PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING
Just like the styling and interior, the drive of the Q4 e-tron brings no surprises. But nor does it disappoint. It is a very smooth car to drive, with only a rustle of wind noise from around the mirrors to contend with. There is also a reasonable amount of suspension noise on more broken surfaces or those scarred with expansion joints and drain covers, but as they aren’t felt through the cabin, I’d suggest it was sound deadening (or lack of) that is at fault here, not the chassis’s ability to isolate them.
Performance is as you’d expect from a relatively heavy car with just 204PS, that is to say far from quick. Which in the case of the Q4 is a good thing. Despite the drive heading towards the rear wheels, the car will lose front end grip if pushed along at a speed close to being ‘enthusiastic’. Understeer is the prominent factor here, and whilst we continue to admonish these cars for not being sporty, two facts remain. First, if Audi are intent on calling the car ‘Sport’ then to keep any sporting pretensions from it is as misleading as a PPI salesman. Secondly, some of the car’s main rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz EQA and Mustang Mach-E are more enjoyable to steer when the road stops being anything but arrow straight.
Aside from that, the Q4 e-tron acquits itself admirably in simply providing you and your family with a smooth and refined place in which to travel. It’s easy to get a decent driving position, visibility is excellent, and the only blight for me in terms of this, was the slightly awkwardly shaped and uncomfortable (and thankfully optional) steering wheel. Otherwise, the car was simple and effective at what it was doing.
There are five settings in terms of drive modes, including an ‘Individual’ mode where you can tailor it to suit you. In all honestly, given the shortcomings in power and grip, I left it out of ‘Dynamic’ and let the car simply get on with the job of sorting itself out in the normal setting.
The brakes, much like the other cars on this platform, lacked an initial bite, but they didn’t feel as wooden as the one’s in the ID.4. You can, of course, dial in levels of regeneration via two wheel mounted paddles, and also by shifting the transmission selector into the ‘B’ setting.
In terms of where the Q4 e-tron feels comfortable, it is simply when going about the job of being mere transport. Like almost every other Audi, ask too much of it in terms of dynamics, and the shortcomings are all too evident. But as a dependable, smooth, quiet, comfortable family tool, then it is one of the best. Just don’t go looking for any excitement.