Markus Duessman, Audi’s CEO, confirmed at the company’s Annual Press Conference in March 2021 that the Ingolstadt-based carmaker’s next electric SUV, which will go into production in 2022, will be called the Audi Q6 e-tron.
With this, the Q6 e-tron will be a more affordable vehicle than the next generation Porsche Macan, an all-electric vehicle as conformed by Porsche back in February 2019.
Take a look at what has emerged so far on the Audi electric SUV:
Audi Q6 e-tron Design
Various spy media and the closely-based renderings show the front-end of the Audi Q6 e-tron sporting a closed body-colored Singleframe grille, a la e-tron GT, flanked by sleek Matrix LED headlights. Yet another feature of the front would be the large intakes with black trim just above the bumper chin. There will be a faux single frame that will hide the sensors for driver assistance systems behind it. The new Q6 e-tron will also have a raked A-pillar and a sloping roofline.
The Audi Q6 e-tron could feature rims measuring 21-inches in diameter to give it a solid presence with a conventional and soft roofline. The rear-end will likely look a fair bit like the Q4 e-tron with an OLED light bar running across the entire width of the posterior.
Audi Q6 e-tron Sportback
According to a report by Autocar, the Q6 e-tron will be accompanied by its coupe-like version, the Q6 e-tron Sportback. Compared to the e-tron and e-tron Sportback, both Q6 e-tron and Q6 e-tron Sportback will have smaller dimensions.
As expected, the Audi Q6 e-tron Sportback will get a softer roofline with raked D-pillars and a lower ground clearance. This will help it achieve a better drag co-efficient (0.25 Cd or lower) and a longer range by 5-8 miles (WLTP). The sloping roofline, however, will reduce the headroom and boot volume by up to 5%.
The 2022 Audi Q6 e-tron is expected to share its circa 100 kWh battery pack with the production-spec A6 e-tron that will go on sale sometime after this SUV hits the market in 2023. The Audi A6 e-tron showcased in its concept avatar in Shanghai in April 2021 came with a (provisional) range of 435 miles (700 km). This impressive figure is made possible by the low drag coefficient of 0.22 and the high-capacity battery. Meanwhile, the Q6 e-tron could have a slightly shorter range of about 400 miles (644 km) due to its taller body and weight.
Audi should sell the Q6 e-tron with a handful of technical configurations, including single- and dual-motor setups with up to 476 hp (356 kW) & 800 Nm of peak outputs. A sub-5-seconds sprint to 62 mph (100 kmph) looks fairly possible on the sportiest Q6 e-tron.
The Q6 e-tron will be the brand’s first offering based on the PPE architecture that has been co-developed with Porsche. It’s noteworthy that the smaller Q4 e-tron shares its MEB platform with the Volkswagen ID.4 while the larger e-tron is based on the MLB platform that was originally used to form the base of ICE cars and was tinkered to adopt electric propulsion.
Battery & charging
The Audi Q6 e-tron is expected to come with a bigger battery than the 71 kWh (gross) and 95 kWh (gross) battery pack options of the Audi e-tron. It might also come with an energy storage capacity of around 100 kWh, in line with the A6 e-tron concept, which was showcased in April 2021.
The PPE platform would allow fast charging with 270 kW, providing a range of about 300 km (186 miles) in 10 minutes or fast-charging up to 80% in 20 minutes, and a maximum driving range of up to 600 km. Charging the battery pack from 5 to 80 percent should take less than 30 minutes. The Q6 e-tron is expected to come with a rear-wheel-drive configuration as standard, with higher versions of it having the possibility of an eAWD with a second electric motor at the front axle.
Expect the 2022 Audi Q6 e-tron with a cabin similar in aesthetics to the Q4 e-tron. Of course, thanks to a dedicated PPE platform for EVs, there will be more space and extra luxury features on offer, but akin to the smaller sibling, there will be high stress on the use of recycled materials. The Q6 e-tron should come equipped with premium tech like air suspension, torque vectoring, and all-wheel steering.
In all likelihood, the squared-off steering wheel with back-lit touch controls will be carried over from the Q4, by which one can control 18 different functions. Another similarity will arise out of the flat floor to free up space for backseat passengers and luggage. Other highlights of the package will include an augmented reality head-up display, customizable virtual cockpit display, premium sound system from Sonos, and an XL-size central touchscreen. The Q6 e-tron could be one of the safest SUVs with collision avoidance assist, full-range adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera.
E3 1.2 Software
In the strategy announcement made on July 13, 2021, Volkswagen Group confirmed that the Audi Q6 e-tron would come with a new software system underlining their infotainment screens. This will be a new infotainment system based on Google’s Android Automotive and will feature its own third-party app store, not the Google Play Store.
German publication mobiFlip spoke to the company after the announcement and found that the new system will look nothing like Android Auto. It will only use the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) version of the Android Automotive OS. This version is license-free and doesn’t use the Play Store, hence the third party app-store.
The Porsche Macan electric that is expected to arrive in early 2023 will use a similar Android Automotive based OS, but it is unlikely it will match the one on the Q6 e-tron.
Release Date & Price
Audi has said that the first PPE model would be unveiled in the second half of 2022. Following this, the Audi Q6 e-tron could hit the retail market in late-2022 with prices starting under £60,000, which would make this e-SUV a cheaper and worthy alternative to the Audi e-tron. The new model will lock horns with the Mercedes EQE SUV and the Tesla Model Y.
With the launch of the Q6 e-tron, Audi could adopt the new agency sales model. According to a report in Automobilwoche, Volkswagen had already started switching to the agency model in 2020, and now, Audi is likely to do the same.
Negotiations with retail partners are yet to be finalized, and this isn’t likely at least before 2022. The new sales model will initially be adopted in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Poland. In an agency sales model, the role of the dealer essentially changes to that of an agent. However, their roles aren’t diminished, and they still receive similar commissions and bonuses as currently.
However, what does change is that the price negotiations are now handled completely by the company and not the dealer. The company also bears inventory costs and other costs of the vehicles placed in the showroom, and the dealer doesn’t have to finance anything in advance.
Currently, Audi isn’t making money on the e-tron models. However, speaking to Der Spiegel (via QuattroDaily), Markus Duessman said things could change once the Q6 e-tron launches. Lower battery prices, higher economies of scale, and demand for EVs rising in core markets could bring down the cost of these EVs. Currently, the e-tron and e-tron Sportback are already available worldwide. The Q4 e-tron and the Q4 e-tron Sportback, and the e-tron GT have all started launching.
The new Audi Q6 e-tron is expected to hit the production floors in Ingolstadt, Germany, in 2022, where the Porsche Macan Electric will follow in 2023. The Q6 e-tron will be the first vehicle from Audi, which will use second-generation steel coil lubrication Prelube II in the production process, reducing lubricant consumption to protect metal sheets from corrosion. This is perceived as a move in line with Audi’s sustainability efforts in making all of its production facilities carbon-neutral by 2025.
Audi is preparing a high-power charging network for its electric vehicle range, including the upcoming Q6 e-tron, to give customers a premium ownership experience. This is besides the existing charging networks. The project is expected to launch by late summer this year. These high-power charging stations will offer up to 300 kW of charging output, and the electric vehicle customers of Audi can book their charging spot in advance.
Audi Q6 e-tron FAQs
What is the release date of the Audi Q6 e-tron?
The Audi Q6 e-tron will enter production in 2022 and is likely to go on sale late next year in Europe.
Which are the core competitors to the Q6 e-tron?
The new e-SUV from Audi will be seen rivaling the Mercedes EQE SUV and the Tesla Model Y.
What is the expected price of the Audi Q6 e-tron?
The Audi Q6 e-tron should have a base price of under £60,000, a tad more affordable than the e-tron.
Featured image: Audi Concept Shanghai, used for illustration. Image: Audi