Audi’s new, electric Q6 e-Tron is now on sale | CAR Magazine

Audi’s new, electric Q6 e-Tron is now on sale

Published: 01 May 2024 Updated: 01 May 2024

► New, battery-electric Q6 e-Tron SUV revealed
► Uses PPE platform like e-Macan, with up to 388-mile range
► Now on sale, priced from £69k in UK

Audi’s range of electric cars is entering a new stage with the new Q6 e-Tron SUV, which is now on sale in the UK priced from a fraction under £70,000.

While the big Q8 e-Tron was Audi’s first proper stab at going electric (when it was just called the e-Tron SUV in 2018) and the Q4 e-Tron is hoovering up business at the lower end of the market (it was the third-best selling EV in the UK behind the Tesla Model Y and MG 4), the Q6 is taking aim at that widening mid-size SUV market. Audi openly says it’s targeting cars like the Model Y, BMW’s iX3 (and its forthcoming Neue Klasse replacement), the Jaguar I-Pace and Nio’s EL6.

There will be a regular all-wheel-drive model available from launch alongside a sportier SQ6 e-Tron, with further variants planned for the future.

It definitely looks like an Audi…

The Q6 e-Tron certainly looks familiar, doesn’t it? Not least because we’ve seen it in various prototype forms over the last year after the car, and its electric Porsche Macan stablemate, were so delayed. But also because it’s got so many of those traditional Audi touches, like a large grille-like arrangement at the front and blistered wheelarches front and rear. Audi’s also making a big fuss about the use of light with the Q6, revealing the new model features some firsts for the industry.

The new double-deck lighting ‘face’ will come to more models in the Audi range in future – namely the upcoming A6 e-Tron saloon and Avant estate, as well as the next-generation Q7 SUV first.

There’s a traditionally Audi (read: sober) colour palette with plenty of greys and blacks available, as well as ‘plasma blue’ seen pictured. Wheel sizes depend on spec, with Audi saying the choices will range from 18-21 inches.

And, dimensionally, the Q6 e-Tron is not actually that much smaller than a Q8 e-Tron. The Q6 is 4.77m long compared to the Q8’s 4.9m length, but the supposedly smaller Q6 manages to be as wide and a couple of cm taller. As for luggage space, the Q6 e-Tron has a 526-litre load area at the rear, as well as an impressively deep 64-litre space under the bonnet.

What’s the big deal about its lights, then?

Audi’s always been right at the forefront of light tech, but it takes another leap. The Q6 launches with Audi’s ‘second-generation’ OLED technology, massively increasing the pixel count and abilities of its lighting tech. The front DRLs now feature 61 individual segments (up from 10 in the Q4 e-Tron) and the rear light bar includes 60 pixels per OLED segment (up from its previous high of six before).

Naturally, that allows for a whole range of additional customisation options front and rear, with several light signatures available for both the front and rear DRLs – even including an active, perpetually-animated design on the rear for the first time.

But, before you go grumbling about this just being for show, Audi’s keen to counter that. For example, the Q6 e-Tron will show up a red warning triangle in its rear lights if you brake suddenly or put the hazard warning lights on. Or, if you’re using the car’s automated parking assistant, arrows appear when you’re in reverse to communicate to other road users of your intentions. Dr. Michael Kruppa, head of headlight development at Audi, says there’s scope for even more animations in the future, saying that ‘you have to take small steps forward first so we get used to the technology.’

What about the interior?

A considerable step-change here, too, to the point that it feels like quite a rewrite. It’s quite decontented, with (sadly) a lot of physical buttons removed for a cleaner design on first glance. But there are a select few, with a row on the centre console as well as a massive panel on the drivers’ door for controlling lights, locks, seat memory and mirror adjustments all in one place. The Q6 also features a steering wheel very like the one on the Q4, complete with touch panel buttons.

The thing that dominates the interior is Aud’s new ‘Digital Stage’ – the name of its large, curved panel that houses the 11.9-inch digital instruments and a 14.5-inch central infotainment display. The shape itself is even meant to echo the brand’s trapezoidal ‘Singleframe’ grille, and there’s the option of a 10.9-inch widescreen infotainment display, too.

A new era for Audi means a new software and infotainment design, heavily evolving its graphics and modernising many parts – even the warning bongs sound different. The Q6’s central display is Android-based, and shares a lot in common with the ‘MIB4’ infotainment seen in the latest range of VWs (like the ID.7, Passat, Tiguan and Golf 8.5) – albeit with a heavy Audi spin on it.

The home screen has a traditional tile-based layout, presenting the most used applications to the driver – and it can be customised. Like VW’s new system, the climate controls have a fixed location along the bottom edge, and you can tweak certain features of that toolbar to fit what you use most.

A new-generation AI-augmented voice assistant is included, which Audi says can control around 800 in-car functions with each of them having around 100 possible commands. As well as the usual stuff a voice assistant can do (calling people, setting nav guidance, activating certain climate functions etc.), you can even ask it queries like exchange rates or get it to help you get to know your new car.

On top of that, Audi is keen to point out the Q6’s ability to install apps, games and media streaming services on the infotainment to act as entertainment when charging, including a karaoke app.

Can if have some Q6 e-Tron performance specs, please?

It will launch with two performance variants for now, with both having the same 100kWh battery pack. More options will come not too long after launch.

The Q6 e-Tron quattro will benefit from an electric motor on each axle, generating 382bhp and 428lb ft of grunt. It’ll sprint to 62mph in 5.9sec and tops out at 130mph, and claims up to 388 miles on a single charge.

Then there’s the more potent SQ6 e-Tron (pictured in grey, above), which benefits from 482bhp (which rises to 509bhp when launch control is used) and 586lb ft, completing the 0-62mph sprint in 4.3sec and topping out at 143mph. Audi says the range for the SQ8 can hit up to 371 miles, with the deficit mainly being due to the sporty model’s wider tyres.

Audi is also priming a smaller 83kWh battery option that’ll drop the price, as well as introduce a rear-wheel drive option that, again, can help drop the price as well as potentially increase range. CAR understands that there will also be an RS Q6 e-Tron model that will launch within the year.

Any clever tech?

Well, Audi is very proud of its electric motors, claiming them to be among the most efficient in the industry. The brand uses asynchronous motors on the front axle and permanent synchronous motors on the rear, with its units featuring dry sump oil cooling for better efficiency and heat management.

The benefits of the wider PPE platform are apparent, too. When compared to the battery pack in the original e-Tron SUV from 2018, Audi says the 100kWh battery pack is 30 per cent denser, but weighs around 15 per cent less and takes 30 per cent less time to charge. The inclusion of a standard heat pump, according to engineers, adds around 19 miles of extra range compared to if the car came without one.

Like the Q8 e-Tron and the e-Tron GT, the Q6 e-Tron (as well as other cars that’ll use the PPE platform) benefits from two AC charge ports – one on each side – with one accepting punchier DC charging rates. Something that Bernhard Rieger, battery cell integration expert, says is there ‘purely for convenience.’

Speaking of charging rates, regardless of what Q6 model you get, it can be charged at up to 270kW if you get access to a powerful charger. Like the new Macan, the Q6 benefits from bank charging; if the public charger can’t handle the PPE platform’s 800-volt power, the car will split the battery into two and run each half at 400 volts, ensuring quick charging even on older charging infrastructure.

When can I buy a Q6 e-Tron?

The new Audi Q6 and SQ6 e-Tron are now on sale in the UK.

Prices start from £68,975 for the standard Q6 e-Tron quattro, with a choice of Sport, S line and Edition 1 trim levels available. The SQ6 e-Tron, with its far greater performance, is considerably more expensive at £92,950.

The Q6 line-up will grow to include a cheaper rear-wheel-drive motor with a smaller 83kWh battery, though there’s an option for a ‘performance battery’ that gets the usual 100kWh unit. Both these models will go on sale later in 2024, priced from £59,975 and £63,475.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches