The new Audi Q6 e-tron will use an electric platform jointly developed with Porsche, and our spies have caught it undisguised ahead of its launch next year
The new Audi Q6 e-tron SUV will join the brand’s all-electric line-up later this year, arriving as a rival for both the Tesla Model Y and the larger Tesla Model X. Set for release in the second half of 2023, our spy photographers have caught the forthcoming SUV testing with an undisguised front end, revealing its new styling direction.
As previewed by show cars such as the recently unveiled A6 e-tron concept, the new Q6 e-tron will adopt Audi’s new electric car design language with a closed-off, contrasting colour grille taking centre stage up front. The Q6 e-tron’s grille will use a textured finish and is flanked by two aggressive fake vents and a pair of narrow LED headlamps. Openings in the lower front bumper appear to have motorised slats, which operate according to the electric car’s cooling requirements.
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As for the rest of the design, sharp shoulderline creases will give the Q6 e-tron some added muscle, and it appears to adopt the contrast-colour sill trim already seen on the A6 e-tron concept.
As our exclusive images show, the rear will feature an integrated roof spoiler and a full-width light bar, in line with the current Audi e-tron SUV albeit with a slimmer design and a new daytime running light signature.
It’s expected the Q6 will be comparable in external dimensions to the combustion-engined Q5, but with a longer wheelbase and increased passenger space enabled by the new platform. We could also see a more sportily styled Sportback model join the range soon after, if the brand’s other electric SUVs are anything to go by.
Inside, the car is likely to adopt the new 11.6-inch central touchscreen used in the Q4 e-tron, which is the largest single display ever fitted to a production Audi. However, the design could be different due to the platform, and also to separate both models in terms of price and positioning.
The PPE architecture found underneath the Q6 e-tron will be shared with the next-generation Porsche Macan, which is due to be launched in 2023 as a full EV sitting alongside the existing, petrol-powered Macan. Despite both the Q6 and new Macan sharing similar hardware and software, they will be visually separate both inside and out.
The PPE platform is an evolution of the J1 platform found under the e-tron GT four-door, as well as the Porsche Taycan. That means it’ll have an 800-volt electrical architecture, enabling super-fast DC charging at a rate of up to 350kW.
Audi also says the platform will allow the EV’s battery pack to charge from five to 80 per cent capacity in around 25 minutes. A shorter charge using the fastest possible DC rapid charger can also add 186 miles of range in just 10 minutes.
It remains to be seen what size and type of battery pack Audi will use in the Q6 e-tron, but the firm says the PPE platform is capable of covering more than 700km (around 430 miles) when powering the more aerodynamic A6 e-tron concept. The slightly blunter surfacing on the SUV will dent the range, but a figure of more than 380 miles should be achievable.
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Given the relationship to the e-tron GT under the Q6’s bodywork, we should also see that car’s 469bhp (or 523bhp with overboost engaged) four-wheel drive powertrain transfer over. More affordable, lower-powered single-motor variants are also likely, while at the other end of the range Audi’s RS division could line-up a more performance-focused model. That’ll probably use the same 636bhp powertrain as the RS e-tron GT.
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This also includes the development of an in-house battery assembly facility. The Volkswagen Group (Audi’s parent company) has already signed a trio of partnerships to secure the raw materials and development processes required for its next-generation battery packs up to 2030.
Following the Q6 e-tron, Audi confirmed that its first “Project Artemis” model will launch in 2024. The car will be aimed at the luxury sector, spearheading Audi’s development of future electronic vehicle architecture, technology and operating systems.
Check out our in-depth review of the all-electric Audi e-tron SUV here…
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