Audi’s new all-electric A6 e-tron has been spied in camouflage ahead of its reveal.
We’ve already seen the Audi A6 e-tron in concept form at the 2021 Shanghai Motor Show. This, however, is our first look at the production model – which will rival the likes of the Tesla Model S and upcoming BMW i5. These spy shots indicate that the final model will maintain the same profile as the concept car, with a sloping roofline and fastback rear hatch – similar to the A7 Sportback.
A big change over the concept is visible at the front where we see a split headlight design rather than the concept’s single unit. There’s also a blanked-off grille in Audi’s typical trapezoidal shape with air ducts beneath the headlights. On the concept this allowed an impressively low drag coefficient of just 0.22Cd and we would expect something similarly slippery from the production car.
Instead of the concept’s rearview cameras, this prototype features more traditional wing mirrors, although we could see the digital version appear as an option. There’s also a crease low down on the A6 e-tron’s side – a prominent design element which is carried over from the concept.
At the back, the rear lights look to have changed drastically over those on the concept, there’s no longer a full-length light bar split by an illuminated badge. Instead, there are quad circular lights unlike anything seen on the current Audi range so it’s likely this design is just for testing purposes. Below, the test car sports a similar diffuser shape that’s a little less aggressive-looking than the concept’s.
The A6 e-tron is expected to hit the market in 2023, and it’ll be based on Audi’s new PPE Premium Platform Electric architecture for electric cars. It’s the first Audi on PPE we’ve seen, although it’ll be the second model to arrive because Audi’s Q6 e-tron is expected to go on sale later this year using that technology.
The new PPE architecture allows what Audi calls “flat” cars – think sedans, coupes and wagons – rather than just SUVs and higher-riding hatchbacks like those we have seen on the VW Group’s smaller MEB electric car platform. Audi’s own Q4 e-tron SUV and Q4 e-tron Sportback use that technology.
The PPE platform’s clever packaging allows for a flat floor, which means a lower roofline is possible without compromising space inside, and the A6 e-tron is a strong example of this concept, according to Audi.
The production model will form part of the A6 family as well, but it’s not thought that the rest of the range will be updated to reflect the A6 e-tron’s styling, so while there will be an electric alternative badged A6, it will still keep some distance from Audi’s ICE and plug-in hybrid executive saloon line-up.
The PPE platform features a specially optimised five-link front suspension set-up, with a multi-link axle at the rear, both of which are controlled by adaptive air suspension.
The German brand hasn’t revealed any info on boot space yet, but given the PPE platform’s flexibility, with the wheels pushed to the extremes of the car’s bodywork to maximise packaging, the A6 e-tron should be the most spacious and practical member of the A6 family when it joins the line-up. There’s also an A6 e-tron Avant estate model coming that should have even more carrying capacity.
Audi says the PPE platform houses its battery in the floor between the front and rear axles. The A6 e-tron concept uses a 100kWh battery, which gives the car a range of “more than 700km”. So the production model could offer the highest range of any electric Audi yet.