Audi slips the covers off drop-dead gorgeous all-new, all-electric A6 “sedan”
JOHANNESBURG - Audi is pushing ahead with its “e-volution” towards electric mobility and has unveiled its A6 e-tron concept ahead of its official premiere at the Auto Shanghai 2021 motor show in China later this month.
Unlike the e-tron GT sports car that shares its gizzards with the Porsche Taycan, the new A6 and subsequent luxury EVs from Audi will be built on the company’s new “premium platform electric,” or PPE for short.
Audi says, beginning in late 2022, its first production cars in the C- and later B-segment will be built with PPE technology.
A6 badge to be the new symbol of (EV) luxury
You might have expected the latest luxury EV from Audi to sport A8 branding, but this car comes with an A6 emblem, which Audi says represents its place in the brand’s luxury-class model series. So while it will compete with Merc’s EQS, it’s not a luxury flagship just yet.
The A6 Concept represents an entirely new design concept – the only thing it has in common with the current A6 are its dimensions. The 4.96m long, 1.96m wide and 1.44m high body is designed as a Sportback instead of a sedan.
More than 700km on a single charge
According to Audi, PPE technology will ensure that what the car’s design lines imply is actually translated into dynamic driving performance and everyday suitability befitting its use as a primary vehicle.
Specifically, this means that depending on the selected drive system and model version, an Audi A6 e-tron is expected to boast a range of more than 700km (based on the WLTP standard) in the future – and the most powerful members of the family will sprint from 0 to 100km/h in less than four seconds.
Large 22-inch wheels and short overhangs, the flat cabin, and the wide coupé roof arch give the vehicle proportions distinctly reminiscent of a sports car. The absence of hard edges results in smooth transitions between convex and concave surfaces throughout the body, as well as in soft shadows. The Audi A6 e-tron concept appears monolithic, as if carved from a single block of marble, particularly when viewed from the side.
Cutting-edge individualised lighting technology
The car’s flat headlights and tail=lights are slim and flush with the overall composition of the body lines. Digital Matrix LED and digital OLED technology makes it possible to achieve maximum brightness and a wide range of features even with a minimal surface area, while offering customisable light signatures.
Three small, high-resolution LED projectors are built into each side of the body, transforming the ground beneath them into a stage when the doors are opened – small extended dynamic lighting effects greet the occupants with messages in their own language.
The combination of safety features and aesthetic design has always been of particular importance to Audi. That’s why the small, high-resolution projectors also display warning symbols on the ground – to warn a bike rider that the car door is about to open, for example.
In addition, the projections around the vehicle allow its communication range to be extended beyond the vehicle for the first time. With the help of intelligent connectivity in the vehicle, the A6 e-tron concept provides information to other road users with visual signals.
High ground clearance and low ride height
The PPE is designed exclusively for battery-electric drive systems and can therefore take full advantage of all the benefits of this technology. The key element of the future PPE fleet is a battery module between the axles that holds around 100 kWh of energy in the A6 e-tron concept.
The use of the entire vehicle base makes it possible to achieve a relatively flat layout for the battery. This means that, for the first time, it will be possible to use this single platform for both vehicles with a high ground clearance and vehicles with a decidedly dynamic, flat architecture – such as the Audi A6 e-tron concept – without any changes to the basic architecture.
The Audi A6 e-tron concept’s two electric motors are capable of delivering a total output of 350kW and a torque of 800 Nm. The front wheels of the Audi A6 e-tron concept are connected via a five-link axle specially optimised for electric vehicles, with a multi-link axle in the rear. The concept car features Audi air suspension with adaptive dampers.
Fast charging, high range
The heart of the Audi A6 e-tron concept’s drive technology – and that of all future PPE models – is the 800-volt charging technology. Like the Audi e-tron GT before it, this ensures that the Audi A6 e-tron concept’s battery can be charged with up to 270kW in a very short time at fast-charging stations. This revolutionary technology will enter the high-volume mid-range and luxury segments with the PPE for the very first time.
Together with a range of more than 700km – depending on the selected drive system and power output – the Audi A6 e-tron concept is said to be suitable for use as a primary vehicle.
Audi South Africa has not commented on whether a vehicle such as an all-electric A6 would be considered for the South African market.