Audi Q4 45 e-tron First Drive Review: Where size is king?

Clifford Chow

We drove from Munich to Zwickau, and back in the new Audi Q4 e-tron, and think that this is Audi’s most important EV for Singapore to date

2024 Audi Q4 45 e-tron

Launched: June 2024 – Price: TBC
Five-door, SUV, five seats
286hp 402Nm, single motor, rear wheel drive
455-544km range

Drives well given its weight
Good equipment levels
Plenty of passenger space for its footprint

Interior materials feel cheaper than it should
Brakes could be better


Photos: Clifford Chow, Jasmine Toh
Text: Clifford Chow


I usually am quite stoked whenever Germany calls. This time, I am behind the wheel of the new Audi Q4 e-tron; a Compact Executive electric SUV, that by size, sits somewhere between the Audi Q3 and Audi Q5.

On a soggy late Monday afternoon, we depart from the Munich International Airport, where Audi has their training centre. Just before getting the keys to our electric SUV, we had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the updated Audi A3 and Audi S3, so that we can deliver you our first driving impressions.

Audi had packed our itinerary to the brim over our short duration here, so we truly made the most of it. On our way up to Zwickau, there would be a planned stop for the night in Ingolstadt, Audi’s hometown. The next morning, we would have the opportunity to pay a visit to the Audi Forum, for Part 1 of the Audi’s special exhibition on Windschnittig – a showcase of streamlined vehicles from the past, up to the present day. As we are driving an electric vehicle, this exhibition is even more apt, since aerodynamics plays a big part in the efficiency of EVs.

Once we board the autobahn, I build speed to make sure that we reach Ingolstadt in time for dinner, as I hear that the Augustiner-Bräu Theresienhof is one of the best beer halls the city has to offer. Not letting my stomach wander too far, I return my focus to Audi’s compact electric SUV.

Soon, I reach the Q4 e-tron’s governed limit of 180km/h. As the needle ticks over a little, indicating a top-end of 184km/h, there is a sense that engineers at Audi have done good work in making the most of the group’s MEB architecture. The Q4 e-tron feels decently planted, especially given that the suspension has the tall order of delivering a comfortable ride, while still managing over 2,000kg of mass shifting around. While I would not say that it connects you with the road like some of its ICE SUV cousins, the Q4 delivers sufficient-enough feels for you to know where the wheels are pointed. More importantly, it is quite a comfortable car for long distance drives.

To my pleasant surprise, despite its weight, the Q4 holds its cornering line surprisingly well. I learnt this while exiting the autobahn too quickly at one point. However, I do wish that the brakes would have a little more bite.

It is dusk by the time we arrive at Ingolstadt. While we hadn’t spent a full day in the Q4 e-tron, we had only flown in that morning, and with both the A3 and S3 done and dusted, we covered quite literally a full day of driving by now.

After a hearty dinner of Schnitzel, Spätzle and of-course an Alkoholfrei Weißbier (because I am unable to drink the real thing), followed by a good night’s sleep at the Maritim Hotel; we head for the Audi Forum the next morning, to attend the our first installation of the Windschnittig exhibition.

So before I continue with the rest of my Q4 e-tron driving impressions, here are some of the cars at the exhibit that caught my attention at the Audi Forum.

After a quick lunch, and an equally quick browse through the museum shop, where I purchased my very own Parkscheibe (which was actually put into use later in our journey), we got back into the Q4, to continue to Zwickau. It is now my turn to ride shotgun, therefore I get to “play” with parts of the car, I had no real opportunity to, the day before.

Interior Motives

In the front, the Q4’s dashboard is designed to be driver-centric. The 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen is angled toward the driver’s side, and I am glad that they have retained physical buttons as controls for the air-conditioning. For the driver, there is a 10.25-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit instrument panel, which has a layout similar to what is found on the Q8 e-tron. What is new though, is its augmented reality head-up display (HUD), which proved to be a plus when navigating roads which were less familiar to us. The HUD provides a directional arrow overlay, which gives drivers a clearer overview on where they are meant to turn next.

Being built on a dedicated EV platform, you can tell that designers had greater flexibility in how they wanted the interior structured. For one, the Q4’s interior space is surprisingly generous, this is largely due to the unusually short bonnet (since it does not need to have much up-front). So while things do seem normal when you’re seated at the front, passengers at the rear still have way more room than we expect.

I feel that this is especially advantageous, for those who need to have a child seat installed; since there is more space to manoeuvre around, while buckling your child up. Other practical touches include easily accessible moulded bottle holders, located in the door cards, which also frees up space within the centre console.

At 520-litres, the Audi’s boot space is decently good too. With three people per car on this trip, there is sufficient space for fuller-sized luggage and a few carry-on. As a plus, the cargo area is double-floored, which adds to even more versatility.

Perhaps if I were to have one complaint about the interior – and this is if I were being fussy; it does feel slightly less premium than it should be. Perhaps even a little less than the Audi Q3.

Before Zwickau… a detour for some karts first

As we had some extra time on our hands, Audi organised a karting session for us in Chemnitz, a city 45-minutes East of Zwickau. Along the way, we park ourselves at a fast DC charging station, to add more range to the batteries.

The RWD Q4 45 we are driving, accepts a maximum charge of 135kW, while quattro models are able to handle 175kW. In the right conditions, we would be able to bring our car from 10 to 80-percent in slightly under half an hour.

The day’s weather report says that it would be 6-degrees celsius. Being a wet day, and with the addition of wind chill, temperatures feel closer to something like 4-degrees. Stubbornly, I’m still in a t-shirt and jeans, taking in the beautiful German Spring season. This would be the best time to treat myself to a bottle of chilled Spezi, while we wait for our cars to charge.

Back on the road, we head to POWERhall kart, where we let-loose and got competitive over a well-designed in-door rubberised track. Spinning out near the end of our session, and having Matty pass me, to take second after James, we left Chemnitz for Zwickau, where we would call it a night at the latter. The next day, we would pay a visit to the August Horch Museum, for the second part of the Windschnittig exhibition.

Here are some snaps of what the museum has to offer, and also some of the specially-curated exhibition.

As this is our final day in Germany, we need to head back to Munich to catch our flight. Our journey would involve two pre-planned charging stops, to ensure that the Q4 has safely enough juice to get us back.

As Zwickau is unfamiliar to us, the Q4’s augmented reality-assisted SatNav did come in handy, as it helped us to easily find the first charging station. I whipped out my souvenir parkscheibe, and set the time, and then had the Q4 plugged-in.

My travel partner, Shreejit covered this stage of our 2-hour drive from Zwickau to our next charging destination, which meant that I could catch some Zs. The Audi Charging Hub, located at Nuremberg would be our final stop before reaching Munich.

While we got our cars “juiced-up”, we were given a tour of the facility. This is actually my second visit. I was here around the same time a year earlier, with the Audi Q8 e-tron, when I was with our sister publication. This is where some of the batteries which power prototype cars get a chance at a second life, storing energy which would then go on to charge the cars. The charging hub is able to charge up to six cars at a go.

Once topped up, it was my turn to take to the wheel. As we pulled back onto the autobahn, in the direction of Munich, my last thoughts with the Q4 e-tron, are one where driving impressions show lots of promise. It holds its own, feeling right at home barreling down expansive stretches of Bavarian highway, as it is just as comfortable plying city streets.

Furthermore, I also think it checks a very important box, which I feel is something closer to home. So while just being slightly larger than the Audi Q3, the Q4’s superb packaging means that its interior space easily challenges cars a class above; this is while maintaining a footprint which is friendly to a country like ours, where space constraints are the norm.

Audi Q4 45 e-tron

DrivetrainFull electric
Electric Motor / LayoutSingle motor rear wheel drive
Motor Power / Torque286hp / 402Nm
Battery Type / CapacityLithium-ion, 77kWh
Standard Charge Time / Type8 hours / 11kW AC
Fast Charge Time / Type40 minutes 0 to 1000 percent / 135kW DC
Electric Range*455-544km
0-100km/h6.7 seconds
Top Speed180km/h
AgentPremium Automobiles
AvailabilityJune 2024
Verdict:The Audi Q4 e-tron proves that big space and good things can come in small packages


Audi Audi Q4 Audi Q4 e-tron electric EV First Drive germany review SUV test drive

About the Author

Clifford Chow

Lives to travel... there he goes again with his strange quirks, and ranting on about how diesels are underrated. Shifting Gears has to be One of the Top pleasures in life. IG:@thenewcarguy

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