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Are the 2023 Audi Q4 e-Tron and Q4 Sportback e-Tron Good Electric SUVs? 5 Things We Like, 5 We Don’t

audi q4 e tron 2022 01 exterior front angle jpg Audi Q4 e-Tron | photo by Brian Normile

With the launch of the e-Tron family of electric vehicles, Audi has taken a somewhat different approach to EVs than some other manufacturers. Rather than going with the unique styling themes and often quirky controls commonly used in EVs, the 2023 Audi Q4 e-Tron and stylish Q4 Sportback e-Tron compact SUVs are refreshingly normal and look, feel and drive like conventional vehicles that just happen to be powered by electricity rather than petrochemicals.

Related: 2023 Audi Q4 e-Tron and Q4 Sportback e-Tron Review: More Normal Than Radical

Sharing much of the architecture used in the Volkswagen ID.4, Q4 models use the same 82-kilowatt-hour battery pack and other mechanical components. The Q4 e-Tron is available either with a single motor and rear-wheel drive or dual motors and all-wheel-drive, while the Sportback gets dual-motor AWD standard. RWD models generate 201 horsepower, AWD models 295 hp. Inside, the cabin is much like that in any other Audi: upscale and comfortable with largely conventional controls. Additionally, the driving experience will likely appeal to first-time EV buyers, with lively if not class-leading acceleration and an agreeable combination of ride comfort and responsive handling.

Overall, longtime Audi fans will likely feel right at home, and the Q4 models may help ease more mainstream buyers into their first EV — but we still found a few nits to pick. For an in-depth look at the 2023 Audi Q4 e-Tron and Q4 Sportback e-Tron, hit the link above to read Brian Normile’s expert review; for a quicker rundown of five things we like about Audi’s newest EVs and five things we don’t, read on.

Things We Like

audi q4 sportback e tron 2022 10 interior front row jpg Audi Q4 e-Tron Sportback | Manufacturer image

1. Smooth Power Delivery

Like many EVs, power delivery is instantaneous and smooth, though neither version of the Q4 offers class-leading power. The 295-hp dual-motor version goes from 0-60 mph in a not-too-shabby 5.8 seconds according to Audi, but most of that oomph can be felt at lower speeds around town; at higher speeds, the Q4 e-Tron has less in reserve for passing.

2. Brake Feel

Drivers unfamiliar with EVs will appreciate the Q4 e-Tron’s brake pedal feel with regenerative braking switched off, which is linear and progressive like a good set of brakes in a conventional car. Those interested in maximizing range can choose from three levels of regenerative braking, but even the most extreme is not as aggressive as with some EVs.

3. Ride and Handling

While perhaps not as sporty to drive as some other all-electrics (or even other Audis), the Q4 e-Tron models strike a decent balance between ride comfort and responsive handling. Steering is nicely weighted with decent feel, and the suspension is absorbent if on the firm side, much like competing electrics such as the Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharges and the Tesla Model Y. Some road imperfections can be felt in the cabin, but it’s nothing that’s unsettling or objectionable.

4. Make Yourself at Home

A traditional layout and familiar controls will help first-time EV buyers feel right at home, with physical knobs and buttons for climate and audio functions. We also like the Audi MMI infotainment system, which is used throughout the lineup and is just as intuitive and easy to use in the e-Tron models as we’ve experienced with other Audis.

5. Room for the Gang

The cabin is surprisingly roomy front and rear, with a low gear selector adding to an airy and open feel up front. In back, the Q4 e-Tron feels roomy enough to be a larger vehicle, although the Sportback’s lower roofline intrudes on headroom for taller passengers. If you hang with a long and lanky crowd, the regular Q4 e-Tron is a better bet.

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Things We Don’t Like

audi q4 e tron 2022 18 interior steering wheel controls jpg Audi Q4 e-Tron | photo by Brian Normile

1. No One-Pedal Driving

Even when set on the highest of three levels of regen braking, the Q4 e-Trons will not come to a complete stop without the driver applying the brakes. That makes true one-pedal driving an impossibility, something many EV owners prefer for maximizing range.

2. Limited View Out Back

We have no complaints about front visibility in spite of prominent A-pillars, but it’s a different story out back, particularly with the more aggressively styled Sportback. The rear head restraints block much of the rear window, and the view in Sportback models is further restricted by a rear spoiler that divides and blocks a chunk of the rear window.

3. Steering Wheel Controls

Touch-sensitive steering-wheel controls for audio functions and other things aren’t a great idea because they’re too easy to rub against during normal driving; the resulting unintended consequences can be annoying at best, especially during a good song. Thankfully, the steering wheel buttons in e-Tron models provide some haptic feedback and must be pressed to respond. Still, they can be hard to read in direct sunlight, and we always prefer controls that are less likely to be pushed by accident.

4. Plastic Prevails

There’s a fair bit of hard plastic in the cabin, and while most of it is on lower surfaces, it still seems out of place in a vehicle that can easily cost more than $60,000. This is especially noticeable in vehicles with a lighter-colored interior; black does a better job of hiding it.

5. Range of Disappointment

With a maximum range of 242 miles for AWD variants and 265 miles with RWD, no version of the Q4 e-Tron can offer class-leading road-trip capability. While similar to range estimates for competing compact electric SUVs from Volvo and Genesis, those numbers trail the range of the Tesla Model Y and some versions of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. We recorded consumption of around 3 miles per kilowatt-hour, which bears out published range estimates.

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