New Audi A6 Avant e-tron spied as electric estate car standoff draws closer
The all-electric Audi A6 Avant e-tron will go head-to-head with the BMW i5 Touring and has already been previewed by the A6 e-tron Avant concept
The all-new Audi A6 Avant e-tron has been snapped testing once again as the German brand readies its first electric estate car for battle against the eagerly awaited BMW i5 Touring, with both set to be revealed next year.
The A6 Avant e-tron will sit alongside a five-door Sportback version, and both will be available in hot S6 form. The new A6 e-tron models sit on the same Premium Platform Electric (PPE) underpinnings as Audi’s forthcoming Q6 e-tron SUV, which has been co-developed with Porsche and will share a considerable amount with the new Porsche Macan EV.
The platform utilises an 800V electronic architecture that enables rapid charging at up to 270kW. In the Q6 e-tron, this allows for a 5 to 80 per cent charge in around 25 minutes, while plugging in for 10 minutes can provide an extra 186 miles of range.
If the A6 Avant uses the same drivetrain as the closely related Q6 e-tron, it’ll feature a dual-motor setup for all-wheel drive and draw power from a 100kWh battery pack. The 100kWh unit will stand as the largest battery offered on both the A6 e-tron and A6 Avant e-tron, but lower-specification models with a single motor option are also on the cards. Fitted with the most efficient combination of powertrain elements, we expect up to 400 miles should be possible on a charge, judging by the Q6 e-tron’s claimed 370-mile range.
The base Q6 e-tron has 396bhp, but Audi will also launch a high performance SQ6 model with 510bhp, with these figures also expected to be mirrored by the A6 Avant e-tron and its S6 version.
There’s potential for a bespoke-bodied, range-topping RS6 e-tron to follow in the next few years, but the prototypes we’ve caught glimpses of so far are the A6 or S6 Avant, both of which will share the same styling and bodywork.
The A6 Avant e-tron’s styling closely follows that of the forthcoming Sportback, featuring a new design language based closely on the A6 e-tron concepts. At the front, there’s a large ‘Singleframe’ grille that incorporates contrasting black graphics and side cooling vents for the motors, battery and brakes.
The two-piece headlights are similar to those already seen on the Q6 e-tron. The top-mounted elements are incredibly slim and contain both the configurable daytime lighting signatures and the indicators. Underneath these, larger digital matrix LED units will be integrated into the front bumper featuring Audi’s latest lighting technology.
The sleek body features muscular haunches and slim door handles, along with a set of digital side mirrors like those found on the Q8 e-tron luxury SUV. In typical Audi style, the rear window is heavily raked, and the camouflage looks to be concealing a full-width OLED light bar that’ll stretch across the tailgate.
In typical Audi style, the rear window is heavily raked, with a full width OLED tail-light bar, that can display a variety of 3D light signatures and graphics, situated across the tailgate.
As a larger model in Audi’s EV range, we expect the road car to be available with chassis hardware such as air suspension and adaptive dampers, as well as elements like rear-wheel steering on the high-end specifications.
The A6 Avant e-tron will arrive in 2024, sometime after the launch of the saloon-esque Sportback and the new Q6 before that. And for those not yet ready to go electric, the existing combustion-engined A6 models are expected to live on under the A7 moniker, much like Audi is set to do with the smaller ICE-powered A5 Sportback and Avant, which will also make their debuts in 2024.
Until recently, the choice of zero-emissions wagons was limited to either the budget-friendly MG5 EV, or the considerably pricier Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo. But it appears more brands have come round to the idea, as more practical versions of the Peugeot E-308 and Vauxhall Astra Electric are on their way. Volkswagen and Skoda are also set to launch electric estate cars, while Volvo, who recently axed estate cars from its UK line-up, are considering whether to launch one.
Audi A6 e-tron Concept
In 2022, Audi revealed the A6 Avant e-tron Concept that will bear a close resemblance to the production car that will land in 2024. The A6 Avant e-tron concept is a more practical iteration of the A6 e-tron concept executive saloon revealed the previous year.
The car sits on the same Premium Platform Electric (PPE) platform as the forthcoming Q6 e-tron SUV (and the A6 e-tron production car) which has been co-developed with Porsche. It utilises an 800V electronic architecture that enables rapid charging at up to 270kW, meaning a 5 to 80 per cent charge takes less than 25 minutes, while plugging in for 10 minutes can provide an extra 186 miles of range.
As per the A6 e-tron concept, the Avant revealed here is powered by a battery that holds “around 100kWh of energy”, and this will be true of the production version too. The c. 100kWh unit will stand as the largest battery offered on both the A6 e-tron and Avant e-tron, and despite a slightly higher drag coefficient than the saloon Audi claims up to 435 miles should be possible on a charge from the Avant e-tron concept. Expect this figure to remain for the production model.
This concept features a dual-motor set-up for quattro all-wheel drive and a total of 469bhp and 800Nm. This powertrain will also be offered when the car goes on sale in a few years time and delivers a 0-62mph time of “less than four seconds.”
However, Audi has confirmed that a less powerful and more affordable single-motor model will also be offered; this will serve up the most driving range in the line-up and should still deliver a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds.
The A6 Avant e-tron concept’s styling closely follows that of the saloon version revealed last year, with a design language that previews forthcoming electric Audis. At the front, there’s a large ‘Singleframe’ grille that incorporates contrasting black graphics and side cooling vents for the motors, battery and brakes, with an illuminated Audi badge.
The headlights are incredibly slim, digital matrix LED items that use projection technology. Similar to the A6 e-tron concept, when parked this prototype Avant can display videos onto a wall to allow passengers to play games, for example. Numerous LED projectors around the car also allow signals, messages and lighting effects to be shone onto the ground - including information on direction changes related to indicator inputs to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. The door mirrors are slender, digital units.
The A6 Avant e-tron concept is fitted with a set of 22-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, and the clean, uncluttered body surfacing is a departure from current Audis, with a rising waistline and muscular haunches along the side of the car. There’s more black accents for the sills and A-pillars, which are highlighted by a silver trim strip that extends along the roofline to the rear spoiler.
The rear window is heavily tapered, and there’s a full width OLED tail-light bar that can display a variety of 3D light signatures and graphics. A deep rear diffuser funnels air from underneath the car and is painted gloss black, with contrasting silver accent trim.
This concept car features air suspension and adaptive dampers, which are expected to make their way to the eventual production model, and the new PPE underpinnings should help maximise space inside.
Audi did not reveal images of the concept’s interior, but the A6 Avant e-tron concept is nearly five metres long and 1.96 metres wide, with a relatively long wheelbase and short overhangs that provide more legroom for passengers, the brand says. As with other electric cars, the lack of a transmission tunnel should add to the spacious feel.
Audi hasn’t detailed the A6 Avant e-tron’s boot capacity - key to any estate car - but it is set to be a more versatile machine than the saloon, and the floor-mounted battery pack should allow for a flat load area. The production car will also have a front boot for extra carrying space.
Now read our in-depth review of the Audi Q4 e-tron...