Expert Insights

The Audi Q6 e-tron Preview

Laurance Yap
April 5, 2024
Hot on the heels of the Q4 e-tron and the upgraded Q8 e-tron, Audi is launching its most mainstream, and arguably best, electric SUV yet. The Q6 e-tron is built on an all-new platform with impressive range, interior space, and overall capability.
Audi Q6 e-tron off-roading

Audi’s All-New Electric SUV

Audi was the first of the big German luxury brands to enter the market with an electric SUV, and it has one of the broadest lineups of EV SUVs of any brand. In 2019, the company introduced the luxurious e-tron, which was subsequently upgraded and renamed in 2023 as the Q8 e-tron. The Q4 e-tron offers buyers looking for a compact electric SUV a choice of drivetrains and two body styles, but what’s been missing is something in the middle. That changes for 2024, with the introduction of the all-new Audi Q6 e-tron.

The first production model built on an brand-new dedicated EV platform called Premium Platform Electric, co-developed with Porsche, the Q6 e-tron packs impressive driving and charging specs as well as very credible efficiency and range numbers. It also debuts the latest generation of Audi’s design philosophy both inside and out. Available in both Q6 e-tron and high-performance SQ6 e-tron versions, it’s available to order now, and the first deliveries will happen before the end of the year.

Audi Q6 e-trons parked in the mountains

Audi Q6 e-tron Performance, Range, and Charging

The Q6 e-tron’s all-new platform, as well as its brand-new electronic architecture mark the start of the next generation of Audi’s electric journey, and underpin its promise to have electric choices in every vehicle segment by 2027. The platform provides flexibility in terms of vehicle length, width, and wheelbase, meaning it can support many different vehicle types of different sizes – all with typical Audi performance, traction, and confidence in the driving experience.

A 100-kWh battery consisting of 12 modules and 180 prismatic cells sits at the literal center of the Q6 e-tron’s architecture. On the “base” Q6 e-tron with quattro all-wheel drive, which offers 382 hp from its dual motors, the battery promises a range of 388 miles on the European WLTP testing cycle; we estimate that the EPA range estimate will be somewhere between 320 and 350 miles. The high-performance SQ6 e-tron offers 509 hp of output from dual motors, though Audi has yet to share a range estimate. In some markets, more efficient models with rear-wheel drive only will deliver increased range, though we suspect American Q6 models will all have all-wheel drive.

Both the Q6 and SQ6 models offer strong acceleration figures. The standard model dashes from 0 to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds, while the SQ6 e-tron takes just 4.3 seconds to do the same feat. Top speeds are 130 mph and 142 mph respectively.

One advantage of the all-new platform, shared with the new Porsche Macan EV, is an 800-volt architecture that allows for lower weight and faster charging. Indeed, the Q6 e-tron can charge as quickly as 270 kW on a compatible charger, meaning that it can receive 158 miles of range in just 10 minutes; a charge from 10 to 80 percent on a sufficiently powerful Level 3 fast charger takes just 21 minutes. Plug & Charge software, which integrates the payment systems from dozens of charging network, makes connection, authorization, and payment easier and more convenient, initiating the charging process automatically as soon as the vehicle is plugged in. At home on a Level 2 charger, the Q6 e-tron can charge at up to 11 kW.

Audi Q6 e-tron front

Audi EV SUV Design with Active Light Signatures

With a long wheelbase, short overhangs, and a wide track, the Q6 e-tron has a powerful stance, which also helps to give it a spacious, flexible interior for five passengers and their luggage. Up front, the latest version of Audi’s “singleframe” grille is inverted, with a body-color “mask,” and a frame in silver or gloss black.

The greenhouse is low, stretched-out, and sporty, and there are prominent “blisters” over the wheels to give the Q6 a stronger look. A choice of wheel sizes from 19 to 21 inches provides a sporty look without reducing ride quality.

Audi has long been known for its innovations in lighting technology, and the Q6 pushes the boundaries even further with an “active digital light signature.” High-set daytime running lights can play animations as you walk up to the vehicle, providing a bit of theater, but the rear lights are actually designed to communicate with other road users, re-configuring themselves to show warning triangles during emergency situations, for example. Drivers can also choose the light design they prefer under normal conditions to suit their preferences.

Audi Q6 e-tron front interior

Audi Q6 e-tron Interior and Technology

The Q6 e-tron features the latest evolution of Audi’s interior design philosophy, which has a layered, high-contrast look to foreground the most important controls and display. The driver faces a sweeping, panoramic display that incorporates both the instrument cluster and the infotainment screens into one curved panel, while there’s an optional third display available for the front-seat passenger. The dashboard and seats are covered in the same colors and materials, creating a homogeneous and enveloping feeling of space and simplifying the look of the cabin. Many of the materials, including the seat upholstery, are recycled, improving the overall sustainability of the Q6 e-tron.

Of course, the Q6’s interior offers plenty of practicality and space. The long wheelbase and a lack of central transmission tunnel gives it a broad, flat floor, with much more room than you would expect from a midsize SUV. Indeed, there’s as much room inside the Q6 e-tron, it seems, as the more expensive Q8 e-tron, which was built on a shared architecture with gasoline Audis. The trunk area has 18.5 cu.ft of storage space, and when the split rear sats are folded down, that number increases to 53.9 cu.ft. Under the hood is a 2.2-cu.ft storage space that’s perfect for a charging cable or for small travel bags.

The Q6 e-tron’s next-generation infotainment system brings together an 11.9-inch digital instrument cluster and a large 14.5-inch touchscreen under one curved glass panel, aimed at the driver. At night, the ambient lighting makes the screen look like it’s floating. In addition to the usual smartphone connectivity, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, there’s an augmented reality heads-up display that projects important information directly onto the windshield, such as speed, traffic signs, assistance, and navigation directions. An 830-watt Bang & Olufsen premium sound system is highly efficient, despite delivering a thundering 830 watts of power.

Audi says the 88-inch field of view is much easier to understand and less distracting on the move. There is also a self-learning digital assistant with AI support which can be summoned by voice. It can not only provide proactive driving tips, but recognize the driver’s routines (such as the temperature setting at different times of the day, or phone calls to home at the same point on a commute). Over-the-air updates will keep the system current and provide access to new apps. Owners can take advantage of music, video, gaming, navigation, and charging apps, with new ones being added constantly.

Of course, a wide range of assistance systems helps to make the Q6 e-tron safer and more comfortable for drivers. A new Driving Assistant Plus feature helps not only with acceleration, maintaining speed, keeping a safe distance, and lane guidance, but also references high-resolution map data and data from other vehicles in the cloud to drive more smoothly and safely. Indeed, when the data is available, the vehicle can use the collected information to create a virtual route, and follow it precisely – across the entire speed range and in even in traffic jams. Parking assistance, lane departure warning, emergency assist, pre-collision braking, and a distraction and drowsiness warning system are also standard.

Sustainable Production

The Audi Q6 e-tron and SQ6 e-tron are being made at Audi’s flagship Ingolstadt facility in Germany, which sadly means they will not be eligible for federal financial incentives. The factory has been retrofitted for the manufacturing of all-electric models, and Ingolstadt, which covers 1.6 million sq.ft, is now equipped to build batteries as well as complete vehicles.

Pricing for the Q6 e-tron has yet to be announced, but expect it to land in between the starting MSRP of the Q4 e-tron, which has a starting MSRP of $49,800, and the Q8 e-tron, which has a starting MSRP of $74,400. We’d expect something in the mid-sixties when it lands on our shores late this fall.