Very Close to Production
While the A6 E-Tron currently enjoys status as a concept, Audi reports what you see is “95 percent” production intent. The sleek new sheetmetal shows off the latest evolution of Audi’s design language; that includes the new “inverted face” front end, so named because it inverts the traditional dark grille area and body-color front bumper treatment of internal-combustion vehicles. This signature will make its way to all of its future electric models, we’re told. The A6 E-Tron also features headlights with customizable rows of LEDs that Audi says customers can configure to display a personal daytime-running-light signature—local regulations permitting, of course.
In profile, the most striking aspect of the concept car is that it looks more like an A7 than it does an A6. Credit the fastback roofline chosen for its style and aerodynamic profile, which flows smartly rearward to tuck neatly under the trunklid spoiler. The rear end’s signature touch is a full-length OLED taillamp complete with an Audi logo that functions as a center high-mount brake light. The slipperiness isn’t just visual: The A6 E-Tron concept has an impressively low 0.22 cD, just 0.02 higher than the, uh, unconventional-looking Mercedes-Benz EQS.
Other unique flourishes include welcome lights that double as door-opening warnings to pedestrians, and turn signals that can project arrows on to the ground. Audis are known for their interior quality and style as much as anything else, but we’ll all have to remain patient regarding what’s inside the A6 E-Tron concept: Its interior will be revealed at a later date. While this electric sedan shares its overall dimensions with the current gas-powered A6, the automaker says that the A6 E-Tron concept has more passenger space due to the inherent packaging advantages of an electric powertrain.
What Platform Does the A6 E-Tron Concept Use?
Underpinning the sleek A6 EV is a new platform co-developed with Porsche. Dubbed Premium Platform Electric, or PPE, it will underpin all electric Audis—as well as Porsches and Bentleys—for the foreseeable future. This modular platform supports single-motor rear-drive and dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrains, and is capable of up to 270-kW charging speeds. That’s about 80 kW less than initially promised, but still 20 kW more than the quickest Tesla Supercharger. Although the A6 E-Tron concept is the first vehicle unveiled on the new platform, it won’t be first to market—that honor will belong to the yet to be revealed 2023 Audi Q6 E-Tron.
The production A6 E-Tron will be available with rear- or all-wheel drive, likely with single- or dual motors. The concept exemplifies the latter layout, its two motors producing a total of 469 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, splitting the performance difference between the current Audi S6 and RS6. Unlike the E-Tron GT, we expect the A6 E-Tron Concept to have a single-speed automatic transmission instead of a two-speed unit. In terms of acceleration, Audi says its concept can accelerate from 0-60 mph in under four seconds.
Thanks to its 100-kWh battery pack, the A6 E-Tron Concept claims more than 435 miles on a charge—albeit as measured on the rather optimistic European WLTP test. For comparison purposes, the 2021 Audi E-Tron SUV is WLTP-rated at 248 miles of range, but its EPA rating is 222 miles. Expect the production version of the A6 E-Tron to score north of 300 miles on the EPA cycle when it goes on sale here in 2024. Assuming you can find an Electrify America station capable of charging at that 270-kW max, 10 minutes of charging is said to add 186 miles of range. Juicing the battery pack from 5 to 80 percent requires as little as 25 minutes on said charger, according to Audi.
When can I buy an A6 E-Tron? How much will it cost?
Audi will reveal the 2024 Audi A6 E-Tron production car late next year, before sliding it into dealerships sometime in 2023. Pricing, as you’d expect, is far from set, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the single-motor A6 E-Tron start around $55,000 before government incentives. In the meantime, the current gas-burning A6 will soldier on for a while, receiving regular updates even as it’s joined—and no doubt eventually supplanted—by its all-new electric sibling.