The Audi Q8 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes

Audi Q8 E-tron Review

Read Caroline's Audi Q8 e-tron review for everything you need to know about buying Audi's flagship luxury electric SUV in Ireland.

The Audi Q8 e-tron has a little bit of history in the Irish market. Back in 2019, Audi brought the first e-tron SUV to Ireland. It was big news at the time because it was the brand's first ever electric model.

Since then the e-tron family has expanded to include the Audi Q4 e-tron and the e-tron GT.

Now Audi's flagship electric luxury SUV gets a little more naming distinction, having been renamed in 2023 as the Audi Q8 e-tron SUV.

It's a bit more than your average facelift though, with the battery packs now getting increased capacity and more range, higher charging speeds and even some updates to the suspension, steering and other technical parts.

A timely update as the Q8 e-tron faces stiff competition from newcomers like the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and the BMW iX. Positioned in the premium side of the market, the new Q8-etron goes on sale from an on the road price of €88,400.

Let's take a closer look!

The Audi Q8 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes
The Audi Q8 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The Audi Q8 e-tron has an impressive presence. It still carries much of the chiselled look of a traditional fuel-powered SUV and is very pleasing to the eye, particularly finished in a classic Audi paint finish like Daytona Grey. At the front, the Audi 'Singleframe' grille is now bigger than before and framed by slimmer, matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators. The Q8 e-tron also gets the brand's new logo with a flatter and more two-dimensional design.

There are three trim lines for Ireland: Advance, Sport and S Line. Alloy wheel sizes vary from 19- to 21-inch, which give the Q8 e-tron a sporty, performance stance. Audi Q8 e-tron is now written on the B pillar to add even more prestige. S Line models get sportier bumpers and other trim elements for a more dynamic look. At the back there is a full width light bar and a new Q8 badge. The Q8 e-tron definitely has kerb appeal and is probably the best-looking among rivals. Audi's more discreet approach to designing electric vehicles is certainly a success and should go down well among the customer base. The Q8 e-tron is also available as a Sportback with a sleeker coupé-like roofline towards the rear of the vehicle.

Interior

Not much has changed inside with just a few new cabin materials like open-pore wood. To be honest, it still looks great with plenty of cool digital tech on board. The cabin fit and finish is excellent with leather upholstery as standard. There is even an Audi Sport package that adds some lovely red stitching to the seats and steering wheel, and red trimmed seatbelts. The Audi virtual cockpit displays information to the driver perfectly. There is also the same 10-inch touchscreen as in the previous e-tron SUV with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, voice control and route planner for navigation and charging stops. A separate touch panel underneath controls ventilation. It looks great but is positioned quite far down making it a bit awkward to use while driving. However haptic feedback at least makes it satisfying enough to use.

Other equipment features include heated front seats with lumbar support and wireless smartphone charging.

The cabin of the Audi Q8 e-tron
The cabin of the Audi Q8 e-tron

Practicality

The Q8 e-tron SUV is a spacious and roomy family SUV. It's noticeably bigger inside than the more compact Audi Q4 e-tron. There's plenty of legroom and headroom in the second row, with a few USB-C ports for passengers, an armrest and air vents (there is the option to spec separate climate control for rear passengers). It offers one of the biggest boots in the class at 569 litres with handy underfloor storage and switches to let down the rear seats. There's also an additional 62 litres under the bonnet, which is handy for storing charging cables.

Battery

There are two battery options: the Q8 e-tron 50 with a 95kWh battery and up to 484 kilometres of range (WLTP) and the Q8 e-tron 55 with a 114kWh battery and up to 573 kilometres of range (WLTP), depending on model.

On test was the Q8 e-tron 50 S-Line with a range of up to 452 kilometres (WLTP). In real world driving my consumption over a week averaged at 28.4 kWh per 100 kilometres, with the range working out at closer to 310 kilometres on a full battery charge.

The Q8 e-tron has more range than before on a single charge
The Q8 e-tron has more range than before on a single charge

Driving

There is plenty of power on offer with even the Q8 e-tron 50 putting out 340hp and 540Nm of torque, with a 0-100km/h time of just 6 seconds. The e-tron 55 ups power to 408hp while the high performance SQ8 e-tron model has 503hp and can do the 0-100 sprint in just 4.5 seconds. Not bad for an SUV that weighs close to 2.5 tonnes!

On the road the Q8 e-tron offers high levels of comfort and refinement on standard fit air suspension with controlled damping. The electric all wheel drive system delivers plenty of grip and the ride height can be adjusted, with a maximum towing capacity of 1800kg. There are also several different driving modes via Audi Drive Select and regenerative braking that can be adjusted from paddles behind the steering wheel. It handles the road well, feeling smooth and controlled. Audi has made some tweaks to the steering to make it more direct and also adjusted the ESC to allow more leeway in cornering. It's not one that encourages you to drive quickly but it's still very capable. Improved aerodynamics, more efficient rear axle motors and changes to the battery cell chemistry and battery management system have increased the range of both the e-tron 50 and 55. It's certainly an improvement but efficiency is not the Q8 e-tron's strong point with quite high consumption seen during my winter test.

Charging

DC fast charging is up to 150kW for the e-tron 50 and up to 170kW for the e-tron 55, charging from 10-80% in around 28 mins for the 50 and 31 minutes for the 55. Audi says the charging curve now runs at a high level for a very long time, allowing for more rapid charging. 11kW AC charging comes as standard with the option to upgrade to 22kW.

The Q8 e-tron is a very spacious SUV
The Q8 e-tron is a very spacious SUV

Pricing

The Q8 e-tron 50 with a 95kWh battery is available from about €88,400 on the road and from about €98,900 for the Q8 e-tron 55 with a 114kWh battery. The Q8 e-tron 50 S-Line on test has an on the road price of €97,895. The high performance SQ8 is available from €123,000.

Verdict

The Audi Q8 e-tron gets a bit more than your average nip and tuck. Improvements to the batteries mean that buyers can now enjoy a bit more range between battery charges. The Q8 e-tron still feels competitive beside newcomers like the EQE SUV and is overall a really good all-rounder. It is hugely spacious inside, with an excellent cabin and typical Audi build quality. Efficiency is still not its strong point but large SUVs like this were never the most efficient vehicles on the road so nothing has really changed there in the switch to electric. Still if you're looking for a comfortable and prestigious electric SUV, this Audi Q8 e-tron is an even better buy than before.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The Audi Q8 e-tron can still be high on the shopping lists of luxury buyers
The Audi Q8 e-tron can still be high on the shopping lists of luxury buyers

The Audi Q4 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes!

Audi Q4 e-Tron 50 Quattro Review

Read Caroline's Audi Q4 e-tron review for everything you need to know about buying Audi's compact electric SUV in Ireland.

The Audi Q4 e-tron is Audi's first electric model in the compact segment and is a stylish addition to the range. Priced from €46,900 inclusive of grants, the Q4 occupies an increasingly crowded part of the market for premium electric SUVs like the Tesla Model Y, Volvo XC40 Recharge and BMW iX1.

But there's strength in those four rings. And the Audi Q4 comes with plenty of choice when it comes to battery size and range.

The Audi Q4 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes!
The Audi Q4 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Audi Q4?

The Audi Q4 is one of the best-looking electric SUVs you can buy. It has classic Audi styling with refined elegance and fashionable SUV looks that make it very desirable right now. A more coupé-like Sportback version is also available.

There are a range of trim levels - Advance, Sport and S Line. But as always it's the Q4 S Line that will draw the most admiring glances (from €52,490).

19-inch alloy wheels come as standard while S-Line models stand out with unique 20-inch wheels, sportier styling and S Line badging.

The Audi Q4 e-tron is available with three batteries offering varying levels of power and range. The entry into the range is the Q4 e-tron 35 with a 55kWh battery, 170hp and a range of up to 350 kilometres (WLTP), priced from €46,900.

Next up is the Q4 e-tron 40 with an 82kWh battery, 204hp and a range of up to 518 kilometres (WLTP), priced from €51,780.

On test was the top of the range Q4 e-tron 50 quattro S Line with the same 82kWh battery, 299hp and a range of up to 489 kilometres (WLTP), priced from €71,095.

Inside the new Audi Q4 e-tron
Inside the new Audi Q4 e-tron

Inside the Audi Q4

The Q4 has a typical Audi cabin with a minimalist design and lots of glossy digital tech on board. It feels classy and well-built.

Standard equipment includes heated front seats with lumbar support, cruise control, rear parking sensors, digital instrument cluster and a large touchscreen with smartphone connectivity.

S Line models get sports front seats and some nicer interior trims and ambient lighting. There's also a reversing camera and adaptive cruise control.

The Q4 does score well on interior space having been built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform shared with several other well-known models from the Volkswagen Group.

There's plenty of legroom and headroom in the back, while a flat floor stretches the width of the rear passenger space. The rear bench is also slightly raised to give passengers a better view of the road. Footwells are large with room for feet to be tucked in under the front seats.

A powered tailgate is also available, with a generous 520 litres of boot space. More than a Volvo XC40 Recharge and just a bit less than a BMW iX1.

Rear seating in the Audi Q4 e-tron
Rear seating in the Audi Q4 e-tron

Driving the Q4 e-tron

On the road the Q4 offers a smooth and stable drive for an electric SUV. It's reasonably agile and nifty on the road, though a BMW iX1 or Tesla Model Y are a little more fun to drive.

Still the Q4 offers excellent levels of refinement for cruising on motorways and it's comfortable too, offering a smooth and supple ride quality for an electric SUV.

S Line models have a sports suspension as standard, which does firm things up a bit but it still rides better than a Model Y.

The Q4 e-tron 50 is the most expensive of the range but it comes with extra grip from standard fit quattro all wheel drive. It's also the quickest of the range, accelerating from 0-100km/h in just 6.2 seconds.

It can be charged at home from a 7kW wallbox in 9-13 hours or using the public charging network. Up to 125 kW rapid charging is possible, taking about 38 minutes to charge from 5% to 80%.

The Q4 e-tron is a great choice of compact electric SUV
The Q4 e-tron is a great choice of compact electric SUV

Did you like it?

The Audi Q4 is a perfectly sized and styled premium SUV for a market that is ever more receptive to electric vehicles. The Q4 is so modern and quiet on the move that it definitely has appeal over a petrol or diesel powered SUV.

Things are moving quickly in the world of electric vehicles but the Q4's timeless Audi style and classy drive make it one of the most desirable of its generation.

Model tested: Q4 e-Tron 50 Quattro S-Line
Price: 
€71,095 
Battery:
  82kWh
Range: 489 km (WLTP)
Power: 295hp
Top speed: 180 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.2 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The new Audi Q4 e-tron!
The Audi Q4 e-tron is available now

The Audi Q3 Sportback on test for Changing Lanes!

Audi Q3 Sportback Review

Read Caroline's Audi Q3 Sportback plug-in hybrid review for everything you need to know about Audi's new hybrid SUV in Ireland.

Audi is rapidly moving towards an electric future with the addition of new battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to the German brand's range of cars and SUVs.

The Q family was always the home of Audi's SUVs and now plug-in hybrid joins the Q3 range.

The Audi Q3 is a mid-size SUV that's also available as an even more stylish Q3 Sportback with a sloping coupé-like roof line and distinct rear styling compared to the standard Q3.

In this review we're going to take a closer look at the Audi Q3 Sportback, now available as a plug-in hybrid priced from €51,365.

The Audi Q3 Sportback on test for Changing Lanes!
The Audi Q3 Sportback on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Audi Q3 Sportback?

If you're looking for a classy and stylish SUV, look no further than the Audi Q3 Sportback. It slips into the Audi range above the Audi Q2 and is a premium compact family SUV capable of carrying five people.

At the front, the Q3 Sportback has a big, wide Audi grille that really sets the tone for a fashionable SUV. The Sportback certainly offers a more unique and prestigious design compared to the standard Q3, though you will pay a small premium for it.

It has the same height but the side profile shows off this car's coupé aspirations. The roof slopes elegantly to the rear of the car and around the back, there is a distinct rear end that you will never tire of looking at!

It's a classy car and is available in two trim levels in Ireland, which slightly alter the look of the vehicle. SE models come with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, roof rails and roof spoiler.

S Line models are sportier to look at with 19-inch alloy wheels and special S Line bumpers.

The interior of the Audi Q3 Sportback
The interior of the Audi Q3 Sportback

Inside there is a classic Audi cabin that is modern and elegant.

Audi sells the Q3 Sportback with a range of engine options. Choose from a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine (150hp), a 2.0-litre diesel (150hp) or the new 1.4-litre petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (245hp). The plug-in hybrid is one of the most powerful of the range. A battery on board means that it can be plugged in, charged, and driven electric for a range of up to 51 kilometres.

Inside the Q3 Sportback

The Q3 has a modern Audi interior that is packed full of digital features. It's a classy cabin with a solid build and upmarket finish that you would expect from a car at this price point.

There's a full digital driver display with crisp graphics and the centre of the dashboard houses a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's lot of gloss black and high quality trim elements. Other standard features include cruise control, dual-zone climate control and lane departure warning.

S Line models have a slightly more sporty cabin ambience with front sports seats, stainless steel pedals, black headliner, S Line badged steering wheel and ambient lighting.

Audi has added a new plug-in hybrid to the popular Q3 range
Audi has added a new plug-in hybrid to the popular Q3 range

The wheelbase is the same as in the standard Q3 so interior space is just about the same. The rear is more suited to two rather than three. Then passengers can enjoy two large footwells. The large transmission tunnel in the middle puts legroom at a premium for a middle seat passenger.The sloping roofline does mean there is a bit less headroom in the Q3 Sportback.

Boot space is also compromised somewhat in the Q3 TFSI e by the hybrid powertrain. At 380 litres that's more akin to the average family hatchback, which may be enough depending on your needs. And we just love the powered tailgate!

Driving the Audi Q3 Sportback Hybrid

The Audi Q3 Sportback TFSI e uses a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, 13kWh battery and electric motor. The total power output is a healthy 245hp making the plug-in hybrid Q3 the most powerful of the range (other than the bonkers 400hp RS Q3!).

There's 400 Nm of torque and the Q3 Sportback will sprint to 100km/h in  7.3 seconds. An automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels.

On the road the Q3 Sportback hybrid feels smooth and agile with plenty of power available under your right foot. It's not the most fun to drive of these mid-size SUVs but does offer a relaxed and refined drive.

The S Line model on test rides on large wheels and a sports suspension and it's fair to say it's not the most comfortable configuration for the Q3 and you will feel some of the road surface beneath you.

Rear seating in the Q3 Sportback
Rear seating in the Q3 Sportback

Power is plentiful but you buy a plug-in hybrid for its ability to be more efficient and save you money on your fuel bills. So does the Audi Q3 Sportback TFSI e deliver?

Being a plug-in hybrid means you can plug this car in and charge the battery in a few hours. Electric driving can be prioritised from an EV mode button in the cabin. Otherwise this car will operate as a hybrid.

Certainly it's most efficient when the battery is charged. There is a limited range of up to about 50 km in the EV mode but that is best reserved for low speed driving around town. Without much charging, my average fuel consumption over a week of driving was 6.7 litres per 100 km.

Did you like it?

The Audi Q3 Sportback becomes an electrified Q model with the addition of a new plug-in hybrid. It gives buyers more options but the old caveat remains: plug-in hybrids are at their best in urban driving where you can make use of the electric driving range. Plugging in and charging should be mandatory to get the best from a car like this.

Otherwise the Q3 Sportback TFSI e offers plenty of power and performance in a stylish SUV-coupé package. This is a car you buy because you love the way it looks. The Sportback loses some practicality to the standard Q3, but not much, and makes up for it with gorgeous, sleek styling.

The Q3 is one of Audi's bestselling models in Ireland. It's not the most exciting car to drive but the classy cabin and power of the Audi badge still make it a highly desirable SUV. Now with a plug.

Gorgeous coupé crossover looks for the Audi Q3 Sportback
Gorgeous coupé-crossover looks for the Audi Q3 Sportback

Model tested: Audi Q3 Sportback TFSI e S Line
Price: 
€53,910
Engine:
1.4-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid
Power: 245hp
Torque: 400Nm
Top speed: 210km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.3 seconds
Motor Tax: €140 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new Audi Q2 by Paddy McGrath

Audi Q2 Review

Read Caroline's Audi Q2 review for everything you need to know about Audi's compact SUV in Ireland.

The Audi Q2 is the entry into Audi's Q range of SUVs. Launched for the very first time in 2016, the Audi Q2 ticks the box for desirability among the raft of compact crossovers that have hit the market over the last few years.

But the Audi Q2 faces competition from the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the BMW X1 in the premium compact SUV space. So in 2021, the Q2 received a facelift to keep it fresh and competitive in its segment.

The new Audi Q2 by Paddy McGrath
The new Audi Q2 by Paddy McGrath

What's new for the Audi Q2?

The Q2 combines typical Audi design cues in a smart and compact package. This car still looks so good, with a tough, boxy design that has only been slightly updated in terms of some of the trim elements and bumper design front and rear. The octagonal Singleframe grille is slightly lower than before, making the front section appear wider. The Q2 still looks modern and of course unmistakably Audi.

There are also five new colours for this model update, including Apple green, Manhattan grey, Navarra blue, Arrow gray, and Turbo blue.

Priced from €34,740, there are two trim levels available for the 2022 Audi Q2 - SE and S Line.

Even SE line models look smart with 17" alloys and a C-pillar blade finished in metallic Manhattan grey, contrasting with the body work. LED headlights come as standard, as does a rear spoiler.

The new Q2 goes on sale priced from €34,740
The new Q2 goes on sale priced from €34,740

Inside the Q2

Inside is a reminder why Audi is one of the best in the business for car interiors. Though the Q2 is now one of the 'older' models in the Audi range, it is still a cabin you will want to stay in. The layout is clear and logical, with a superb driving position and beautiful finish to the controls and switches. The hard plastics in the door panels seem a bit mean for a premium vehicle, but that's the only part we can find fault with. The steering wheel feels great in the hands.

Multimedia is housed in an upright screen, familiar from previous generation Audis. While it's not their latest digital set-up, it still fits well in the cabin of the Q2 and is compatible with smartphones and has a 7" colour display. The virtual cockpit is available as an option for a full digital display for the driver.

The Audi Q2 is a compact vehicle. There is seating for five but two will be most comfortable in the rear and the footwells are quite small. The luggage compartment holds 405 litres, which is a good size for this class of vehicle.

S Line models command a more serious list price for the Q2, priced from €39,905. There are sportier 18" alloy wheels, sports bumpers and the C-pillar blade comes in Selenite silver.

Inside there are front sports seats, sports steering wheel, leather/fabric seat trim, LED interior lighting, and aluminium interior elements plus a black headliner for a sportier ambience. S Line models also add Audi Drive Select and a sports suspension.

The interior of the 2022 Audi Q2
The interior of the 2022 Audi Q2

Driving the Audi A2

Audi offers a choice of petrol and diesel models for the Q2, ranging in capacity and power. But it's the 1.0-litre '30 TFSI' petrol Q2 with a 6-speed manual gearbox that is the subject of this review. It forms a nice competitive entry into the range, though more powerful petrol models with 150 hp and an automatic gearbox are available (the '35 TFSI').

There's also the 30 TDI diesel with 116 hp.

The Audi Q2 has been designed as a sporty compact SUV. Progressive steering comes as standard, which becomes more and more direct the further the driver turns the steering wheel.

The Q2 is simply glorious to drive, even in 1.0-litre, 6-speed manual versions. The 110 hp engine provides zippy petrol performance and matches the car's character very well. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.0 litres per 100 km, which is on point for this type of vehicle.

The steering is well-weighted and this car is agile and fun to drive. It's also very refined and comfortable on the standard SE suspension, whether on long motorway journeys or in town.

The Q2 is smart and fun to drive
The Q2 is smart and fun to drive

Did you like it?

In a market where nearly every new car has some 'electrified' element, the updated Q2 seems almost old-fashioned now with it 1.0-litre petrol engine and 6-speed manual gearbox!

But it was a sheer delight to drive, a reminder how at least in small cars and SUVs, this is a combination that still works.

The Q2 is a premium vehicle so it is expensive. But it is highly desirable for its design and badge among crossovers.

And the car is good so it feels worth it. It's also polished behind the wheel. The Q2 does not have a latest generation Audi interior but there was hardly much wrong with the last. The quality and functionality still make it an excellent buy.

The SE model may be 'entry level' but don't let that put you off. It's well equipped, looks smart, and is comfortable on the road. The 1.0-litre petrol engine also works well here, providing adequate performance and economy.

A lovely car.

The Q2 is available with petrol and diesel engines
The Q2 is available with petrol and diesel engines

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi Q2 SE 30 TFSI
Price:
€34,740
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol 
Power:
110 hp
Torque:  200 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.2 seconds
Top speed:  225 km/h
CO2 emissions:
131 - 146 g/km
Motor tax: 
€210 per year


In this review we test the Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series: Which Is Better?

In this review we test the Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series
In this review we test the Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series: Which is better?

Thinking of buying a new mid size executive saloon in Ireland in 2022? In this Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series comparison review, we are going to take a closer look at two titans of the executive car park – the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series. In 2019, BMW released an all new generation of the 3 Series, while in late 2019, a revised Audi A4 range hit dealer showrooms in Ireland.

The G20 BMW 3 Series sports a gentle evolution in styling of a very familiar silhouette. It’s the classic German 3-box saloon. Proportions have been revised, styling modernised more in line with the 5 Series from a class above. But the hallmarks of the 3 Series remain – the strong BMW kidney grille at the front and a road hugging sporty stance teasing the class-leading handling ability the BMW 3 Series will always be inextricably linked to.

In the Audi corner, the A4 does a fine job of commanding the executive car park. Timeless design, clean lines and elegant detailing are what make buyers fall in love with the Audi A4 quicker than you can say ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’. The 2019 facelift enhanced what was already a smart, contemporary design of a premium saloon car.

The interior of the latest 2020 Audi A4
The interior of the latest 2020 Audi A4

LED headlights are standard on both the A4 and the 3 Series ranges. Trim levels give a classic look or a sporty one in both the 3 Series and A4 ranges. This reviewer prefers the sporty look bestowed by BMW’s M Sport trim or Audi’s S line. Larger alloy wheels, meaner body kits and other exotic details make these models a little bit special (and more expensive).

So which car has the best interior?

The latest generation BMW 3 Series has a new interior that has been delightfully modernised with the latest technology features and infotainment. The material quality is excellent with beautiful leather upholstery available as standard on higher spec M Sport models. We loved the sporty M Sport steering wheel and new digital instrument panel, the latter which comes as standard across the range. SE and Sport models get a new 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, while M Sport gets the larger 10.25-inch with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, gesture and voice control. You can also control using the iDrive controller on the centre console.

In the cabin of the Audi A4, you can have a similar digital and techy experience. The cabin design is even better in the Audi A4. Though this car debuted in 2015, it still looks really elegant and contemporary inside. The 2019 update has made the A4 even better again with the latest 10.1-inch high resolution MMI touch display tilted slightly towards the driver. This set up comes as standard and keeps the Audi A4 at the races. A digital instrument panel is an extra however.

The 2020 Audi A4 S line
The 2020 Audi A4 S line

How practical are they?

The 3 Series has a longer wheelbase than the car it replaces and cabin comfort has been improved for passengers. There is still quite an intrusive transmission tunnel in the middle but overall there is more shoulder room in the front and extra legroom in the back. BMW has also increased the height of the door opening so getting in and out of the car is easier for rear passengers. There is not much between these two cars in that they will fit four adults comfortably. The boot volume is the same in both the A4 and the 3 Series - 480 litres. Both cars are available as more practical estate cars – the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring.

Engine options

In Ireland the new BMW 3 Series is sold with petrol and diesel engines, and there is also a new BMW 330e plug-in hybrid. On the petrol side there is a 2.0-litre petrol badged 318i, 320i or 330i depending on horsepower; there are also 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre diesels (badged 318d, 320d, 330d). There's also a top end 340i and 340d models, which also feature BMW ‘xdrive’ four wheel drive. My pick is the popular BMW 320d with 2.0-litre diesel engine and 190 hp for a mixture of power, refinement and economy. 8-speed automatics and 6-speed manual gearboxes are available. However the 330e hybrid is another good choice in the range.

The interior of the 2020 BMW 3 Series
The interior of the 2020 BMW 3 Series

The Audi A4 is also available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, however at this time there is no A4 plug-in hybrid to match the popular BMW 330e. Power comes from a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 150 or 190 hp, or a 2.0-litre diesel with 136, 163 or 190 hp. A 6-speed manual gearbox or S tronic automatic are also available. Audi’s quattro four wheel drive is available on the 2.0-litre 190hp diesel. The 2.0-litre diesel with 163hp is a popular choice in this large executive car segment and very economical.

Why not try these for a test drive?

Audi A4 35 TDI 163hp S tronic S Line. Fuel consumption quoted at 5.4-5.7 litres/100km.

BMW 320d 190hp M Sport. Fuel consumption quoted at 4.4-4.7 litres/100km.

Driving them

On the road both the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series offer premium levels of comfort and refinement. They slice through the air seamlessly and silently. The Audi A4 seems just that little better in this regard with refinement and comfort being key pillars of this model. But that’s not to say that the BMW 3 Series is bad in this particular area. However the BMW 3 Series is a lot more fun and engaging to drive than the Audi A4, even as a basic four pot diesel. The steering is sporty and tactile, the grip and poise sensational. It’s the one that never ceases to entertain.

We'll always love a drive in the BMW 3 Series
We'll always love a drive in the BMW 3 Series

Equipment

For the most up to date pricing for the Irish market, please check the manufacturer's website!

The BMW 3 Series comes in three trims SE, Sport and M Sport. The entry level SE model has 17″ alloys, LED headlights, BMW Light Carpet, interior ambient lighting, reversing camera, electric folding rear view mirrors, three-zone air conditioning and enhanced acoustic glazing. There’s also a leather sport steering wheel and BMW Live Cockpit plus, with 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.

The Audi A4 comes in SE or S Line trim. Standard equipment includes heated, electrically adjustable front seats, tri zone climate control, the 10.1-inch colour display, smartphone interface, 18“ alloys, LED headlights and rear lamps, rear view camera, Audi Drive Select, keyless go, front and rear parking sensors, and cruise control.

The Audi A4 shines for its refinement and elegance
The Audi A4 shines for its refinement and elegance

So which are you buying?

This is a very tough call. When you are buying a car at this level of the market, a few things are guaranteed: prestige, refinement, comfort and quality. The Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series deliver on these fronts. Under the skin, the BMW is the newer car here, however the Audi A4 2019 facelift means that you would be hard pressed to know it. The Audi A4 steals the show in terms of interior design and technology. It just is a nicer cabin to spend time in. However, beside the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4 is fine but dull to drive. The 3 Series is really good to drive, engaging, athletic and supple. The Audi A4 is a classy, plush ride. So which will it be?

In light of our summation above, you won’t regret buying either car. But for this reviewer who loves driving, my money would be on the BMW 3 Series.

Caroline Kidd


The new Audi Q4 e-tron is now on sale in Ireland

Audi Q4 e-tron Review (2022)

The new Audi Q4 e-tron is now on sale in Ireland
The new Audi Q4 e-tron is now on sale in Ireland

The Audi Q4 e-tron, the brand's first compact electric SUV, has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale now priced from €41,465 on the road, including grants and VRT relief. Caroline was at the press launch in Dublin to find out more about the new Q4 e-tron and bring it for a first drive on Irish roads.

Audi's range of electric vehicles is growing in the right direction, which is into the sweet spot of the market. Following the launch of the Audi e-tron electric SUV series and the high performance Audi e-tron GT, the new Audi Q4 e-tron brings a full Audi battery electric vehicle to the mid-size SUV segment. The new Audi Q4 e-tron comes to market in Ireland with two battery capacities offering varying levels of power and range - the Audi Q4 e-tron 35 and the Audi Q4 e-tron 40.

Audi Ireland has confirmed that the Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback - designed with sportier, coupé-like styling - will arrive later in 2021, with pricing and specifications to be confirmed closer to launch. We can also expect a quattro all wheel drive model.

Styling

This new electric SUV from Audi stands out for its premium design features and prestigious presence bestowed upon it through alignment with Audi's e-tron electrified brand. It looks fantastic in the metal, a scaled down version of the larger Audi e-tron SUV, but more friendly and compact. The wheels are pushed forwards to the front of the car giving it a strong, unique look with short overhangs. The Audi Singleframe grille is closed, distinctly Audi - but electrified. The single bar light strip the width of the tailgate is another design connection to the flagship e-tron SUV. There's a range of trendy colour options including the gloriously chic Pebble Grey.

Interior

Inside there is plenty of familiar Audi switchgear. A new steering wheel design takes centre stage, backed by a full digital instrument panel. To the driver's left, the infotainment screen tilts towards you offering a range of connectivity and services to accompany you on the move. A floating centre console reveals a neat storage cubby underneath. It all feels very family friendly in here but with a very slick, high quality finish.

Inside the new Audi Q4 e-tron
Inside the new Audi Q4 e-tron

Practicality

The electric vehicle platform has been designed to maximise interior space for occupants. A flat transmission tunnel yields a flat floor in the rear. The rear bench offers good width and is slightly raised, to give occupants a good view of the road. Footwells are large with room for feet to be tucked in under the front seats. A powered tailgate is available, opening to reveal a good size boot (up to 520 litres), ideal for a family car.

Battery, performance and range

Models at launch are rear wheel drive. The entry level Q4 e-tron 35 uses a 55 kWh battery and produces 170 hp. It has a WLTP combined range of up to 335 km on a single charge. The Audi Q4 e-tron 40 uses a 82 kWh battery with 204 hp and is capable of returning up to 511 km on a single charge (WLTP).

Driving it

The high-voltage battery of the Q4 e-tron and the Q4 e-tron Sportback lies between the axles, which ensures a low center of gravity and a balanced distribution of weight. The car feels agile despite its considerable weight and changes direction very well. It's not a sporty handler but performs similarly to any of its similar SUV cousins. The cabin is well insulated, it's premium and predictable. While it wasn't a complete test of range, we did notice how the Q4 e-tron seemed to gain kilmometres of range, rather than use them over our 1 hour test drive! Regenerative braking can be set to three different levels.

The Q4 e-tron is offered here with two different battery capacities
The Q4 e-tron is offered here with two different battery capacities

Charging 

The Audi Q4 e-tron can be charged at home from a wallbox (takes 9-13 hours with 7.2 kW wallbox, depending on model) or using the public charging network. 110 kW and 125 kW rapid charging is available depending on model, the latter which takes just 38 minutes to charge from 5% to 80%.

Pricing

Priced from €41,465 inclusive of grants, rebates and delivery for the Q4 e-tron 35 with a range up to 335 km. The Audi Q4 e-tron 40 is priced from €51,850 with a range up to 511 km.

Equipment

The new Audi Q4 e-tron is offered in three trim lines: Advance, Sport and S line. Standard equipment includes 19" alloys, LED headlights, roof rails, heated seats, Audi drive select, rear parking sensors, MMI, Audi Smartphone interface and cruise control.

Sport models add adaptive cruise control, rear parking camera, and some cosmetic update inside and out. It's expected to make up the bulk of sales.

S line models add 20" wheels, S line styling and interior, ambient lighting, sports suspension and sports seats.

Rear seating in the Audi Q4 e-tronRear seating in the Audi Q4 e-tron

Summary

Audi is stepping up a gear with the launch of the new Audi Q4 e-tron all-electric, midsize SUV. Pricing is on point for the premium SUV segment - indeed premium car buyers in general - yet offering an electric powertrain with a very competitive range for today's market.

This is a generously sized SUV inside, yet compact and sleek on the outside.

The fit and finish of the vehicle is beautiful with a fantastic design and alignment with the prestige of the other e-tron models in the Audi electrified range.

Things are getting very interesting indeed in the mid-size premium SUV segment. We look forward to bringing you a more detailed review of the new Audi Q4 e-tron later in the year!

Caroline Kidd

 

The Audi Q4 e-tron on sale from €41,465
The Audi Q4 e-tron on sale from €41,465

The new Audi Q4 e-tron!

Audi Q4 e-tron On Way To Ireland

The new Audi Q4 e-tron!
The new Audi Q4 e-tron!

Audi Ireland has confirmed the new Audi Q4 e-tron and the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron will arrive in Ireland in June. Pricing will start from €41,465 including grants, VRT relief and delivery.

The new all-electric SUVs from the German brand will enhance the brand's electric offering, which already includes the Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron GT, as well as a growing range of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Audi descrive the new Q4 e-tron as a "true all-rounder". The highest performance battery delivers up to 220 kW of power and is capable of sprinting from 0 – 100 km/h in under 6.3 seconds. Range varies from 330 – 511 kilometres on a full charge depending on model.

The Q4 e-tron 40 and Q4 e-tron 50 quattro can avail of 125 kW charging, which takes just 38 minutes to charge from 5% to 80%.

These new models take a step forward in the brand's design language of its electric models, including short front overhangs and large wheels. The Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron sports an especially low coupé-style roofline.

The Q4 e-tron achieves a drag coefficient of 0.28, and the Sportback has an even lower figure of 0.26.

According to Audi, the available space in the interior is comparable with the full-size SUV class, with no centre tunnel making it more spacious. The platform is designed from the start as electric-only allowing for the best use of space available.

The new Audi Q4 e-tron will arrive in Ireland this summer
The new Audi Q4 e-tron will arrive in Ireland this summer

The new Audi e-tron GT on test for Changing Lanes!

Audi e-tron GT Review

The new Audi e-tron GT on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Audi e-tron GT on test for Changing Lanes!

The new Audi e-tron GT has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale priced from €102,397. A halo model for the Audi brand, the e-tron GT is a high-performance sports coupé that embodies all Audi’s values – electrified. That’s right, the Audi e-tron GT is battery powered but with mind-warping performance statistics. And as Changing Lanes was about to find out, there are even more surprises when the Audi e-tron GT hits the roads for the first time. Read on for Caroline’s first drive Audi e-tron GT review from the Irish launch of this revolutionary new model!

Styling

This car is gorgeous. Marc Lichte, Head of Audi Design, says the e-tron GT is “the most beautiful car that I have ever designed." We can believe it. The e-tron GT wears its proportions beautifully with sporty elegance and a futuristic closed grille at the front. There are hints of the R8 and TT to it but in fact the e-tron GT combines all the best hallmarks of Audi design but with an ultra-modern, futuristic twist. Electric cars just got very sexy. The body is extremely aerodynamic, and the drag coefficient is just 0.24. Wide and visually imposing, the Audi e-tron GT will make you rethink everything you ever thought you wanted in life!

Interior

Inside the cabin is unmistakably Audi with excellent material quality, glossy finishes and cool but straightforward digital technology. It all feels so normal inside, but so very classy. We like that the interior will be familiar to anyone who already drives one of the latest Audi cars, in terms of the style and how you interact with the controls. You sit in a low and sporty position behind the steering wheel. Frameless windows make you feel a million euros every time you open the door of your new e-tron GT.

The seats are upholstered either with a combination of artificial leather and Kaskade material or with a mixture of artificial leather and the microfibre material Dinamica. Recycled materials are used in both cases, for example polyester fibres that were made from old plastic bottles and textiles.

The new Audi e-tron GT is gorgeous from every angle!
The new Audi e-tron GT is gorgeous from every angle!

Practicality

The e-tron GT is a high-performance sports coupé but with four doors and seating for five. The two rear footwells are a good size but it’s far from limo-like. The boot opens to reveal a respectable 405 litres while there is an additional 85 litres of storage space under the bonnet!

Battery

The new high-voltage battery has a capacity of 86 kWh (net), which gives a range of 479 km (WLTP). It’s a truly powerful car with 469 bhp and 630 Nm of torque. It can hit 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds going on to a top speed of 245 km/h.

Charging

800-volt technology enables fast DC charging with an output of up to 270 kW – including just five minutes for a distance of approximately 100 km and roughly 22.5 minutes to bring the battery from 5% back up to 80%. At the moment, you can enjoy this rapid charging at IONITY charging stations. There is also an 11 kW onboard charger.

The interior of the 2021 Audi e-tron GT
The interior of the 2021 Audi e-tron GT

Driving it

This is a magnificent machine. This car weighs over 2 tonnes but handles the road like a true professional. Quattro with e-torque vectoring comes as standard ensuring power is distributed intelligently to the individual wheels. When sufficient traction is available, it sends power primarily to the front axle. The suspension has been designed for a balance of dynamism and comfort, thanks to technologies such as Audi drive select, controlled damping and the rear-axle differential lock.

We had to push on in the e-tron GT to really see what this car was capable of. In fact it’s a very exciting car to drive, and you can really feel this car’s high performance DNA. Audi set out to create a sports coupé and that’s what they have done. Yet electrified. A characteristic that adds even more drama and performance to the e-tron GT.

Hop on that accelerator and the e-tron GT is capable of mind-warping acceleration - just 4.1 seconds to take you to 100km/h. All accompanied by a cleverly designed sound that is fed through the speakers to enhance your driving experience. In fact, the sound is intuitive and coalesces nicely with what your right foot is doing on the accelerator. The Audi e-tron GT 'e-sound' won’t make the ground shake when it takes off at the traffic lights, but this is entertaining.

There is a deftness and lightness to the steering allowing ultra precise movements of the car. It's also super responsive to the pedal. Designed as a ‘Gran Turismo’, cruising comfort is good with adaptive air suspension available as an option.

A wonderful car that will make you recalculate everything you thought about what a performance car should be.

The new Audi e-tron GT goes on sale in Ireland from €102,397
The new Audi e-tron GT goes on sale in Ireland from €102,397

Equipment

Standard equipment on the new Audi e-tron GT includes 19” alloy wheels, panoramic glass sunroof, smartphone interface, navigation, front and rear parking sensors, synthetic leather upholstery, electric, heated front sports seats, lane departure warning and tri zone climate control.

Customers can manage pre-entry climate control of the interior and charging via their smartphones using the myAudi app.

Pricing

The new Audi e-tron GT retails from €102,397 in Ireland.

Rivals

The new Audi e-tron GT’s rivals include the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model S.

WATCH A VIDEO! Caroline driving the new e-tron GT on Irish roads for the first time:

Anything else?

The super high performance Audi RS e-tron GT is also hitting the Irish market now. Designed in the spirit of Audi’s classic RS models, it uses the same 88 kWh battery as the e-tron GT but with more power and torque. There is also more aggressive body styling, accessories and adaptive air suspension. Power output is a colossal 590 bhp while torque is rated at 830 Nm! The Audi RS e-tron GT can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds. It retails from €140,367.

The Audi e-tron GT is the brand’s first fully electric car to be built in Germany. The new e-tron GT is built at Audi Böllinger Höfe at the Neckarsulm site in Germany on the same production line as the R8! The small-series production facility has been expanded, upgraded, and converted for its new role. The company is using customised digital processes and smart technologies but the finishing touches to each car are applied by highly skilled hands.

The e-tron GT has a range in excess of 400 km and incredible performance on the road
The e-tron GT has a range in excess of 400 km and incredible performance on the road

Summary

The new Audi e-tron GT epitomises the values of the Audi brand – electrified. The e-tron GT is a halo car for the brand and you will pay well for it. But considering the design and engineering that has gone into creating such a powerful car with real grace and elegance on the road, it’s not as outlandish as what you might expect.

Behind the wheel I was not thinking about range at all. The e-tron GT moves the conversation along. Let’s just talk cars. I was just enjoying the performance as the high voltage battery handles the rest.

With 270 kW charging, the e-tron GT is future proofed for the forseeable. The real challenge is that you can only avail of this rapid charging technology at a few stations around the county at the moment. But living with an electric vehicle is a lot easier than what it once was. We’d like to live with the e-tron GT a little more to fully test its range and capabilities!

The Audi e-tron GT is a car to aspire to. Created by visionary minds and talented technical hands. Vorsprung durch Technik at its finest.

The Audi e-tron GT is a super desirable halo car for the Audi brand
The Audi e-tron GT is a super desirable halo car for the Audi brand

Caroline Kidd


The new Audi A1 citycarver on test for Changing Lanes!

Audi A1 Citycarver Review

The new Audi A1 citycarver on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Audi A1 citycarver on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the new Audi A1 citycarver.

In 2019, Audi launched a new generation of the A1 city car. At Changing Lanes, we really like the A1 for its new angular, sporty styling, nifty driving dynamics and one of the best interiors in the small car class, dripping with the latest Audi technology features. While this is a premium small car bearing a premium car price, we couldn’t see anyone being disappointed with the overall Audi A1 experience.

For the first time Audi has now added the new Audi A1 citycarver derivative to the A1 range. Described as ideal for navigating the urban jungle, the citycarver is inspired by trends for crossovers. So Audi has raised the ride height of their diminutive city car, and thrown some more outdoors apparel at it.

What's so special about the new Audi A1 citycarver?

There's four centimetres more ground clearance which gives the A1 citycarver more presence, along with classic Audi Singleframe grille with honeycomb pattern. Two characteristic slots above the grille differentiate it from the A1 Sportback. Wheel arch enhancements, redesigned sills in a contrasting colour, unique bumpers, 17” alloys, and different interior seat fabric also give it a more unique look. At the rear, a new look bumper echoes the robust look of the front end. A contrast roof is also included.

When you meet the Audi A1 citycarver for the first time, you might be hard pressed to see the changes but the extra ride height is probably most notable. I love the A1’s angular charm anyway and cool slotted bonnet. Under the skin, there's also a modified suspension.

The A1 citycarver is inspired by crossovers with more ride height and rugged styling
The A1 citycarver is inspired by crossovers with more ride height and rugged styling

Inside the new A1 citycarver

Inside, the Audi A1 citycarver has the same high quality cabin as the rest of the A1 range. I’m not shy to say it’s one of the best cabin experiences of any small car. It’s cool, grown up and sophisticated, taking features from larger Audis, like the 8.8” MMI infotainment screen and digital instrument panel with optional virtual cockpit. The instrument panel is tilted toward the driver. Aside from hard plastics in the door panels, the dashboard materials and switches look and feel good with lots of cool glossy black.

Aside from the digital tech, other features include LED headlights with dynamic rear turn signals, air conditioning, cruise control, Audi pre-sense front and lane departure warning

Inside it’s a nicely sized compact car with generous footwells in the rear and a 335 litre boot. Practical as it gets for a small car too. The luggage compartment package, features a net and is a handy feature for everyday life in the city!

The interior of the new Audi A1 citycarver
The interior of the new Audi A1 citycarver

Driving the Audi A1 citycarver

In terms of engines the A1 citycarver comes exclusively with the 30 TFSI, which is a good thing as the 1.0-litre TFSI has a decent 116 hp and running costs are competitive for a small car. It’s no sports car but is does feel nippy and fun to drive on the road. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.9 litres per 100 km, including some motorway driving.

There is a bit more lean in corners with that small extra ride height, but there is so much grip it hardly matters behind the wheel. Comfort levels are good too by small car standards.

The Audi A1 citycarver is a high spec vehicle and retails from about €29,350 under current 2020 pricing. The Audi A1 Sportback range kicks off at €24,810 for a less well-equipped model. But a high spec sporty S line model with the same 1.0-litre engine with 116 hp retails for roughly the same money as the A1 citycarver so it's a pretty straightforward choice for small car buyers who want something a little fun and exclusive.

The Audi A1 citycarver on sale from €29,350
The Audi A1 citycarver on sale from €29,350

The Audi A1 delivers on both counts. If you love the look of the A1 citycarver with its robust wheel arch cladding and contrast sills, then by all means this is a fabulous buy. At Changing Lanes we're more excited about the A1 S line's lowered, sporty look, but it is a matter of opinion and the citycarver certainly follows current market trends.

Not only does it look great, but it's also still agile and fun for the city. Parking is easy and this is a well equipped car with the latest in car technology and features. Yes you pay a premium for that Audi badge upon the grille but this is a top quality small car and a pure delight. Loved it.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi A1 citycarver 30 TFSI
Price: 
€29,650
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
116 hp
Torque: 200 Nm
0-100km/h: 
9.4 seconds
Top speed: 203 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP): 6.1-6.4 l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 139-145 g/km
Motor Tax:  €200 per year

The Audi A1 citycarver is expensive but cool and fun to drive
The Audi A1 citycarver is expensive but cool and fun to drive

The new Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e

Audi A3 Sportback Hybrid on the way

The new Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e
The new Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e

Audi Ireland has confirmed that a new Audi A3 Sportback with plug-in hybrod technology will debut in Ireland in January 2021.

The new Audi A3 range went on sale here over the summer and is available as a five door hatchback or four door saloon with a range of petrol and diesel engines.

The new Audi A3 hybrid will be badged 40 TFSI e and will have 204 hp and can be driven on electric power alone for a limited range up to 67 kilometres (WLTP). A more powerful variant will follow shortly after.

The new A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e is the latest new plug-in hybrid model from Audi , which already includes the A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7.  The A3 hybrid uses a 1.4 TFSI with an electric motor and six-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. When the engine and motor are working together with maximum boost, the system torque reaches 350 Nm. The compact plug-in hybrid model sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 227 km/h.

When the A3 PHEV is in hybrid mode, the two drives divide the work intelligently. Two special modes can be selected via the MMI operating system: “Battery hold” and “Battery charge.” In “hold” mode, the available battery charge is held at the current level. In “charge” mode, as much electricity as possible is supplied to the battery.

Audi drive select also features in the hybrid and offers comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual driving profiles.

Audi says that it will take slightly more than four hours to fully recharge a completely empty battery. Customers can control the charging times with the free myAudi app.

Hybrid-specific functions and displays have been added to the operating concept of the A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e. The powermeter in the digital instrument cluster – or in the optional Audi virtual cockpit – displays the system’s output, the status of the drive, the recuperation, the battery’s state of charge, and the range. The central 10.1-inch MMI display shows the energy flows.

Equipment includes LED headlights, a leather multifunction steering wheel, two-zone automatic air conditioning system, Audi pre sense front, lane departure warning, turn assist, and swerve assist.

Inside the new Audi A3 hybrid
Inside the new Audi A3 hybrid