, the claimed 309-mile range (doubtless achievable with gentle city driving) can fall well below 250 miles.