Driven: 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro, More Than Just Audi’s Version of the ID.4


We tried the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro model, which comes with two electric motors and an all-wheel drive. The AWD system is not a conventional one, but the Q4 drives all four wheels when needed thanks to its placement of one engine per axle.

This variant is currently the top-of-the-line model in the Audi Q4 range. Below it sits the 40 e-tron and 35 e-tron, with less power and a single e-motor.

If the maximum possible range is what you are after, the 40 e-tron might be the one you desire. If you wish to experience this model just like a similarly priced Audi, we suggest you think about the 50 e-tron version instead.

We will get past the styling, which resembles other Audi models, and the massive front grille has a big role to play here. Without it, it would be difficult to assimilate the Q4 as an Audi, but that is the only function it has on this model.

Now, time for the driving part. Since the Q4 e-tron shares its platform and many parts with the ID.4, you would expect it to be similar to its Volkswagen cousin, right. Well, not quite. The Q4 manages to be significantly quieter, almost too quiet if you will, and it drives better than the Volkswagen ID.4.

The steering system feels better weighed than the ID.4’s, for example, and it also has a more consistent feeling to it than its VW relative does. The extra power comes in handy if you want to enjoy your (almost) 300 hp car, but do not expect it to have break-neck acceleration.

The top version of the Q4 e-tron will be as fast as a compact hot hatchback of yesteryear, especially if you evaluate it from naught to 62 mph (100 kph). That can be good if you have never experienced such acceleration, but also not that impressive if you were fortunate enough to drive something with even more power.

Just like in the ID.4, power delivery is linear, so the car behaves in a civilized manner. It will not make you sick because of too many sprints from naught, but it is not far off from that point.

The level of power offered by this variant of the Q4 e-tron is in the “nice to have” category. It is reassuring to know that it is there and that it can pass other vehicles easily, even at higher speeds.

As I mentioned above, the steering feels better than the one in the VW ID.4. It is closer to what you might find in a Q5, if you are looking for a comparable Audi model with conventional propulsion. The Q4 e-tron feels composed and confident in corners, which will make you try and see how far it can be pushed.

Due to its complex onboard electronics, the Q4 e-tron will not understeer as easily as a conventional crossover. Naturally, if you keep pushing it too hard into corners, it will eventually do so.

It will be both satisfying and rewarding to drive, and you do not seem to mind the lack of engine noise due to its low center of gravity and grip. It can be a blast to drive if you get it to a series of corners, but it can also be a comfortable cruiser if you just have a highway in front of you.

The suspension of the Q4 is more refined than on the ID.4. If you leave aside the extra power this version brings, the suspension, steering, and soundproofing alone make the Q4 e-tron better than the ID4. Mind you, the latter is quiet and comfortable, but the Audi goes to the next level on these aspects.

Unfortunately, we wish Audi had paid the same level of attention to the materials on elements like the door cards, which do not have the premium feel we expected from the brand but are still good. They do have the best storage for water bottles we have seen in years, so something was done right.

The difference is perceptible if you drive them back-to-back, so it is just like in the regular, ICE-powered, ranges. Mind you, there is also a difference in price between the VW ID.4 and the Audi Q4 e-tron, which is not easy to ignore.

Those who pay more will get more soundproofing, a better-calibrated suspension, and a steering system with a bit more feel to it. All the above go nicely with the added power of the 50 e-tron version of the Q4.

Despite having drum brakes on the rear axle, the Q4 has sufficient stopping power. Just like any other EV, the conventional braking system gets to be used only for emergency stops, but is otherwise left aside for the last few moments before a full stop. The energy recuperation system takes care of slowing the car down. Drum brakes on a car this expensive might be a bit too much for some people who are concerned about how this looks to others, but that is a different problem.

From an ergonomic standpoint, the Audi also has the upper hand on VW models, as the Ingolstadt brand has chosen to place the gear selector on a seemingly floating center console. The element is interesting and comes with a bit more familiarity for those accustomed to conventional cars. But that is not all, as Audi has fitted the interior with conventional buttons.

If you drive the VW ID.4 on one day, then move on to the Q4 e-tron, you will immediately understand what you were missing in the Volkswagen. Those buttons on the center console do make a difference and will simplify your existence aboard the Q4 e-tron.

Audi has fitted the car with the capacitive buttons on the steering wheel, which will explain why the gauge cluster displays will change the information shown without you wanting it to do so. It is just your hand gently (and unintentionally) touching that surface and changing the displayed screens.

What about energy efficiency? We picked up the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro with a 76 percent charge, which was estimated to be enough for 329 km (ca. 204 miles). After a 190 km (118 miles) drive with an average speed of 47 kph (ca. 29 mph), the Q4’s onboard computer displayed 19.8 kWh/100 km (62 miles).

The remaining range was estimated to be 104 kilometers (64 miles) with a 21 percent battery charge left. We plugged it in and let it charge until 100 percent, and the range estimate climbed to 448 km (278 miles).

The Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro has a 77 kWh battery and a maximum WLTP estimated range of 482 kilometers (299 miles), while its average energy consumption is estimated at 18.2 kWh/100 km (62 miles) in the WLTP cycle.

As you can observe, it can get very close to its official figures, which seems to be the rule with electric SUVs. Driving style matters, obviously, and the Audi did entice us into driving it in a sportier manner than we did with the ID.4. So, kudos to Audi for getting the most out of the MEB platform.