8th November 2021
Audi is a huge player in the company car field, so launching an electric car into the heartland of this sector is as important as it is a gamble. The German firm has played safe to an extent by choosing a small SUV shape, but the Q4 e-tron that arrived this morning is a break from Audi tradition as it’s rear-wheel drive rather than front-drive a standard. You can get a Quattro all-wheel drive model, but that’s not what we have here.
There’s a tricky junction out of my village on to the main road. When it’s wet, it often has front-wheel drive cars scrabbling for traction thanks to the slope and angle of attack. No such concerns with the rear-drive Q4 that nips out into a gap that might have been a bit nerve-wracking with a loss of grip. Acceleration in the Q4 is decent, with 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, rather than vivid, which is fine for my driving needs.
A quick stop at a nearby supermarket to make use of their quick chargers. Opening the Audi’s boot shows it has a compartment under the load floor to stash all of the cables neatly out of the way. Hooking up the Q4 to the mains is simple and it takes on more than enough fizz in an hour to keep me going for the next couple of days without worrying about where the car’s next charge is coming from.
Walking back to the Q4 this morning from an appointment gave me some time to ponder the car’s looks. Even by Audi standards, I’m not convinced by the front grille, which is just too large and jutting for my tastes. At the rear, though, I think the Q4 is very neat and this Launch Edition model certainly looks the part sitting on its 20-inch alloy wheels. Shame they don’t do the ride any favours at higher speeds.
This evening sees the Q4 taking the kids and I to the usual sporting activities to kick off the weekend. On back roads and on the Comfort suspension setting, the car is settled at lower speeds and rides well. It’s better than most EVs I’ve driven recently and a whole lot more refined and pleasant than a Ford Mustang Mach-e. Only at higher speeds does the ride feel unsettled, but it’s fine on the motorway, as I found out earlier in the day.
Out for a walk with the kids and dog today, which the Q4 had no trouble accommodating the puppy’s cage in the boot. While out, we discovered this old Mercedes Unimog slowly returning to nature. A shame for the old stager to be left to rot. At the end of the walk, I was more concerned about putting soggy kids into the Audi’s leather-lined cabin.
There’s a lot to like about the Audi Q4 e-tron, though its list price in this specification could put it beyond many company car lease budgets. One niggle is the design of the steering wheel – what’s wrong with a plain old circle instead of all the lumps of this item? On the plus side, range is good, and I like the small gear selector that is quick to react to a press – handy when parallel parking in the city.