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Test drive: Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron, a super stylish and fully electric compact SUV

LLM motoring editor Lisa Curtiss reviews the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron, a compact, fully electric and eye-catchingly elegant SUV.

By Lisa Curtiss  |  May 18, 2022
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron side view

Versatile, stylish, sporty, tech-rich and created with the environment in mind, this premium SUV from Audi has all the attributes needed to be the perfect family car.

A compact, fully electric and eye-catchingly elegant SUV, the Q4 Sportback e-tron has strong clean lines which give it an assured and sophisticated presence – the high front, wide stance and large wheels hint at SUV robustness, whilst its sloping roofline adds a dash of coupé styling. The large, enclosed single frame grille distinguishes it as an all-electric model and the ground clearance of approximately 18 centimetres enables the model to perform well on rougher terrain.

The Q4 Sportback e-tron comes in a choice of eight paint finishes including the stunning new metallic shade aurora violet which has, until now, been reserved for Audi Sport models. In Sport versions 19-inch graphite grey alloy wheels with a special ‘aero’ design that contributes to overall efficiency amply fill the wheel arches, which, along with the lower section of the bumper and the diffusor, are painted in contrasting metallic Manhattan grey. A gloss package also accentuates the side windows, which are privacy tinted at the rear in S line models and above.

The exterior design isn’t just about pleasing aesthetics though – it’s actually a super-aerodynamic car with a drag coefficient of 0.26.

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron side view

Cabin space and comfort

Slip inside and the car continues to delight. This really is a practical, useable and versatile SUV – one that will integrate seamlessly into everyday life.

The model’s 4.59-metre footprint offers a level of space which exceeds existing class standards and is in fact more closely comparable with the full-size SUV class. The spacious feel isn’t confined to the front seats – passengers in the rear also benefit from generous legroom thanks, in part, to the bespoke architecture of the modular electric drive system on which the compact electric SUVs are based, which ensures that a centre tunnel is no longer required. Storage space also abounds, with around 25 litres of capacity available throughout the cabin, including particularly useful bottle holders integrated in the upper section of the doors that can hold bottles of up to one litre in size safely and within easy reach.

The luggage compartment is accessible via the powered tailgate which is standard for all variants. It also offers more space than is generally found in the compact class, and actually bears closer comparison with a midsize SUV. Depending on the positioning of the rear seat backs, the volume of the luggage compartment is 535 to a substantial 1,460 litres.

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron interior

Technology and features

The interior of the Q4 Sportback e-tron is characterised by a real sense of space. The centrepiece is the striking instrument panel. This is oriented towards the driver and divided into separate areas integrating two displays – the central MMI touch monitor, with acoustic feedback and natural language voice control, and the Audi virtual cockpit.

There’s a new augmented reality head-up display which forms part of the standard specification for Vorsprung versions and is a key component of the optional technology pack available for all other variants. This major advance in display technology projects important information onto the windscreen on two separate levels – a status section and an augmented reality (AR) section.

Key information and symbols from specific assistance systems and from the navigation module are visually superimposed on the ‘real life’ area to which they specifically relate as content of the AR section and displayed dynamically. They appear to be floating virtually at a physical distance of roughly ten metres from the driver, and depending on the situation can even appear considerably further ahead in some cases. The driver can understand the displays very quickly without being confused or distracted by them, and they are extremely helpful in poor visibility conditions.

Also new to the Q4 Sportback e-tron is a premium sound system supplied by Sonos, the world’s leading sound experience company and a new and exclusive Audi partner. It comes fitted as standard to Vorsprung versions and is available for all others as part of the optional comfort and sound pack, the system is incorporated into the Audi soundCube, a fully integrated and easily adaptable software environment.

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron on road

Out on the road

If you’ve been hesitant to purchase a fully-electric model so far, this is a car to reassure you. The Q4 Sportback e-tron is as undemanding as possible and can be quickly and easily charged for daily use.

Using the myAudi app, owners can activate charging remotely using a smartphone. The app also provides access to the comfort remote preconditioning system, which enables remote adjustment of the cabin temperature and seat heating functions to ensure that the cabin climate is always comfortable well before a journey begins.

The Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro uses the 77 kWh battery and here it supplies an electric motor on each axle that contributes to a maximum output of 220 kW (299 PS) and 460 Nm (339.3 lb-ft) of torque, while also delivering the advantages of all-wheel-drive. One full charge is enough for circa 300 plus mile range, making most journeys a stop and re-charge free breeze.

To drive the Q4 Sportback e-tron is dynamic and engaging. The ride is firm without discomfort, steering precise and it feels very well powered and balanced. Visibility is great and everything needed is ergonomically placed.

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron rear view

Safety first

As you’d expect from Audi, there’s an extensive range of driver assist systems. Everyday driving in the compact electric SUVs is facilitated, and delivered as economically as possible, by a number of standard assistance systems. These include predictive efficiency assist, which supports a forward-looking driving style that optimises the consumption of energy, Audi Pre-sense front with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning and swerve and turn assist.

Further optional systems – like many other equipment features – are divided into packages. Highlights of the assistance package pro include adaptive cruise assist, which assists the driver with longitudinal and lateral guidance over the entire speed range, and a four-camera system providing 360° visibility that makes lighter work of city driving and parking. The safety package plus adds features such as Audi side assist blind spot monitoring and the rear cross traffic assist reversing aid. Both packages are standard Q4 e-tron Sportback features.

The front seats in the Q4 e-tron models represent the state of the art in safety technology. In the event of a side impact, a centre airbag deploys from the left-hand bolster of the driver’s seat in addition to the side airbags to ensure that the driver and front passenger do not collide with one another.

Prices range from £42,250 to £66,750. For more information, visit Audi UK.