Audi A6 e-tron could be followed by A6 Avant e-tron [Update]

The Audi RS 6 Avant is arguably the ultimate performance wagon in the market and has worn that crown for years. A model that could raise the bar for Audi is the A6 Avant e-tron.

Rendering specialist Sugarchow (Instagram user sugardesign_1) has created an illustration of an uber-cool Audi A6 Avant e-tron. Even without RS parts, it looks athletic, and at the same time, quite poised. The understated elegance of the donor, the A6 e-tron concept, has been playfully merged with the more practical D-pillar of an Avant and the end result is surprisingly more alluring.

As per Autocar, Johannes Arneth has “strongly hinted” that the A6 e-tron will have an estate version. Arneth is the Technical Project Manager of the A6 e-tron. The estate version could be called the A6 Avant e-tron and lead to a radical zero-emission RS 6 Avant e-tron someday.

Video Source: YouTube/Audi

The A6 e-tron is styled like a four-door coupe which is descriptive of the A7 e-tron, but Arneth has said that the company “really wanted to stress” that this electric car is a member of the A6 family. Besides, the A7 is “independent enough for its own name,” he said.

Audi A6 e-tron: What to expect

Audi is presenting its e-tron concepts quite close to production. The A6 e-tron concept that debuted as Audi’s proposed challenger to the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQE at Auto Shanghai 2021 in April is no different.

An Autocar report citing Sascha Heyde, Senior Exterior Designer, says approximately 95% of the e-tron concept’s design features would appear on the production electric sedan. Heyde calls the e-tron concept the “next evolutionary step” in Audi’s design philosophy. While designing, the company focused on the car’s length and width, not height, which allowed a long wheelbase with plenty of space for the battery pack.

Our exclusive rendering (above) shows what the design of the commercialized version would look like. Our Audi A6 electric sedan does away with the logo backlighting at the front, but it has shinier Singleframe inserts, and slightly bigger headlights, for improved visibility and enhanced styling. A powerfully contoured, curved blade under the closed-off upper grille (Singleframe) and matching vertical blades on the sides of the air inlets further enhance the styling.

We haven’t kept the ‘e-tron’ inscription on the lower grille in the final design, seeing how other pure electric Audi e-tron models have transitioned to production. The 21-inch 10-spoke trapezoidal-module, dual-tone wheels may seem like a downgrade from the concept’s 22-inch rims, but they should lead to better handling and reduced noise. We have retained the virtual mirror technology. The concept’s impressive drag coefficient value of 0.22 Cd should apply to even the road-ready car, helped by the digital mirrors. The door handles, antenna and front sensors complete the journey to production.

Android Automotive infotainment system

Volkswagen Group has confirmed a newAndroid Automotive OS-based infotainment system for the Audi Q6 e-tron. We don’t see a reason why the sedan (and maybe even the estate derivate) wouldn’t feature the same.

CARIAD, Volkswagen Group’s automotive software company, will develop a new premium software platform 1.2 (E³ 1.2) for Audi and Porsche models. It plans to use the Android Automotive operating system’s AOSP (Android Open Source Project) version, which means that Google Services won’t come factory-installed in the infotainment systems. Moreover, these infotainment systems would have a third-party app store instead of Google’s Play Store.

Audi A6 e-tron concept interior sketch
The Audi A6 e-tron concept interior has not been unveiled, but we have an idea of it from the sketch which points to a minimalist design. Image Source: Audi

In 2023, CARIAD will release the premium software stack 1.2 with launches of the electric Porsche Macan and the Audi Q6 e-tron. It will bring a completely new experience to Audi and Porsche vehicles. This platform will feature a new unified infotainment platform based on Android Automotive.

Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO, CARIAD (Volkswagen Group New Auto)

PPE Platform

The PPE platform-based zero-emission business sedan may come with two different battery pack options, and possibly one of them is the e-tron GT’s 85 kWh (net)/93 kWh (gross) 800-volt Lithium-ion unit. The production A6 e-tron electric sedan is likely to offer a range of up to 700 km (WLTP) and should accelerate from 0-100 km/h in under four seconds in the sportiest variant.

One can expect the convenience of recharging the battery pack from 5 to 80% SoC in less than 25 minutes with 270 kW rapid-charging support. The concept version has a battery with a gross (total) energy content of around 100 kWh that takes the same time for rapid-charging from 5 to 80%. A ten-minute rapid-charge can is sufficient to achieve a 300+ km range (assumed to be a WLTP figure).

Release Date

The A6 e-tron may hit German showrooms in 2023 as the four-door cousin of the Audi Q6 e-tron. In China, the Audi-FAW New Energy Joint Venture will manufacture this model in Changchun for the local market.

An Audi spokesperson has informed CNET’s Roadshow that the production A6 e-tron will likely debut in 2022 and enter production in 2023. Audi’s press announcements so far have only confirmed that the first Audi PPE platform models will debut successively in the second half of 2022. In all likeliness, these would be the production A6 e-tron and the Q6 e-tron. Below is what one of the key pointers of the A6 e-tron concept announcement in April 2021 read:

Beginning in late 2022, the first production cars in the C- and later also B-segment will be relaunched with PPE technology, including – a first in the market for electric vehicles – both SUVs with a high ground clearance and dynamically styled models with a lower ride height, such as the upcoming Audi A6 e-tron.

Audi announcing the A6 e-tron concept

A press release on the Audi China website states the A6 e-tron concept as a C-class (C-segment) model, which strengthens our speculation that the statement refers to the production A6 e-tron. The two SUVs on the PPE platform would be the Audi Q6 e-tron and the Porsche Macan EV.

ICE Audi A6 to continue for another generation

Audi’s main markets like Western European countries, the USA, Canada, and China look ready for a complete shift to pure electric powertrains in luxury vehicles by 2030. However, Audi has other important markets that significantly contribute to sales but don’t possess the same spirit for decarbonisation.

Audi Grand Sphere Concept
The Audi Grand Sphere hints at Audi’s new shooting brake design, which might pave the path for a high-performance electric car, possibly the A6 Avant e-tron.

Petrostates like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others continue showing great potential for ICE models for longer than the markets mentioned above. The same goes for countries with insufficient EV charging infrastructure or low purchasing power, which would make the shift to EVs slower. A report from auto motor und sport says that for regions that are behind the curve, Audi may continue the internal combustion engine A6 till 2032. The company may see launching the next-gen A6 in pure electric and MHEV/PHEV variants on two separate platforms as a viable solution.

Volkswagen Group’s PPE platform would deliver 7 million electric vehicles by 2030, and a sizable chunk of those sales may come from high-volume models like the pure electric Audi A6 and Q6.