The Audi A6 e-tron Concept Previews The Next-Gen Model On Pure EV Platform: News

An EV won't immediately replace the conventional A6, but this foreshadows where the lineup's going

The Audi A6 e-tron Concept Previews The Next-Gen Model On Pure EV Platform: News
The next-gen Audi A6 e-tron concept rides on an all-new, bespoke electric platform called “Premium Platform Electric (PPE)”. (Photos: Audi)

Meet Audi’s next all-electric model.

Hot on the heels of the sleek and sporty e-tron GT and the Q4 e-tron reveals, the Audi A6 e-tron concept outlines the brand’s plan for the next generation. Naturally, the future is electric, and while some exact details aren’t available just yet, this debut at Auto Shanghai 2021 is a clearer sign of what to expect in the next couple years. More specifically, the A6 e-tron should reach U.S. customers by the end of 2023, while production vehicles on the brand’s new platform will enter production in the second half of 2022.

Audi calls that platform “Premium Platform Electric”, or PPE, a modular layout it co-developed with Porsche. The “modular” part, as ever, is crucial, as it can underpin a high-riding crossover (like the next-gen Macan) as well as a lower-slung model like the A6. Unlike the conventional, more traditional A6 models of the past, this new concept adopts fastback-like styling akin to the A7. That said, it’s not as radical as, say, the e-tron GT. At 195 inches long, 77 inches wide and just over 56 inches, it’s fashionably longer, lower and wider than the old sedan, but it’s right in the same ball park as the Tesla Model S.

A6 e-tron specs are subject to change, but likely not much

One of the critical elements to encouraging more widespread EV adoption is performance on par or superior to gasoline cars. Tesla’s the current shining example of that philosophy in action, though Audi has ambitious plans with the production A6 e-tron. Bear in mind, since we’re only at the concept stage, some of these figures could change over the development cycle.

Starting with performance, the Audi A6 e-tron concept uses two electric motors. Audi claims they produce up to 469 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque working in tandem. With that sort of power, the anticipated 0-60 time is “less than four seconds”, though the company promises even the less powerful versions won’t be too far off that mark. Fortunately, it’s fairly straightforward to get to an entry-level model by just offering one electric motor. That version, for its part, will likely come in under 7 seconds, which is still a respectable figure for an ordinary sedan. In practice, the A6 e-tron would compete against something like the Tesla Model S Long Range or more affordable versions of the Lucid Air, while the e-tron GT would take on more potent variants of both rivals.

Charging times

The Audi A6 e-tron concept employs a 100-kWh battery pack, and is capable of 270 kW DC fast charging. It’s built on a 800-volt electrical architecture like the Porsche Taycan, so “filling up” this EV will be an experience much in line with stopping at a gas station, or so Audi claims. 10 minutes of charging replenishes 186 miles (300 km) of range. Getting from 5 to 80 percent takes less than 25 minutes, provided the infrastructure supports juicing up at that speed.

Finally, Audi says the A6 e-tron concept can achieve 434 miles of maximum range (700 km), depending on the configuration. That’s one of the figures most likely to change in practice, but again that would make Audi’s next A6 competitive with the current frontrunner if it checks out. More importantly, keeping the acceleration, charging times and range equivalent to gas-powered A6 variants may help woo a wider range of buyers, if these figures come to fruition as the car hits production.

More details to come

While Audi and Porsche expect to build cars on the PPE platform next year, Audi’s projects obviously won’t stop with the A6. Before long, it’s likely we’ll see electric versions of the entry-level A4 and flagship A8 as well. However, like the Porsche Macan, don’t expect the gas-powered models to go away anytime soon. Those who aren’t quite ready to let go of internal combustion, whatever the reason, should see some updates through the next few years, even as their electric counterparts launch.