Update: ‘Interior’ section updated.
Audi’s next wave of EVs will include an Audi A6 Electric, a model that poses a serious threat to the Tesla Model S. This car will be the production version of the Audi A6 e-tron concept from Auto Shanghai 2021 and will compete with the Lucid Air, Mercedes EQE, Nio ET7, and BMW i5. Here’s everything we know about it so far:
Audi has changed its nomenclature to give EVs a clear distinction from combustion models. The company uses even numbers for pure-electric models, and odd numbers for ICE versions.
We are currently restructuring our naming conventions. So, even numbers represent a BEV, uneven numbers represent an internal combustion engine or a PHEV. The start of the renaming has already kicked off. We changed the name of the e-tron to the Q8 e-tron.Markus Duesmann, CEO, Audi (2023 Audi Annual Media Conference on March 16, 2023)
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 A6 Electric 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.
Audi will likely offer Matrix LED technology for the headlights and second-gen OLED technology for the rear lights, both as options. The optional headlights may include next-gen daytime running lights, in which the front section features a precise prismatic structure and a metalized 3D trim surrounds them. As for the OLED rear lights, they don’t require additional reflectors, light guides, or optics, which makes them very efficient. They feature car-to-X communication, meaning they can communicate with the immediate environment.
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 suggest that it may feature changes at the front like modified headlights, larger lower air intake, and new side air inlets. The SUV-style split headlights 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 A6 Electric’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 A6 Electric will be cleaner and more spacious than the gasoline-driven A6. Its dashboard should feature a minimalist design, integrate low-lying and slim horizontal air vents, and form an edgy curve with the door panels. A ‘Softwrap’ covers the surfaces of various elements, including the entire cockpit, the center console, and the doors, giving occupants a sense of spaciousness and rich style.
Expect a digital stage on top, formed by an 11.9-inch Audi virtual cockpit, a 14.5-inch MMI touch display, a 10.9-inch MMI passenger display, and an augmented reality head-up display. The driver cockpit displays are OLED units positioned together to form one seamless panel possibly called ‘Audi MMI panoramic display.’
An interaction light LED light strip with a brightness of up to 1,200 cd may perform a welcome function, display the lock status of the vehicle, and visualize the dynamic turn signals, complementing the turn signals displayed in the Audi virtual cockpit. When inactive, it may merge into the contour light and appear in the same color. An 830-watt, 22-speaker, Bang & Olufsen sound system is also expected to be among the tech highlight on the inside.
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, Audi will be able to install a deep and spacious storage compartment. 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 A6 Electric. 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 co-developed by CARIAD and Harman Ignite instead of the Google Play store that all of us are used to.
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 A6 Electric 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.
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 A6 Electric wheelbase to be longer than the A6L’s 119-inch distance between the axles. Moreover, with no transmission tunnel, legroom would be superior.
The production A6 e-tron’s dimensions shouldn’t be far from the concept. 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. The wheelbase could be between 117 and 121 inches.
Adaptive air suspension
The Audi A6 Electric may come with adaptive air suspension, all-wheel steering, and torque vectoring. All three of these chassis systems could be standard in the higher-end configurations of the car.
The adaptive air suspension would iron out imperfections on poor roads, ensuring great ride comfort, while giving the driver the flexibility of firming up the ride when they feel up for a spirited drive on the well-built twisty roads.
All-wheel steering would engage the rear wheels also in the steering process. At low speeds, the rear wheels would turn in the opposite direction as the front wheels, reducing the turning circle, something customers would truly appreciate on narrow urban roads and in tight parking spots. At high speeds, the rear wheels would turn in the same direction, making turns smoother and increasing stability in swerving situations.
As for torque vectoring, an electronically controlled differential lock on the rear axle would vary the torque sent to each rear wheel as needed. For example, when making a particularly speedy turn into a curve, the outer wheel would get extra torque, while the inner wheel would be braked, thus improving the agility of the vehicle’s steering response and increasing driving stability.
TopElectricSUV accessed a publicly issued Chinese government document that suggests the A6 Electric’s drag coefficient is 0.318 Cd, which seems unusually high. 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.
Audi expects the entry-level configuration of the A6 e-tron to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in less than seven seconds.
The 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.
|Aspect\Specification||Audi A6 Electric Entry (Standard Range RWD)||Audi A6 Electric Main I (Long Range RWD)||Audi A6 Electric 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 AWD variant would pack more horsepower, but its range would be less, while the RWD would maximize range with less (but largely adequate) horsepower.
Charging & range
The A6 e-tron’s battery pack will likely have an energy storage capacity of 100 kWh (gross), enough to provide a WLTP range of more than 700 km (435 miles). The operating voltage will be 800 volts, enabling blazing-fast charging speeds of up to 270 kW. A 5-80% DC fast-charging session will likely take less than half an hour, probably just around 21 minutes. Plugging into a DC fast-charger for just 10 minutes may add 300 km (186 miles) worth of charge.
Audi is gradually building such a charging network, which currently consists of charging hubs in Nuremberg and Berlin in Germany, and Zurich in Switzerland. These company-owned DC fast-charging outlets already allow charging at 320 kW. Ionity and Electrify America’s widespread DC fast-charging network in Europe and the USA, respectively, allow charging compatible EVs at an even higher rate – 350 kW.
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 A6 Electric will join later. The report adds that the Audi Neckarsulm plant will also manufacture the new electric sedan, although in the second generation.
The Volkswagen Group had confirmed earlier that the production of the second-gen Audi A6 Electric will be held in Neckarsulm, Germany. Back then, the planned name for this model was ‘Audi E6.’
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. The PPE-based Audi EVs will be made here.
Audi has allocated three PPE-based EVs to the Changchun factory. Two of them will be “versions” of the Q6 e-tron and A6 e-tron, which will start rolling off the assembly line starting in late 2024.
Audi is likely to launch the A6 Electric 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 A6 Electric is the solution to regain strength in the segment.
Sales in the U.S.
In 2022, the A6 was 9th on the list of top-selling Audis in the U.S. 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.
In the first half of 2023, Audi delivered 3,520 units of the A6 in the U.S., 29% more than in H1 2022 (2,722 units). Despite the growth, the absolute sales figure is quite low for a period of six months. Audi will have to create a compelling package for the A6 Electric 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.
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 A6 Electric, Audi Q6 e-tron, Audi A4 electric, and the Audi compact EV.
The 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 A6 Electric comes out.
Audi A6 Electric FAQs
What is the Audi A6 Electric release date?
The Audi A6 Electric will likely be launched in 2024. It will also be sold in China, in a long-wheelbase spec.
Which models 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 71,394).
Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the Audi A6 Electric.