Update: ‘‘Engined’ Audi A6 to continue for another generation’ section updated.
Audi’s next wave of EVs will include a model that poses a serious threat to the Tesla Model S – the Audi E6. The production version of the Audi A6 e-tron concept from Auto Shanghai 2021, the differently named Audi A6 electric would compete with even the Lucid Air, Mercedes EQE, Nio ET7, and BMW i5. Here’s everything we know about it so far:
So far, the vehicle has only been shown in concept form. It’s possible that the production version may not take the standard Audi A6 e-tron nameplate. Audi may differentiate its PPE-based cars with different nomenclature. TopElectricSUV accessed a publicly issued Chinese government document that suggests that the Audi A6 e-tron will be called the Audi E6L in China. In other markets, it would be called the Audi E6.
Audi E6 Design
Sascha Heyde, the Team Manager – Exterior Design, Audi AG, stated that approximately 95% of the concept’s design elements would make it to the production model, according to an Autocar report dated July 2021. The designer referred to the Audi E6 as the “next evolutionary step” in Audi’s design journey. Heyde and his team focused on the electric sedan’s width and length and not the height. The approach allowed Audi designers to open up ample space for the battery pack between the axles, thanks to an elongated wheelbase.
At first glance, the proportions of the Audi A6 e-tron are reminiscent of the Audi A6 and A7 range. However, the electric Audi appears far more aerodynamic compared to its gas-powered siblings—it has a drag coefficient of 0.22, competing with the likes of the Mercedes EQE (0.22 Cd) and the Lucid Air (0.20 Cd). The slippery surfaces on the sedan will minimize drag and improve range. Audi says its fine-tuning in the wind tunnel has helped it maintain an organic shape that’s also functional and elegant.
Changes from the concept
Spy pictures of the production Audi A6 Electric/Audi E6 suggest that it may feature changes at the front like modified headlamps, larger lower air intake, and new side air inlets. The SUV-style split headlamps look more practical in the final version, consisting of a wider lower section, which houses the high beam and low beam lights. The DRL itself looks new, too, being more of a light band than a cluster of jewel-like lights divided into three rows like in the concept.
We doubt the production car has the concept’s high-resolution LED projectors to project visual greetings or warnings on the ground. Another change on the sides is the usage of traditional glass-based mirrors instead of camera-based virtual mirrors. Audi seems to have used fixed flush door handles with an electronic release button hidden underneath them on the production car.
At the rear, the Audi A6 Electric’s tail lights are a little less flashy. They look slightly smaller in width, not extending out as much as those of the concept.
Audi E6’s Technical Project Manager Johannes Arneth stated that the brand “really wanted to stress” EV’s coherence to the A6 family. He added that the A7 was “independent enough for its own name,” as per the Autocar magazine report. Moreover, Audi has said that the vehicle would have a high ground clearance and low ride height, a characteristic of the PPE. However, the most exciting aspect of the EV is its lighting. It’s a festival of lights on wheels.
The interior of the Audi E6 will be cleaner and more spacious than the current A6. It should feature a sleeker dashboard with discreetly integrated air vents, a large free-standing touchscreen in landscape orientation, and a widescreen digital instrument cluster. Right beside the dashboard, the car could feature a touchscreen integrated into the door panel on both sides, meant for displaying the feed of the car’s camera-based virtual exterior mirrors.
The steering wheel could be the same new-generation unit found in the Q4 e-tron, available in two versions, one completely round and one with a flattened top and bottom. As there’d be no transmission tunnel in the car, Audi will be able to equip a deep and very spacious transmission tunnel. We expect a flat floor as well, which would offer customers more space and comfort.
Volkswagen Group has confirmed an Android Automotive Operation System-based infotainment for the Audi Q6 e-tron, and it should use the same system in the Audi E6. The Group’s software division, CARIAD, is developing a new premium software platform 1.2 (E³ 1.2), for upcoming Audi and Porsche models. The company plans to use Android Automotive OS’ Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version, which will not include Google Services as standard. They may even have a third-party app store instead of the Google Play store that all of us are used to.
CARIAD is facing major challenges with the new software development, which has pushed back the release of Audi and Porsche’s PPE platform-based cars. It’s possible that the E6 is also among the models facing a delay in the launch.
It (E³ 1.2) 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)
Audi A6 Electric specifications
Based on the PPE platform
The Audi E6 will be based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) jointly developed with Porsche. While the platform offers rear-wheel-drive capability as standard, customers will be able to choose an AWD option, thanks to a second motor on the front axle (PSM or ASM depending on the model) for improved grip and performance. The concept’s two electric motors can deliver a combined output of 470 hp and 800 Nm.
Audi expects the entry-level configuration of the production version to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in less than seven seconds.
The above-mentioned Chinese government document suggests three variants internally called Entry, Main I, and Main II. The Entry variant would be able to sprint from 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds, while the other two would be able to do the same in 6.5 and 5.7 seconds, respectively. The top speed would be electronically limited to 130 mph on all models. The Audi A6 e-tron concept measures 195.2 inches long, 77.1 inches wide, and 56.7 inches tall, which is in the same ballpark as the A6/A7. Its wheelbase might be between 117 and 121.2 inches long.
The PPE is highly scalable, making it suitable for different vehicle segments. Even though shorter than the MLB platform, it will allow improved interior space because of short overhangs and an elongated wheelbase. Expect the Audi E6 wheelbase to be longer than the A6L’s 119-inch distance between the axles. Moreover, with no transmission tunnel, legroom would be superior. The Audi E6 may also come with adaptive air suspension and rear-axle steering.
A possible flaw in the Chinese government document was the unusually high 0.318 Cd for the E6L. Audi has released a figure of 0.22 for the concept, and we expect the production model to be nearly as aerodynamic. Additionally, the boot space of the electric Audi was rated at 550 liters as per the Chinese data.
|Aspect\Specification||Audi E6L Entry (Standard Range RWD)||Audi E6L Main I (Long Range RWD)||Audi E6L Main II (Long Range AWD)|
|Battery Pack Capacity||83 kWh||100 kWh||100 kWh|
|Range||341.7 miles (550 km)||372.8 miles (600 km)||372.8 miles (600 km)|
|0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) Acceleration Time||7.6 seconds||6.5 seconds||5.7 seconds|
|Fast-charging Time (5-80% SoC)||Less than 25 minutes||Less than 25 minutes||Less than 25 minutes|
|Drag Coefficient||0.318 Cd||0.318 Cd||0.318 Cd|
|Weight||2,301 kg||2,502 kg||2,502 kg|
As you see above, the weights of the long-range RWD variant (single motor) and the long-range AWD (dual motors) version are the same. The final specifications could be different as an AWD set-up naturally increases weight. The above-mentioned figures could be internal targets. The AWD variant would pack more horsepower, but its range would be less, while the RWD would maximize range with less (but largely adequate) horsepower.
Audi says the A6 e-tron concept’s battery pack has an energy storage capacity of around 100 kWh, enough to provide a WLTP range of more than 700 km (435 miles). The operating voltage is 800 volts, enabling blazing fast charging speeds of up to 270 kW. The concept can charge from 5 to 80% in less than 25 minutes. Ten minutes of plugging into a DC charger can add more than 300 km (186 miles) worth of charge.
Audi RS6 e-tron
Audi’s Head of Design Marc Lichte has confirmed that the RS6 e-tron sedan will be unveiled in 2024, Top Gear reported in a story published on January 27, 2023. He told the British publication that the RS6 e-tron will get suitable exterior styling updates, larger alloy wheels, and a wider track that will not only enhance the car’s stance but also make it look sportier than the standard A6 Electric. Lichte went on to say “I tell you, you will love our RS EVs.”
I presented these (future RS models) to 1,000 managers of our group in Berlin. And they went crazy when they saw the images and the models on the stage.Marc Lichte, Head of Design at Audi, to Top Gear magazine
While Audi hasn’t revealed any specifications, the RS6 e-tron would utilize the same 800V PPE architecture with AWD as the dual-motor A6 Electric. However, the powertrain’s higher state of tune will see the 0-62 mph sprint being achieved sooner, mostly in under 4 seconds.
Ingolstadt, followed by Neckarsulm
Citing an Audi spokeswoman, Der Spiegel reported in December 2021 that Audi’s Ingolstadt factory would begin manufacturing the Audi Q6 e-tron from 2023, and the “successor to the A6, the E6,” will join later. The report adds that the Audi Neckarsulm plant will also manufacture the E6, although in the second generation.
The Volkswagen Group had confirmed earlier that the production of the second-gen Audi E6 will be held in Neckarsulm, Germany:
Neckarsulm (plant) would be electrified, we are preparing the Audi vehicle family E6 and the successor generation.Dr. Herbert Diess, former CEO, Volkswagen Group (Planning Round 70 announcement on 10 December 2021)
Chinese model will be made locally
FAW, Volkswagen Group’s local partner in China, has established a new entity called Audi FAW New Energy Company for manufacturing EVs in the country. The joint venture is presently constructing a new factory with over 150,000 units of annual manufacturing capacity in Changchun, the capital of Jilin province. Operations are expected to begin here by the end of 2024. The PPE-based Audi EVs will be made here.
Audi E6 Release Date
Audi is likely to launch the E6 in Europe after the Q6 e-tron in 2024. There are no credible reports or official confirmation about the electric sedan’s arrival in North America. Given the dwindling sales of its gas version (A6) in the U.S., Audi may think the E6 is the solution to regain strength in the segment.
Sales in the U.S.
Overall Audi sales in America
Audi ended 2022 on a positive note. The company company sold 16,177 units of its five EVs: e-tron, e-tron Sportback, e-tron GT, Q4 e-tron, and Q4 Sportback e-tron, recording a 47% year-over-year growth (2021: 10,985 units). Total sales declined 5% year-over-year to 186,875 units (2021: 196,038 units).
A6: Poor sales send it to 9th position in Audi family
Audi A6 sales have been declining in the recent past. The A6 was 9th on the list of top-selling Audis in the U.S. in 2022. It was outperformed by almost all other models, including the e-tron (7,503 units). Audi of America sold only 6,003 A6s in 2022. Compared to 2021 (9,544 units), that marked a 37% year-over-year decline. Audi will have to create a compelling package for the E6 to succeed in the U.S.
‘Engined’ Audi A6 to continue for another generation
Despite the sales slump for Audi A6 in the U.S., Audi will introduce another generation of the A6 as electrification hasn’t accelerated to a sustainable level in main markets like the USA, Europe, and China. Markets like Russia and the Middle East also show great potential for ICE models. auto motor und sport’s report dated March 23, 2022, states that Audi may continue the gas-powered A6 till 2032. The report adds that launching the all-electric A6 with PHEV and MHEV variants is a viable solution.
Meanwhile, Audi is to embark on a rebranding exercise, according to an Auto Express report published on March 6, 2023. The British report stated that the brand will be assigning even-numbered names for EVs, and odd-numbered names for its combustion-engine (ICE) models. Therefore, the ICE-powered A4 and A6 models are to become the A5 and A7 respectively, Auto Express noted.
Volkswagen Group aims to sell 7 million PPE-based EVs by the end of the decade. A sizable portion of those sales will come from high-volume cars like the Audi E6, Audi Q6, Audi E4, and the Audi E3.
The Audi E6 (Audi A6 Electric) will be one of the brand’s most significant launches since the e-tron SUV in 2018. The new four-door electric car will be Ingolstadt’s long-awaited Tesla Model S rival, but only time will tell if it can be a “Tesla killer” as some Audi enthusiasts see it. This model will be the base for Audi’s next high-volume performance car as well, which will be the electric alternative to the RS 7/RS 6 Avant. It will be tough for Audi since its German competitors look strong and will likely set new benchmarks by the time the E6 comes out.
Also Read: Audi A6 Avant e-tron (Audi E6 Avant): Everything we know
Audi A6 Electric (Audi E6) FAQs
What is the Audi A6 Electric release date?
The Audi E6 will likely be launched in 2024. It will also be sold in China, in a long-wheelbase spec.
Which models will be the Audi E6 rivals?
The Tesla Model S, Lucid Air, BMW i5, Mercedes EQE, and the Nio ET7 will be the Audi A6 Electric rivals.
What will be the Audi A6 Electric’s price?
The Audi A6 Electric could start around EUR 65,000 (USD 69,732).
Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the Audi A6 Electric.