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Audi Q4 E-Tron engines, drive and performance

2021 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 3.8 out of 53.8

Written by Keith Adams Published: 1 June 2021 Updated: 20 March 2023

  • Three power outputs available
  • Choice of rear- or four-wheel drive
  • Power outputs from 150hp to 299hp

What power options are there?

The Q4 E-Tron comes with a choice of three electric motor layouts. The most basic version, in the 35 model, comes with the smallest 52kWh battery, and the least powerful electric motor driving the rear wheels, at 170hp. Although relatively short-ranged, it’s the most affordable Q4, and not a bad choice for those who spend most of their driving life in town. It has a top speed of 99mph, and accelerates from 0-62mph in a reasonable, although hardly quick, 9.0 seconds.

The 40 is probably the sweet spot of the line-up. It’s still rear-wheel drive, but you get a more powerful electric motor with 204hp. It has the same top speed of 99mph, but will hit 62mph from rest in a more reasonable 8.5 seconds. To be honest, while it’s no ball of fire, its performance feels pretty well in tune with the general feeling of the Q4, and it’s the model with the longest possible range, so for most buyers it makes the most sense.

Of course, if you’re buying an Audi, you might fancy all-wheel drive, and for that you’ll have to upgrade to the 50 quattro model. This gets an extra electric motor, which drives the front wheels, and which brings the total power output up to 299hp, with 460Nm of torque. The 0-62mph time drops to 6.2 seconds, while the top speed rises to 111mph – still some way off a Tesla Model Y. The problem is that range drops as low as 210 miles in real-world conditions, so it’s really for those who either need the extra traction of all-wheel drive, or who want the boasting rights of having the top-spec model.

What’s it like to drive?

  • Sharper to drive than related cars
  • Exceptional ride comfort
  • Top speed sacrificed for efficiency

The Q4 E-Tron’s more aggressive styling is backed up by the sharper driving experience it offers over a Volkswagen ID.4 or Skoda Enyaq. There’s good body control and a more neutral cornering balance and while it’s firm, it also deals with potholes well, which is quite a positive. But it’s not perfect, and it can struggle over rough surfaces, which is felt as a jarring sensation through the steering wheel.

Audi Q4 E-Tron review (2021)
The quattro versions offer a more dynamic driving experience, but cost more money.

Audi’s all-wheel-drive quattro version introduces torque vectoring, and its variable steering makes the car more chuckable through fast zig-zag corners. Handling is very accurate as a consequence.

Despite riding on (optional) 21-inch wheels, the suspension is commendably supple even at low speed and over sudden transverse disturbances, while the steering is nicely weighted. The Drive Select system gives you the choice of Comfort, Auto, Efficiency, Individual or Dynamic modes – but the real bonus are the Range and Efficiency programmes, which seriously curb energy consumption by limiting maximum speed.