Audi A6 Avant e-tron (Audi E6 Avant) will challenge the BMW i5 Touring

  • Will be Audi's first electric station wagon that competes with offerings from Nio & BMW
  • Audi's practical family car expected to deliver a WLTP range of over 400 miles
  • Expected in 2025 with SUV-like interior space & car-like driving manners
  • Range may include a U.S.-bound Audi RS 6 Avant e-tron with genuinely quick acceleration!

Update: ‘Virtual mirrors’ added to ‘Exterior.’

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.

Design

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).

Virtual mirrors

Audi pioneered the virtual mirror technology when it introduced it on the e-tron (now called Q8 e-tron), but after the e-tron Sportback (now called Q8 Sportback e-tron), it stopped rolling out EVs with that feature. It seemed as if Audi wanted to discontinue virtual mirrors not too long after it introduced them. However, it turns out that probably isn’t the case.

Spy shots have revealed a prototype of an Audi A6 Avant e-tron equipped with virtual mirrors undergoing testing on the road. Thus, Audi may offer camera-based digital mirrors on the A6 Avant e-tron, but only in select markets like the UK and Japan. The company may install a high-contrast OLED touchscreen sourced from Samsung Display at the upper-front corner of each front door. Virtual mirrors may help reduce blind spots and combat darkness during cloudy weather.

Interior

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.

Audi Q6 e-tron interior dashboard
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron should have an interior similar to the Audi Q6 e-tron (pictured). Image Source: Audi

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.

Audi Q6 e-tron passenger display
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron’s interior could consist of three displays, including a unit dedicated to the front passenger. Audi Q6 e-tron shown for reference. Image Source: Audi

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.

Specifications

Dimensions

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.

DimensionA6 Avant e-tron conceptAudi A6 AvantDifference
Length4.96 m (195.3 in.)4.94 m (194.5 in.)0.02 m (0.8 in.)
Width1.96 m (77.2 in.)1.89 m (74.4 in.)0.07 m (2.4 in.)
Height1.44 m (56.7 in.)1.47 m (57.9 in.)-0.03 m (-1.2 in.)
Source: Audi

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.

Acceleration

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.”

Charging

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).

Production & Release Date

We expect the production of the Audi A6 Avant e-tron to take place alongside the Audi A6 e-tron in Ingolstadt. According to a report Handelsblatt (via Electrive) published on November 18, 2023, the electric sedan will enter production in Week 45 of 2024 (November 4-10, 2024). Thus, we expect the electric station wagon to start rolling off the assembly line in 2025.

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. Based on the estimated SOP timeline, we, too, expect 2025 to be the electric station wagon’s release date.

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)
Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept Auto Guangzhou 2022
Audi is globally showcasing the A6 Avant e-tron concept to build up excitement for its production version. Seen here is the car from its Chinese debut at Auto Guangzhou 2022 on December 30, 2022. Image: Audi China

Hoffmann later 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.

Audi RS6 Avant e-tron

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 being tested. 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 RS 6 Avant Daytona Grey front three quarter
The RS6 (pictured) is presently sold only with the station wagon (Avant) body style, so Audi may lock in the same format with the electric RS6. Image: Audi

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.

The potential RS6 Avant e-tron would have a distinctive interior compared to the gas-powered RS6 sold today. In an interview that Audi published on October 16, 2023, Lichte revealed that the company is working on a new interior for RS models and it will look radically different from RS models with an internal combustion engine. The ambiance of the cabin, the design of seats, the sitting position, etc. will all be different. In fact, Audi designed the new interior of its RS EVs before it even came up with a concept for the future base (regular) model. Thus, it would be a new RS interior de-contented for regular models in the EV era, not a normal interior upgraded for RS models like now.

A beautiful form calls for functionality or else the whole thing’s for the birds. However, large track width has been and will continue to be by far the most important characteristic for our clientele. In other words, the brawny look that clearly distinguishes the RS models from their respective base models.

Marc Lichte, Head of Design, Audi (Internal interview published on October 16, 2023)

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!

Also Read Audi E6 (Audi A6 e-tron) Sedan: Everything we know

TopElectricSUV says

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