There have been rumors and spy shots of the upcoming Audi Q6 e-tron electric SUV for several years now and after repeated delays, we've now been shown the pre-production prototype, which will hopefully finally arrive in the USA sometime soon. The 2024 Audi Q6 e-tron will be an Audi of several firsts - the first electric Audi built on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) underpinnings shared with the upcoming Porsche Macan EV (unless the A6 e-tron beats the Q6 e-tron to production), the first Audi to use a split-headlight front end in the vogue of modern BMWs, and the first Audi to seemingly do away with most center-console buttons in favor of touchscreen controls. It's positioned one step above the Q4 e-tron, and thanks to its space-efficient electric skateboard platform, the roughly Q5-sized electric SUV should offer Q7-like space inside. A Sportback version with a sloping roofline and an RS with over 600 horsepower are being developed in tandem. Here's what we know so far.
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Originally slated for a 2022 introduction as a 2023 model, the release date of the Audi Q6 e-tron has been pushed back repeatedly. We now know it will only be coming out as a 2024 model, although even an early 2024 launch as a 2025 model is looking increasingly likely. One of the reasons for the delays is Volkswagen trying to iron out problems with its software subsidiary Cariad, which is reportedly also responsible for the Macan EV's delay.
With the Q4 e-tron occupying the space between $50,000 and $60,000 and the Q8 e-tron starting with an MSRP of around $75,000 for the cheapest one, the base price of the 2024 Audi Q6 e-tron should slot roughly between them. An overlap with the Q8 e-tron is possible, however, so we expect a starting cost of around $67k. RS variants will likely cost more than $80,000.
Natural rivals to the Q6 e-tron would include the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model Y, while the related Porsche Macan EV will be of a similar size but priced above the Audi as a sportier premium offering.
Based on spy shots and images released of the prototype, we can see that the 2024 Q6 e-tron will have a slippery shape to optimize range; a drag coefficient of around 0.25 is expected, which will be even lower on the Sportback version. Steeply-raked windshield pillars will feature, and we've already seen that Audi has opted for a new split-headlight design using slim Digital Matrix LED headlights. Based on the prototype, it's a modern and successful update of the traditional Audi face.
A closed-over Audi Singleframe grille panel sits up front, as we've seen on other e-tron models, with a lower air intake and what looks like faux side intakes hinting at the sporty nature of the car. The rear light strip spans the entire width of the body, as in many other new Audis. Those taillights are notable for having second-generation digital OLED technology with a Proximity function and can warn drivers behind you of impending hazards in the road. Even cyclists can be alerted if an occupant is about to open a door with a unique lighting signature.
With only spy shots, development vehicles, and rumors to go on regarding the final styling details, we don't have any indication of the colors the Audi Q6 e-tron will be offered in. If the Q4 e-tron is anything to go by, with its very limited palette of white, black, and gray, with only Navarra Blue adding a little excitement, there isn't a great deal of variety in store. Even the larger Q8 e-tron offers mostly a grayscale palette, with only Plasma Blue offering some respite. We hope that the Q6 e-tron will offer a bit more excitement with a few extroverted colors, even if just on the sporty models.
The exterior dimensions of the new Audi Q6 e-tron SUV should be slightly greater than those of the current gas-powered Q5 compact SUV, just like the Q4 is slightly bigger than the gas-powered Q3. Doing away with the traditional gas powertrain and basing it on a purpose-designed electric platform will enable it to make much better use of the form factor and compete with larger SUVs in terms of passenger space. We're expecting an overall length just shy of 190 inches, a width of around 75 inches without the mirrors, a height of around 65 inches, and a wheelbase stretching to at least 115 inches. The PPE platform is flexible, allowing for track widths between 64.6 and 67.5 inches, wheelbases between 113.8 and 121.2 inches, and ground clearances between six and 8.5 inches.
It will be a lot heavier than the 4,000-odd pounds at which the Q5 starts. Keep in mind that the lightest Q4 already weighs nearly 4,700 pounds due to the electric gadgetry and heavy battery. It's reasonable to expect the Q6 e-tron to weigh over 5,000 pounds for an AWD derivative with a 100-kWh battery.
Opting for the Porsche PPE architecture rather than VW's MEB platform indicates that Audi has sporty aspirations for the Q6 e-tron, but it was probably the only way to leave enough headspace for the upcoming high-performance RS variants. Macan EV Turbo versions are rumored to have up to 700 hp, but outputs of around 600-640 hp and 740 lb-ft in Boost mode seem more likely for the Q6 e-tron RS versions. The normal Audi Q6 e-tron's electric motors will span a range of outputs below those figures, including reported outputs of 469 hp and 590 lb-ft for at least one of the versions. This should be good enough for a 0-60 mph sprint comfortably under five seconds.
Dual-motor quattro configurations will likely be standard on most derivatives, and although we cannot discount a lower-cost RWD entry-level model, this seems unlikely, given the sporty positioning of the Q6 e-tron. Premium features such as air suspension, rear-axle steering, and torque vectoring are going to be available, courtesy of the PPE platform, optionally on most trims but probably standard on RS models.
The PPE platform has an 800-volt electrical system, allowing for charging rates up to 350 kW. The battery size is expected to be around 98-100 kWh. At a rate of 350 kW, it should be able to charge from zero to 80 percent in around 20 minutes. Whereas in the past year or two, a range figure of 300 miles was mentioned, EV development has not been standing still, and this is now regarded as the minimum acceptable range for a premium electric SUV.
The powertrain in the Audi Q6 e-tron is reportedly the same as that of the upcoming PPE-based A6 e-tron, which was shown in stunning concept form in the first half of 2021, and that also has a claimed range of 435 miles on the WLTP cycle, just like the VW ID.7 (which should translate to EPA specs of around 350-370 miles). Given that is achieved in a lighter sedan body with a 0.22 drag coefficient, it stands to reason that this might drop to below 400 miles WLTP in the case of the Q6 e-tron, and not much over 300 miles EPA.
Ahead of its full unveiling, Audi has revealed the Q6 e-tron's tech-rich interior, albeit in prototype form. It's obvious that what you see here is close to the real deal, however. Audi describes this space as having a human-centric layout, with the needs of occupants as a starting point. A three-dimensional design - with some elements in the foreground and some in the background - gives the interior a sense of spaciousness.
As the first model series to be based on the PPE platform, Audi was able to reimagine the cabin's design and functionality. This platform allows for greater practicality, with the Q6 e-tron's cabin featuring numerous storage spaces and trays, including a smartphone charging tray in the center console. The lack of a center tunnel frees up more legroom, too. As for the seats in the Audi Q6 e-tron, these incorporate recycled materials. Sports seats with contrast stitching in Elastic Melange (a recycled fabric) are available, while another fabric called Argument can cover the seats and headliner. S line and S models have optional sports seats in Dinamica microfiber (another recycled material) or the more traditional option of Nappa leather with diamond stitching. Sweetgum natural or light brown wood, birch linear natural in stone grey, or matt brushed aluminum in anthracite are some of the trim choices. The sportier S line and S models have options like a carbon micro-twill structure or a high-tech anthracite mesh.
Audi is proud of the interior's so-called Softwrap that starts from the doors and leads through to the center console, creating a homogenous environment and also being sustainably produced. Even the floor mats form part of the SUV's sustainability goals; these are made from Econyl, a material produced by upcycling old fishing nets, carpets, and industrial waste.
As impressive as the use of materials is, most Audi fans will be more interested in the tech, and there is plenty of it. Referred to as the "digital stage," this layout comprises the Audi MMI panoramic display and 10.9-inch MMI front passenger display. The former is curved and boasts OLED technology for impeccable clarity. The setup includes the 11.9-inch Audi virtual cockpit and the 14.5-inch MMI touch display. The front-seat passenger can watch movies on their dedicated display without disturbing the driver thanks to an active privacy mode with shutter technology. This passenger can now more easily assist the driver with navigation duties, too.
An augmented reality head-up display is another tempting option, reflecting an expansive tilted image plane across the windshield. To the driver, it appears as if items in the display are floating up to 656 feet away. A new Interaction light (IAL) is another piece of tech. Besides looking gorgeous as it bathes the interior in light, it interacts with occupants by, for example, visualizing when the car is locked or indicating your charging progress. This vehicle debuts a new uniform infotainment platform developed with software specialists Cariad. Based on Android Automotive, it supports over-the-air software updates and integrates the self-learning voice assistant.
If the tech overload leaves you frazzled, you can take a break and enjoy some soothing classical music with the optional Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 3D sound. There are 22 speakers - including small ones in each A-pillar and another few in the headrests - and 830 watts of punch.
And, when you're finally done playing with all the toys, you might wonder how many actual toys you can cram into the trunk. Behind the second row, the Audi Q6 e-tron has 18.6 cubic feet of cargo space, expanding to 54 cubes when the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats are folded. There is also a frunk with another 2.3 cubes, enough to conveniently stow the mobile charging cable or smaller travel bags.
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