Back in September 2021, I got to test VW ID.3. It took 2-3km of driving to realize that I’ll be getting EVs going forward. We already had solar power plant and we were already thinking of an EV, but never really got to test drive it. My wife was in a need of a new car; VW Polo was dated and with second kid on the way, we had to get something more secure and bigger for her.
As we were negotiating the price and discounts for ID.3, it became apparent that I should probably get one EV for myself. If we were to order two EVs it surely would be an even better deal. And it was. We went for VW ID.3 and Audi Q4 (Sportback). Same platform, Q4 with a bigger battery and more powerful engine. Delivery estimate for Q4 was December, while ID.3 was March. Price for those two was just a bit over what I had to pay for 2017 A6.
In December 2021 there was an opportunity to get an ID.4 with the same engine and battery as ID.3 that we put on order, but for even lower price. Sure, not in such a nice color, but with immediate delivery. It was a no brainier. We canceled the order for ID.3 and got ID.4 instead.
We ended up with both ID.4 and Q4 delivered in December 2021. These cars share the same platform, are of the same length and have tons of common parts. They are built in the same factory too. Therefore, as someone who has been driving these cars for 5 months, I thought it would be nice to write a review and maybe help someone who is thinking about getting these cars.
I guess this is individual and I do not want to say one is better than the other. I can say that I got to spec my Q4 the way I wanted, while with ID.4 we got what was available at the time. Some do not like the looks of the Audi’s fake grill, but I find it nice. What else would you put there?
I like that they are not screaming ‘I’m electric!!!!’ and that they blend with rest of the crowd. Both are nice to see on the road.
Winner: I prefer Q4’s looks, but YMMV.
OK, let’s get this one out of the way from start. Q4 has a bigger range, but that’s only because it also has the bigger battery. ID.4 with the same battery, which is available, would provide the same range.
So, what’s the range? It’s a difficult question. Range depends on a few things; outside temperature, temperature of the battery, driving style, etc… The main point is that range is more than enough for even serious relations. I drove Q4 900+km in each direction in February (Zagreb->Frankfurt->Zagreb) and it was a pleasant drive with 4 stops to recharge in each direction. Each stop was on average 20min, charging from ~10% to ~80% of battery’s capacity. The whole trip took 1 hour longer than it would’ve had with a diesel car. In a diesel car it would have took 9 hours, while it took 10 hours for me. ~10% longer trip at a much lower price.
Now, important to note is that in February my consumption was high. Being cold outside (around 0C), during that trip, car was consuming 25-30kWh/100km. [I’ll do another trip tomorrow, so I’ll update the motorway consumption in May]
More importantly consumption in the city, which is >90% of my mileage, in February was about 20-25kWh/100km. Now, in May, consumption is 15-20kWh. This means that with every day drive, I need to recharge my car once a week. We have a 11kw wall charger. If we haven’t had one, I would probably charge every other day on a 2-3kW socket.
My wife drives less than I do, so she ends up charging once a week too. We always let it drain to ~20% and then charge it to 80%. We charge it to 100% only for longer trips, when we want to reduce the amount and price of recharging.
So, range? Irrelevant. Seriously, is it 300km, 400km or 500km, I do not know. I just don’t know. I don’t care. I didn’t care when I had a diesel, and I don’t care now either. Do I have to stop more often on longer trips? Yes, but every recharge is 20min stop. 20min stop every 250-300km is not such a big deal. After all, on my trip to Frankfurt, my bladder stopped me more times than my battery 😉 But for every day commute, I can charge the car any time, anywhere, so I don’t really care about the range.
Still want a number? You are convinced it’s important and you don’t trust me? OK, here, calculate – 15kWh for 100km. Battery is 77kWh. 77 * 100/15 = 513km.
Oh, here’s a fun one… Right next to Zagreb there’s a park of nature, mountain Medvednica (or, we like to think of it as a mountain). We got up there with the ID.4 and we came down, and we lost 10kWh of energy in that process. For comparison, 1 liter of petrol has ~10kWh. It’s cool when you can recharge your car while driving 🙂
Winner: draw (same battery + same engine = same range)
When I was looking for a new car, I was sure… No, I was determined that I will not get an all-screen (and nothing but the screen) car. That’s one of the reasons why I took Q4. Another one was that I had an A6 before and I wanted Audi’s quality (more on that later). I was so happy that Q4 came with physical buttons for air conditioning. I was so happy.
What a fool I was…
Yes, it is easier to use physical buttons for controlling climate than to touch the screen. I totally agree. Now, maybe you are special, but I realized that I don’t change my A/C once I set it up. Regardless if it’s Q4 or ID.4, I set this once and don’t touch it for thousands of kilometers. It’s pretty stupid to make a purchase decision based on something you do once (same as 1000km range requirement some people have).
And sure, ID.4 does not have the most intuitive A/C system. But you set it once and you don’t touch it. Both have easily accessible seat heating and both have easily accessible window heating. Actually, that was behavioral change for me. During the winter, my car was always heated up and defrosted before I got in (both Q4 and ID.4). During the warm months, it welcomed me cooled and refreshing. A/C of both cars can be controlled by the mobile phone.
And this is where things start turning ugly for Audi… VW is soooo much better. I kid you not. Audi’s system is severely broken. It’s so broken that I’m thinking on never getting Audi again. Any company that releases this to public consumption should not be around for too long. I like how Q4 drives, but their software… Most of the time, Q4 is not connected to the mobile network and therefore can not be controlled by the phone. It’s even worse, because, for most of the time, car can’t get information about the chargers. On the other hand, ID.4, parked next to that Q4, is perfectly working all the time.
It gets worse. Audi released a car that requires you to log in to use all of the functionality, but does not allow you to log in. WTH? Every single time one gets into the car, they need to press ‘OK, I’m a guest’ button on screen. These cars have been on sale for a year. For a full year Audi has not fixed this and, judging by their behavior, has no intention on doing so.
Audi connect is total rubbish. Confusing, complicated, non-functional, ridiculous. It even has such bad translation where they translated English word ‘Decommission’ into what would in Croatian mean ‘Back’. I’ve accidentally managed to remove myself as the owner of the car because of this mistake. It was reported to Audi, but 4 months later that mistake is still there.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sitting in Q4, but these details, combined with some other things under ‘Quality’ section make me wonder – wth is Audi doing?
Oh, and I have I mentioned that Q4 cannot be upgraded over the air? Yes, one needs to take the car to the dealer to upgrade the OS. In 2022. To the dealer.
Meanwhile, ID.4 has OTA updates. That being said, upgrade from 2.3 to 2.4 needs to be done at the dealer because they also need to replace some parts of the car.
Winner: ID.4 by far.
Now, quality wise, there are two aspects. One is production quality and the other is quality of used materials. I haven’t spec’d the best materials in any of these cars, but it’s more than safe to say that Q4 wins here. That being said, it’s nowhere, and I repeat, nowhere near the quality of A6 from 2017. I would even go so far and say that Audi Q4 is not an Audi. It’s a little more luxurious Volkswagen. I miss my A6 interior, it was nice. This is OK. Then again, I have two small kids and maybe it’s better this way 🙂
As for production quality… My Q4 was delivered with scratches on two windows. These scratches were identical and must have come from either production or transport. It was also delivered with a loosely attached plastic under the bonnet. And I can’t stress this enough. I only opened the bonnet and that piece of plastic (~50x10cm) just fell from the bonnet. It was not attached. I have no idea how this managed to pass QA. I suspect they were in such a rush to deliver these cars that they are cutting corners on quality. Over time I also noticed that car’s interior is not properly assembled. I could take pictures, but trust me – none of this would be acceptable in typical Audi.
While I did not have this amount of quality issues in ID.4, it also had a bit of asymmetry in the interior 🙂
Message to Audi, VW and pretty much any other car producer: STOP WITH THE PIANO SUN REFLECTING AND FINGERPRINT COLLECTING PLASTICS!
Winner: draw. Yes, Audi, your quality is on pair with the VW. That’s not good news. Just because Tesla buyers are OK with bad assembly, it doesn’t mean all EV buyers are OK with that. This was Audi’s opportunity to win over Tesla, but they have failed.
Oh, and now we come to the “I will forgive anything just to have this” part.
Driving these cars is a joy. It takes a bit of adjustment to different approach to driving that comes with EVs, but once you adjust, there’s no way in hell you’d go back to ICE. None of these cars have one pedal driving and I like that. I like that I can take my foot of the ‘gas’ and it would start de-accelerating (and charge the battery) and eventually reach 3km/h and allow me to stop it with the break. It also means that, once I release the break, it will start creeping, allowing for a nice and gentle transition from a full stop to movement (or brutal movement ;). I’m yet to be convinced otherwise, but I think that engine can make this transition more gently than my foot. You will often hear people complaining for brutality of EVs. And that’s true. EVs have all the power available as soon as you touch the ‘gas’ pedal. It’s a bit of a skill to move EV from full stop to movement without jerking or making your passengers sick.
The Q4 has more powerful motor than ID.4, so it’s unfair to compare acceleration, but both are limited to 160km/h max speed. Oh, the acceleration… One thing I realized with EVs is that 0-62mph (0-100kmh) is such a flawed metric. It’s something we have been using for decades to classify ‘sportiness’ of a car, but it’s so flawed. My ID.4 needs more than 10s to reach 100km/h. A6 I had needed 8 seconds. However, I would always prefer ID.4 over that A6 for entering round abounds, overtaking, avoiding being rear ended, catching yell^H^H green light… EVs are so much more potent, full acceleration is available at any speed and at any time. Sure, catching 100km/h will be faster in that A6, but doing first 20m will be faster in ID.4. What do you do more often when driving?
0-100km/h is such an irrelevant and wrong number for EVs. Don’t look at those numbers. Anything with more than 150PS in an EV is enough for daily driving. Sure, if you want a sports car, get something quicker, but make sure first you won’t puke when starting. There’s absolutely no need for a daily EVs to do less than 8s to 100km/h.
Back to comparing Q4 and ID.4. Q4 is a bit stiffer, but that might be because it also has more powerful motor. ID.4 has a thicker steering wheel and I have to say I like that. It’s wheel controls are rubbish, but Q4’s are not any good either. I do not get or like the flatten top and bottom of Q4’s wheel. Why? What’s the point? I can’t say it made anything easier, but it does get in a way sometimes.
Power of these powertrains is something one can’t stop admiring. Both are rear wheel powered, and traction control ignites in almost every corner 🙂 Yes, I’m pushing them because they can jump from a stand still without blinking. It’s really something to experience. I love EVs 😀 OK, yeah, both have great breaks 🙂
Things that suck: line assist. Please, either do it properly or get out of the car industry. Bouncing car between the lanes is not OK. Bouncing me back into a pothole is not cool! Both Audi and VW are doing it wrong, and I have to admit that VW sucks little bit less here. The fact that Audi has a special button to turn it off makes me think that they know that they suck and therefore are giving you a way out of this madness. Rear camera on Audi – probably the cheapest one ever (don’t have one on VW).
But, to close on a positive side – both have cool semi-self-driving feature, where car keeps distance on its own, stops and goes on its own… It can make traffic jam a relaxing experience.
Oh, and the silence, the lack of vibration and, have I said this already?, immediate and full power whenever you need it… It’s beautiful. I would never go back to ICE.
My 3 year old kid loves both of them.
Winner: draw (difference is in details and can be up to preference)
Are they worth it?
Well, ID.4 is. It’s a great car. So is Q4, but it is not worth that money. Do not buy a Q4. If you are an Audi fan, Q4 will turn you to Mercedes or BMW. If you think you are buying an Audi by buying a Q4, you are not. In fact, in a Q4 you’ll find more VW than Audi logos. Even the floor carpets/rubber are the same!
If I was to do it again, I would either get a fully equipped ID.5 instead of Q4 or I would wait for 2023 Q6 or 2023 A6. Q4 could have been great, but Audi did not shift their mentality as VW did. VW makes electric cars, Audi is not so sure yet. Had Q4 been priced the same as ID.4, then OK. But 30% more? No, it’s not worth it.