Update: ‘Design’ section updated.
In March 2022, Audi revealed its vision for an all-electric station wagon with the Audi A6 Avant e-tron show car. Like the A6 Sportback e-tron from April 2021, the A6 Avant e-tron is a near-production concept, and when it gets to dealers, it will compete with the BMW i5 Touring that’s coming out in Spring 2024 and the Nio ET5 Shooting Brake that’ll debut in Summer 2023.
We expect the Audi A6 Avant e-tron to get the overall design of the sedan version, but with subtle changes to the lights, grille inserts, and bumpers. The highlight will be the long roof, which makes it a more practical car.
Audi has started testing the production A6 Avant e-tron on the roads in the final design. Camouflaged prototypes indicate that, as anticipated, the vehicle will adopt key design features from the A6 e-tron sedan, including its headlights and the distinct closed Singleframe. Its silhouette closely resembles the concept car. Features like red brake calipers, gray double-spoke wheels, and reduced ground clearance hint that a performance variant is also under development.
At the Audi Annual Media Conference 2022 on March 17, 2022, Oliver Hoffmann said that the A6 Avant e-tron’s design is close to production. Hoffmann is a member of Audi’s Board of Management responsible for Technical Development. Citing Audi designer Wolf Seebers, CAR magazine reported in April 2022 that the production version will be around 90% similar.
I’m as thrilled as you are about the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept – a fantastic car, and it’s really super-close to the production version, as you saw in the video.Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development, Audi (Audi Annual Media Conference 2022 on March 17, 2022)
Compared to the gas-powered A6 Avant, the A6 Avant e-tron concept is much longer and lower. The car’s dynamically sloping roofline, the positive length, width, and height differences, and what seems to be a shorter front overhang make it sportier and noticeably more dramatic. The two generously-sized outlets of the striking rear diffuser complement the electric station wagon’s powerful stance. Finished in ‘Neptune Valley’ paint, the longer rear quarter glass and wider D-pillar suggest there’s ample cargo space behind the rear seats (A6 Avant: 565 liters/20.0 cu ft).
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron’s interior should look similar to its SUV counterpart – the Audi Q6 e-tron. Expect a sleek and edgy dashboard with a concave surface and a bank of displays in the middle. The dashboard may with the door panels with a sharp yet seamless curve, making the occupants feel like they are in a snug cocoon.
The driver cockpit area should consist of two free-standing OLED displays—an 11.9-inch Audi virtual cockpit and a 14.5-inch MMI touch display—merged to look like one panel, called the ‘Audi MMI panoramic display.’ A 10.9-inch MMI front passenger display will likely be present on the other side of the central touchscreen. An augmented reality head-up display should complement the digital instrument cluster. An 830-watt, 22-speaker B&O sound system will likely be among the other key tech features in the cabin.
Like the Q6 e-tron, the A6 Avant e-tron should come installed with the CARIAD-developed E³ 1.2 software platform, which will support over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Customers will likely be able to download their favorite apps directly on the infotainment system, through a store jointly developed by CARIAD and Harman Ignite. This will allow them to use their favorite mobile services and enjoy mobile entertainment without needing to connect their smartphones. Yelp, Spotify, TikTok, Amazon Music, and Webex by Cisco are among the various apps we expect to be available on the app store.
Expect the same new-generation steering wheel that Audi uses in the Q4 e-tron. Lastly, Audi may extensively employ sustainable materials that are recycled, reusable, and cruelty-free across the cabin.
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron measures 4.96 meters in length, 1.96 meters in width, and 1.44 meters in height. Its drag coefficient is just 0.02 units above that of the A6 Sportback e-tron (0.22 Cd) – 0.24 Cd. Despite the similar dimensions to the current A6 Avant, expect the space levels in the electric version to be from a segment above.
|Dimension||A6 Avant e-tron concept||Audi A6 Avant||Difference|
|Length||4.96 m (195.3 in.)||4.94 m (194.5 in.)||0.02 m (0.8 in.)|
|Width||1.96 m (77.2 in.)||1.89 m (74.4 in.)||0.07 m (2.4 in.)|
|Height||1.44 m (56.7 in.)||1.47 m (57.9 in.)||-0.03 m (-1.2 in.)|
Underpinning the A6 Avant e-tron concept is the PPE platform co-developed with Porsche. The electric station wagon has a five-link axle modified for EVs in the front and a multi-link axle in the rear. It features an air suspension with adaptive dampers.
The A6 Avant e-tron concept sports two motors, one mounted to the front axle and one mounted to the rear axle, generating a combined power of 350 kW (469 hp) and a combined torque of 800 Nm (590 lb.-ft.). The A6 Sportback e-tron concept can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 7 seconds, and Audi says that the value of the Avant only deviates “slightly.”
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron boasts 800-volt charging technology. Its battery pack, which is a 100 kWh unit, can be charged with up to 270 kW. Just 10 minutes of DC fast-charging can deliver a range of more than 300 km (186 miles). DC fast-charging from 5 to 80% takes less than 25 minutes. Audi hasn’t disclosed the range achievable in the variant with a full charge yet. It has just said the A6 e-tron family models, depending on the selected drive system and power output, will have a WLTP range of up to 700 km (435 miles).
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept made its public debut at the 2022 eCarExpo in Solna (Stockholm), Sweden, held between April 29, 2022, to May 1, 2022. That was a good choice, as the Swedes have a soft corner for station wagons and are quickly adopting electric vehicles. YouTuber Peter Esse has released a walkaround video detailing the A6 Avant e-tron concept.
Source: Youtube/Peter Esse
Moreover, the Swedish Audi subsidiary confirmed the launch of the production A6 Electric in the announcement preceding the showcase. It noted that the series-produced car derived from the A6 Avant e-tron concept will arrive in 2024, but since then, many publications have reported the ETA to be 2025:
On April 29, the A6 Avant e-tron concept makes its first public premiere. The display takes place at the eCarExpo electric car Fair in Stockholm during the Valborg weekend. The concept car offers a preview of the launch of the series-produced car coming in 2024. With a range of up to 70 miles and a charging capacity of up to 270 kW, it is an exciting trade fair novelty for all electric car speculators who have asked for an electrically powered station wagon.Audi Sweden announcement on April 4, 2022 (translated)
More recently, Oliver Hoffmann has confirmed that Audi is committed to wagons and indicated that a pure electric A6 Avant e-tron is coming to showrooms. Audi’s R&D boss told Top Gear in September 2022 that the A6 Avant e-tron concept clearly envisions Audi’s upcoming PPE platform-based electric cars.
In the meantime, Audi is showcasing the A6 Avant e-tron concept around the world. Most recently, it flew the electric wagon to China to display it at Auto Shanghai 2023 which opened on April 18, 2023. Earlier, the company displayed the show car at various European internal events, in the Netherlands, Portugal, Latvia, and more. Audi should continue to exhibit the concept in various locations around the globe to generate excitement for the production version.
Audi A6 Avant e-tron RS
It’s not hard to guess that a full-blown RS performance with zero-emissions would be in the pipeline. Except that we’re not guessing. Hoffmann told Topgear on March 18, 2022, that when the brand presents the A6 e-tron, Audis will “also include some performance versions of it.”
Spy pictures suggest a go-fast variant of the pure electric A6 e-tron is already testing. These images have shown a test mule with a lowered body, performance brakes featuring red calipers, and large wheels wrapped with low-profile tires. There’s no way of telling whether this prototype is an S variant or an RS variant just yet, but it certainly seems to be one of them.
What’s also certain is that the styling will be subdued compared to gas-powered performance heroes of the present, as there’ll be no huge functional grille in the front or special exhaust pipes at the back. In the EV world, there are generally fewer tell-tale signs of performance variants.
Audi says that the “strongest representatives of the (A6 e-tron) series” will be “high-performance models” that take less than 4 seconds for a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint. Notice the plurality in the language here. It’s safe to assume that the company is talking about not one but two Audi RS6 e-tron models, a Sportback coupe, and an Avant station wagon.
Audi A6 marketing boss Niko Martens has suggested that the next-gen RS6 may come in ICE and electric variants, with the latter possessing “an even sportier possibility,” as per the April 2022 CAR magazine report. Later, Marc Lichte, Head of Design, Audi, confirmed that an RS6 e-tron will be unveiled in 2024, Top Gear said in a report on January 27, 2023. Audi stopped selling the A6 in the RS variant at the end of the third generation. With the A6 e-tron, the company will launch the RS6 again, although, technically, it’ll be an RS6 e-tron.
In a report on August 4, 2023, Autocar claimed that the RS6 e-tron will sport a twin-motor powertrain, shared with an upgraded Porsche Taycan due in 2025 and producing up to 600 hp and 738+ lb.-ft. of torque. We expect 0-60 mph acceleration and top speed figures to be ~3 seconds and 200 mph, respectively. It’s safe to assume there’ll be an RS6 Avant e-tron, too, and it should have similar specifications.
Now, will Audi introduce the electric station wagon in America? With the company already offering the A6 allroad quattro and RS6 Avant in the country, we don’t see a reason why they should not!
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron would be the second series electric station wagon from a luxury automaker, following the BMW i5 Touring. The new e-tron model would build on the A6 Avant’s core strengths, which are high practicality and performance, and add eco-friendliness to the long and ever-growing list of its attractions.
In Q1 2023, 77% of all A6 units sold were in the Avant version, Automotive News Europe reported on June 8, 2023. In the A4’s case, that figure was higher – 80%. Station wagons are still sought after in Germany, which has the highest demand for this vehicle category in Europe – double that of the whole region. They’re quite popular in Sweden and Norway as well. The A6 Avant e-tron would show the four-ringed brand’s unshakeable commitment to customers in the old continent.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the Audi A6 Avant EV