Audi previewed the electric version of the next-generation A6 by unveiling the sedan as an eye-catching, close-to-production concept in April 2021. It’s only half of the family: The second part is the Avant station wagon, which the firm just introduced as a sporty-looking design study.
Up front, only a small handful of styling cues differentiate the A6 Avant E-Tron concept from its sedan counterpart. Both body styles feature a body-colored insert where you’d expect to find a grille and sharp-looking headlights with Matrix LED technology that will soon be legal in the United States. It’s what’s beyond the front end that counts: The roof line peaks above the front passengers and gently slopes towards a spoiler mounted above a steeply-raked D-pillar. The rear end is dominated by a light bar with digital OLED elements that are customizable, a feature that illustrates an upcoming way to personalize a car. All told, the Avant’s design puts a bigger emphasis on form than on function.
That’s intentional: The station wagon segment is shrinking as SUVs and crossovers find their way into more driveways, even in Europe, so pegging a long-roof model as a master of utility is no longer a selling point. Sporty design is what will help wagons stand out in the 2020s.
What you see is mostly what you’ll get when the first A6 E-Tron Avant rolls off the assembly line in the not-too-distant future.
“I can promise you that a lot of what we’re showing here will be available and seen on the road. That’s the beauty of my work: we’re working on a concept but at the same time we’re also working on the production-bound car, so the fascination that the concept is generating is one that we want to bring to the road. The production model will be about 90% or 95% of what you see here,” affirmed Audi designer Wolf Seebers. “Of course, we’ll need to change some details like adding door handles; that’s not something we can do yet.”
The shooting brake-like sheetmetal hides the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture that Audi is jointly developing with sister company Porsche for a wide range of electric cars. It’s modular enough to underpin relatively high-riding models, like the next-generation Macan and the upcoming Q6 E-Tron, and lower cars such as the A6 duo. Bigger and smaller models built on PPE are in the works as well.
Like the sedan, the Avant is equipped with a 100-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and fitted with a pair of electric motors (one per axle) for through-the-road Quattro all-wheel-drive. The system’s total output checks in at 469 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, and Audi quotes a maximum driving range of about 434 miles, according to the testing cycle used in Europe. Fast-charging technology built around an 800-volt system should let drivers zap the battery pack with about 186 miles of range in 10 minutes when using a 270-kilowatt fast charger.
Looking ahead, the lineup will grow with a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive variant that should deliver more driving range. Are you wondering what the future holds for the fire-breathing RS6 Avant? So were we; Audi told us that, in theory, the PPE platform is modular enough to underpin a high-performance model worthy of the RS badge, but nothing is official at this point. Similarly, no decision has been made about an Allroad.
Like the A6 E-Tron sedan, the Avant is already on its way to production, and sales should start before the end of 2023. Don’t get too excited if you like what you see, however: Audi confirmed that the wagon will not be sold in the United States for the same basic reasons that very few carmakers bother bringing their long-roof models on our side of the pond. As for the current A6, you haven’t seen the last of it yet.
“The current-generation A6 was released in 2018, so it’s a pretty young car; it’s still fresh. And, of course, once this generation retires, we will still have an A6 family member powered by an internal combustion engine. It won’t be built on the PPE platform, of course, but we will have a parallel offer of combustion-powered and electric A6 cars,” an Audi spokesperson told us.