Audi Q6 e-tron: full details and review

New electric SUV can travel 388 miles on a charge and is packed with a wide range of advanced tech...

Audi Q6 e-tron blue front driving

Team work makes the dream work, or so management experts tell us. When it comes to the complicated and expensive subject of developing new cars, though, it rings true.

The Audi Q6 e-tron SUV is living proof, sharing its underpinnings – and much of its advanced battery and electronics technology – with the new electric Porsche Macan. But while the Macan is more overtly sporty, the Q6 e-tron is a little more focused on everyday use.

Those underpinnings are hugely significant, bringing more efficient 800-volt charging technology. Both the Q6 e-tron and the sportier SQ6 e-tron have a 94.9kWh (usable capacity) battery for an official range of up to 388 miles in the regular version. That beats key rivals, including the BMW iX3 (285 miles), Jaguar I-Pace (261 miles) and Tesla Model Y (330 miles), as well the Macan (331 miles).

A cheaper version with a smaller battery (of around 78kWh usable capacity) will follow next year, and both batteries bring the ethical and environmental benefits of using less of the rare-earth material cobalt.

Audi Q6 e-tron blue, driving rear

Range is helped by a standard heat pump (which is an efficient way of warming the interior), while clever tech keeps the battery at the optimum temperature to maximise range and minimise charging times. 

Like the Macan, the Q6 e-tron can charge at rates of up to 270kW (faster than the iX3, I-Pace and Model Y), which can boost the battery from 10-80% in as little as 21 minutes and add 158 miles of range in 10 minutes. A 0-100% home charge will take around 14 hours at 7kW. 

‘Plug & Charge’ technology allows the car to talk directly with public chargers without the need to authorise via an app or the charger’s touchscreen, while billing is taken care of through the myAudi app. This is initially compatible only with the UK’s Ionity network, which has chargers in 26 locations, but it’s promised to roll out for other providers.

Audi Q6 e-tron charging

Helpfully, the Q6 e-tron has a charging port on each side, so you don’t have to worry about which side is closest to your home charger. However, only the port on the left can support rapid charging. Both flaps can be opened electrically from inside the car, closing automatically once the cable is removed.

The Q6 e-tron’s regenerative braking system, (which recovers energy during deceleration and converts it to electricity to top up the battery) is more advanced than in the smaller Q4 e-tron and larger Q8 e-tron. It has five settings and its one-pedal driving mode can bring the car to a complete halt without the need to touch the brake pedal. In fact, the Q6 e-tron’s regen system does more of the braking, more of the time, reducing wear and tear on the conventional friction brakes.

The Q6 e-tron also has the usual range of drive modes, ranging from Efficiency to Dynamic, the latter of which aims to sharpen the car’s responses for a sportier drive. Off-road mode raises the car’s ride height and allows more precise accelerator control at low speeds to help you traverse slippery terrain. In the name of efficiency, and echoing the four-wheel drive systems of many petrol and diesel vehicles, the Q6 e-tron runs in front-wheel drive most of the time, sending power to the rear wheels only when extra traction is required.

In terms of performance, the Q6 e-tron takes 5.9sec to accelerate from 0-62mph, while the hotter SQ6 e-tron trims that time to 4.3sec – just a second behind the fastest electric Macan. Top speeds are 130mph and 142mph respectively.

Externally, a standout design feature is the LED daytime running lights, which can be set to illuminate in a choice of eight different patterns. The OLED rear lights, meanwhile, were nominated for our 2024 Technology Award. They can display patterns and animations with a virtual 3D effect, and can even show warning triangles to alert other motorists to dangers in the road ahead, using cloud data gathered from other road users. 

Audi Q6 e-tron dashboard

Inside, the centrepiece is a curved, floating panel the same shape as the front grille, housing an 11.9in digital driver’s display and an adjoining 14.5in infotainment screen. The latter uses Android Automotive software and is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a range of apps available through Audi’s own app store. 

The Q6 e-tron’s self-learning voice control system, meanwhile, can recognise more than 800 voice commands. It uses artificial intelligence to predict which features or operations the driver might want to use – and it can even suggest those it thinks they might have forgotten about. 

A web browser, YouTube and even games and a karaoke app can be used when parked, or on the move via the front passenger’s own 10.9in touchscreen. This provides many of the same functions as the main display and has a mode to ensure it remains out of sight of the driver to avoid distraction. The passenger can also act as a co-driver, entering destinations or locating charging stops to be fed into the sat-nav. Meanwhile, a large, augmented reality head-up display is optional, visually placing navigation arrows at junctions to show the driver where to turn. 

Audi Q6 e-tron passenger screen

We’ve tried these systems; the screens are crisp and the menus are easy to use. There are no dedicated physical controls for the air-con system, but the key climate control functions are at least permanently displayed on the main screen, rather than hidden in a menu.

The Q6 e-tron is about the same size as the Audi Q5 outside, but it’s bigger inside, thanks in part to the wheels being pushed farther into the corners of the car. As a result, passenger space is generous; it feels spacious and airy in the front, while even tall folk sitting in the back should be happy with the head, elbow and leg room. However, they won’t find a lot of space to tuck their feet under the front seats.

With the Q6’s e-tron’s battery being more energy-dense than the Q4 e-tron’s (it has a greater capacity without taking up as much room), its position under the floor means it doesn’t encroach on boot space. As a result, at 526 litres, the boot is slightly larger than the Q5’s (which can carry nine carry-on suitcases), and there’s charging cable storage under the floor. A further 64-litre load space under the bonnet should take a couple of squashy bags. 

Buyers in the UK will be able to choose from Sport, S line and Edition 1 trim levels, each of which is identifiable by different treatments for the front grille and bumper. Across the Q6 and SQ6, eight paint colours will be available alongside 10 wheel designs, measuring from 18 to 21 inches in diameter. 

While final equipment specifications are yet to be confirmed, the Q6 e-tron is promised to give you more standard kit than the Q5. As a result, fewer options will be offered, and some of those that remain can be activated via Audi’s online Features On Demand service. This is a subscription-based model that will enable drivers to add new products and services to their car as they become available via over-the-air updates enabled through the car’s always-on 5G connectivity.

Prices start at £68,975 for the regular 94.9kWh Q6 e-tron, while the SQ6 e-tron will set you back £92,950. That makes them slightly cheaper than the equivalent Macans. The smaller-battery version is expected to be priced from around £57,000.

Audi Q6 e-tron review: what's it like to drive

Silence. That’s the first thing you notice when pulling away in the Q6 e-tron. Audi’s engineers have clearly paid great attention to refinement, going as far as to design one of the quietest motors in the electric family SUV class, along with gears that reduce noise as they engage. It’s certainly quieter than the BMW iX3.

Audi SQ6 e-tron front driving, grey

The second thing you notice is the braking. Or rather, you don’t, because on our low-speed test route, the brake pedal felt positive without the remote sensation that afflicts many cars fitted with regenerative braking systems. 

Air suspension comes as standard, and on a previous drive of a late prototype, it did a great job of dealing with potholes. The Q6 e-tron was on a par with the iX3 in terms of comfort, and was more impressive than the Lexus RZ and Mercedes EQC.

The SQ6 is not only faster but also builds on the already impressive body control of the regular Q6. It’s certainly better than the EQC in this regard, boding well for the planned range-topping RS Q6.

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