New Audi A6 Avant e-tron electric estate car concept unveiled
Near-production A6 Avant e-tron concept previews first electric estate from Audi, set for 2024 and featuring a new platform plus 270kW charging
Ever since Audi got into the electric-car game, diehard fans have been itching for the German marque to produce a zero-emissions take on one of its signature bodystyles: the ‘Avant’ estate. From 2024, it’ll be doing just that with the A6 Avant e-tron, previewed here in near-production concept car form.
The electric wagon is based on the A6 e-tron four-door saloon concept unveiled at the 2021 Auto Shanghai motor show, the production version of which will go on sale in 2023. That means it sits on the EV-dedicated 'Premium Platform Electric' (PPE) architecture co-developed by Audi and Porsche – but more on that later.
The A6 Avant e-tron concept is fitted with a roughly 100kWh battery and two electric motors – one on each axle – for quattro all-wheel-drive and a total power output of 469bhp and maximum torque of 800Nm. There are no range or performance figures for the zero-emissions estate concept, but it does feature an 800-volt charging system, just like the e-tron GT and Taycan. Thanks to this technology, the Avant e-tron can charge at up to 270kW when plugged into an ultra-rapid charging point – fast enough to add 186 miles of range in 10 minutes, or go from 5-80% capacity in less than 25 minutes.
Aerodynamics is a huge factor in getting maximum range out of an EV and reducing energy consumption, and the Avant e-tron’s 0.24 drag coefficient is just 0.02 units above that of the much sleeker A6 e-tron we saw last year. Some of the design elements that help airflow across the estate include a rear diffuser and spoiler, while the large air intakes at the front are for cooling the drivetrain, battery and brakes.
Other design elements include a blanked-off version of Audi’s single-frame grille design, 22-inch alloy wheels, short overhangs at the front and rear and cameras in place of door mirrors, like those found on the existing e-tron SUV. Inside, the Avant e-tron features a completely flat floor, which together with the long wheelbase and short overhangs, maximises cabin space and legroom.
Another piece of technology to make its way from the A6 e-tron saloon is the unique headlight design. These are fitted with a projector inside, so when charging, you and your passengers can play video games projected onto a wall outside, instead of sharing a screen inside. We’re still not convinced this will make production, but it’s certainly one way Audi could top the impressive infotainment setups in Mercedes EQE and Tesla Model S, which the A6 e-tron will go head-to-head with when it goes on sale.
Audi has confirmed its first production model on the PPE platform will be the Q6 e-tron SUV that we spied testing in January. Both this car and its electric Porsche Macan cousin are set to land in showrooms in 2023. The production A6 e-tron will also arrive in 2023, with the Avant estate following just a year later.
Audi says the A6 e-tron models will have a range of up to 435 miles, with the most potent variants capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in less than four seconds. Those versions will get dual-motor setups for quattro all-wheel-drive, while the entry-level, rear-drive models will do 0-62mph in closer to seven seconds.
We expect those particular stats to apply to the standard A6 e-tron that’s launching first, but Audi does claim the figures for the saloon and estate only deviate slightly from one another. All models based on the PPE platform will also get the 800-volt electrical system for ultra-rapid charging.
We also know that the PPE platform will in time be used to underpin a series of high-riding electric SUVs, as well as saloon, estate and 'Sportback' hatchback models. The brand has suggested it could be used for smaller B-segment cars as well; perhaps a zero-emissions equivalent to the A1 supermini or Q2 compact crossover.
Audi is set to unveil a city-focused electric SUV concept called the Urbansphere later this year, which could give rise to a compact EV based on the PPE platform. Meanwhile, the brand’s Grandsphere concept from 2021 gave us a hint at what an electric Audi A8 limousine might look like.
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