It’s been nearly a year since the A6 e-tron concept made its debut in Shanghai, but Audi has finally made a version that we all knew it was going to make – the A6 Avant e-tron concept, to give it its full title. Just like the original show car, the electric wagon presages a production model that will be introduced sometime in the near future.
The formula is incredibly simple – take the sedan (which, confusingly, Audi has called a Sportback) and stretch the roofline all the way towards the rear of the car, giving the car a more practical and enthusiast-friendly look. The upswept beltline has been straightened out and now sharply intersects the strong D-pillars, while the new black roof emphasises the chrome window strip that flows neatly into the rear spoiler.
The rest of the four-door’s relatively handsome – if slightly plump – design has been retained, with familiar cues that include the closed-off “singleframe” grille with a black surround, split headlights (slimmer units up top, larger projectors integrated with the corner air intakes), prominent front and rear haunches, black side inlays, tessellated full-width OLED taillights and massive rear diffuser.
However, there have been some detail changes made, such as new L-shaped front bumper frames, increased slats in the corner inlets, a revised grille pattern and darker Neptune Valley grey paint. At the rear, the diffuser has been made even more pronounced with larger side channels and silver accents. The huge 22-inch alloy wheels also gain a new flat-faced design.
Audi has paid particular attention to the headlights, which feature digital matrix LED technology. The three high-resolution upper projectors can not only create a dynamic lighting effect (along with welcome messages) on the ground below when the doors are opened, but they can also display warning symbols. For example, it can warn a bike rider when a door is about to be opened.
There are a further four projectors that handle the turn signals, hidden in the aforementioned corner intakes. The headlights can be adapted for different regions and approvals if needed, and they can even project a video game onto a wall when the car is being charged.
Another area of focus is aerodynamics, with the Avant achieving a drag coefficient of 0.24, only slightly more than the Sportback’s 0.22. The smooth front and body sides and the use of side-view cameras – first seen on the e-tron SUV – have obviously helped in this regard.
Audi has not released any photos of the car’s interior, but it showed us a sketch during the reveal of the Sportback, revealing the large instrument and infotainment displays and clean horizontal dashboard that flows into the doors. Expect the production version to be very similar.
Under the skin, the Sportback and Avant ride on the same modular Premium Platform Electric (PPE), developed in conjunction with Porsche and featuring a long wheelbase and an under-floor battery pack. Audi models built on this platform will feature either a single motor at the rear or twin motors on either end. The concept uses the latter and produces a total of 350 kW (476 PS) and 800 Nm of torque.
So equipped, the A6 e-tron is claimed to be able to get from zero to 100 km/h in well under four seconds. The car also comes with a battery capacity of around 100 kWh, providing a range of up to 700 km. With an 800-volt electrical architecture, the Audi can support up to 270 kW of DC fast charging, filling the battery up from five to 80% in under 25 minutes and adding 300 km of range with just ten minutes of charging.
The A6 e-tron also comes with air suspension with adaptive dampers and a specially-developed five-link front axle; a multilink setup can be found at the rear. No word yet on when the car will enter production, but Audi says the first PPE models will go on sale next year.
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