Which brings us to the elephant in the room: the three and a half stars the Q4 E-tron earned in its recent Autocar test drive, where it was noted for not fully distinguishing itself from Volkswagen Group cars with whose it shares its MEB EV architecture.
While surprisingly refined, practical and efficient, high-end Q4 E-tron benchmarks have been let down by the look, proportions and build quality of the cabin that one wouldn’t typically expect from an Audi. While it might suit the Enyaq iV and ID 4, the Audi’s premium positioning and pricing can rightly be pitted against it.
Digging deeper, at what point is a premium brand and model no longer premium when what they offer is actually mainstream and sells in such high volumes? Despite its mega commercial success in recent years, Audi (and this is also true for BMW and Mercedes-Benz) has managed to retain its premium aura and appeal through the quality feel and execution of its cars. The Q4 E-tron, which at first glance doesn’t really stand out from its more traditional peers, is it the car that bursts the premium bubble?
It will be fascinating to see over an extended period of ownership the hidden depths of high-quality appeal that this Audi EV (surely) has to offer. That’s all to come, though. As for first impressions, I agree the interior looks a little plasticky in places once you get past the initial wow factor of all the glossy screens, but on the move the Q4 E-tron is a family car too silent and refined as they come. It’s not one to get the pulse racing, but rather to soothe and pamper those on board.
I would expect the range issue to be a footnote to this long term test, at least in all but the coldest months, as a figure well over 300 miles is quite feasible. I can’t think of any trip I’ve taken in the past two years that would have given me anxiety in a Q4 E-tron.
Perhaps those early highlights are premium qualities in themselves: the Q4 E-tron seems like a car that leaves you with nothing to worry about, removing the fears that keep some from switching to electric power. Once it’s allayed those fears, can the Q4 E-tron offer enough elsewhere to leave a lasting special feel and justify the extra cost of a smaller premium car that has so much in common with its peers? This and many more will be revealed in the coming months.
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This notice was published: 2022-03-18 15:00:00