2025 Audi Q6 E-tron is a Second Generation Electric Car | Digital Trends

Audi

Audi doesn’t get enough credit for helping luxury car buyers get comfortable with electric vehicles. While Tesla catered to the image-conscious, the German brand introduced its e-tron electric SUV in 2018 with the slogan “Electric is Audi,” hoping to get loyal customers excited about electric (or at least getting used to it). Cars by introducing the e-tron first as an Audi and then as an electric car.

The e-tron was not a one-off either. It has since evolved into the Q8 e-tron and has been joined by the sporty e-tron GT and entry-level Q4 e-tron. So while some car brands are just introducing their first electric models, Audi is ready for the second round.

The 2025 Audi Q6 e-tron is a true second-generation electric vehicle that is scheduled to arrive in dealers later this year. This new electric SUV sits between the Q4 e-tron and Q8 e-tron in size and leaves both behind in terms of technological sophistication.

PPE is key

2025 Audi Q6 e-tron naked chassis.
Audi

The Q6 e-tron is the first Audi to be based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), developed jointly with Volkswagen Group brand Porsche, whose launch model for the platform will be the Macan Electric.

“Platform” is a nebulous term. Generally, it is understood as the basic structure of a car, but in the case of PSA, “platform” means not only that structure, but also many of the major components attached to it. As an EV-specific platform, PPE enables a number of key hardware upgrades compared to other Audi electric vehicles, including 800-volt charging, a new electrical architecture that enables more software-based features, and a new battery pack concept that Audi says will improve range is compared to current electric vehicles and more power-dense drive units.

Audi has experimented a lot with platforms for its electric vehicles. Its first electric vehicle, the e-tron (now Q8 e-tron), uses the same MLB Evo platform as internal combustion engine vehicles such as the Audi Q8. The Q4 e-tron shares the MEB-specific EV platform with Volkswagen-branded electric vehicles such as the ID.4 and ID.7. The e-tron GT is based on the same J1 platform as the Porsche Taycan. But Audi believes PPE is the future.

More efficient engines

2025 Audi Q6 e-tron three-quarter view from the rear.
Audi

Audi’s philosophy at PSA is to systematically comb through individual components to achieve efficiency and performance gains, rather than making dramatic changes to the entire vehicle concept.

Like many other electric vehicles, the Q6 e-tron, for example, has an all-wheel drive system with two motors, with each motor driving each axle in an independent drive unit. But Audi has made the drive units more compact. Weighing 192.9 pounds and 261.1 pounds, respectively, the front and rear power units have a 62% higher power density than the first-generation e-tron power units – meaning they produce more power per pound – at 30% lower energy consumption.

Audi has scoured individual components for efficiency and performance improvements.

As with the Q4 e-tron, Audi opted for an asynchronous motor for the front and a permanent magnet synchronous motor for the rear. The rear engine does most of the work, so Audi chose the more efficient, permanently excited type for this task. According to the automaker, an asynchronous motor is cheaper, so it was moved to the front axle, which only receives power when the driver actually accelerates.

Together, the two engines produce a constant output of 422 hp and a peak output of 456 hp with launch control (Audi does not disclose torque figures), enabling the Q6 e-tron to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds with launch control , estimates Audi. A more powerful SQ6 e-tron will also be available, tuned to 483 hp as standard or 510 hp with launch control – more than the three-motor Audi SQ8 e-tron. Audi expects the SQ6 to reach that model’s zero-to-60 mph speed of 4.2 seconds. Top speed is 130 mph for the Q6 e-tron and 143 mph for the SQ6 e-tron.

Large battery, fast charging

Interior of the Audi Q6 e-tron 2025.
Audi

Audi claims the Q6 e-tron will feature a more efficient battery pack design with a 15% weight reduction compared to previous packs, as well as cells and modules with greater energy storage capacity in the same volume. However, Audi still uses prismatic battery cells instead of the cylindrical cells preferred by Tesla and Lucid. The package also clocks in at a fairly large 100 kilowatt-hours (with 94.9 kWh of usable capacity), so Audi’s goal of over 300 miles of range seems to be a bare minimum.

With an 800-volt system like the e-tron GT, the Q6 e-tron can fast charge at up to 270 kW DC and maintain this maximum power level for a relatively long period of time. At stations with lower power, the two halves of the battery can also be charged in parallel with 135 kW to achieve the fastest possible charge. According to Audi, under ideal conditions this is 10 to 80 percent in 21 minutes. When using the integrated navigation system, the Q6 e-tron automatically heats or cools its battery on the way to a charging station to ensure the ideal temperature for charging.

Although the automaker is adopting Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS), this will only happen after the market launch of the Q6 e-tron, so the first cars will be delivered with Combined Charging Standard (CCS) connectors like other current Audi electric vehicles .

Infotainment receives predictable updates

2025 Audi Q6 e-tron passenger window.
Audi

The Q6 e-tron also introduces a new version of Audi’s Multimedia Interface (MMI) infotainment system, based on a new electrical architecture called E3 1.2 and featuring the most sophisticated screen configuration in an Audi to date. An 11.9-inch digital instrument cluster and 14.5-inch touchscreen are arranged in a wing-like formation in front of the driver, with a 10.9-inch passenger screen and augmented reality head-up display thrown in for good measure.

The various screens feature sharp but simple graphics and, in the prototype vehicles we had available, quick responses. That’s a good thing, because Audi has decided to rely mainly on touchscreens and voice recognition and keep buttons and knobs to a minimum. While the front passenger can access important functions such as radio and navigation via their own screen, the main touchscreen is also easily accessible despite being tilted towards the driver.

The Q6 e-tron features the most complex screen setup in an Audi to date.

The operating system is based on Android, but does not use Google apps like systems from Volvo, Polestar or General Motors. Audi continues to offer its own native speech recognition. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Amazon Alexa connectivity are also supported.

What the Android operating system enables are third-party apps for things like web browsing, video streaming and gaming, similar to Ford’s new Digital Experience system. Passengers can even watch videos on their own screen while driving (a filter blocks the driver’s view). Like Ford, Audi expects to offer a variety of third-party apps over time and develop new features that can be added via over-the-air (OTA) updates. The automaker claims the process will be faster thanks to the E3 1.2 architecture consolidating the in-car computing architecture into five main modules.

Evolutionary design brings out high-tech lights

2025 Audi Q6 e-tron digital taillights.
Audi

The Q6 e-tron looks like a younger, fitter version of the Q8 e-tron. Despite its classic SUV proportions, it doesn’t appear bulky thanks to visual tricks such as pronounced creases above the fenders, which are intended to be reminiscent of the boxy fender flares and blacked out lower trim strips of the classic Audi Quattro. The blacked out areas also represent functional elements such as the front air intakes, the rear diffuser and the battery pack, which is highlighted by the lower door panel.

The Q6 e-tron looks like a younger, fitter version of the Q8 e-tron.

Less original are the obligatory massive grille and stacked headlights, which follow a format popularized by the Jeep Cherokee and Hyundai Kona, albeit with much more sophisticated technology. The Q6 e-tron gets Audi’s latest digital lighting system with programmable daytime running lights and taillights made up of 122 and 360 individual OLED elements, respectively.

Not only does the system give the lights a cool pixel look, but it also allows the driver to program eight different patterns for the daytime running lights. Outside the United States, taillights have an animated effect and may project a small triangle when the hazard lights are turned on or when occupants attempt to exit the vehicle. US regulations will likely prevent such features.

First impressions

2025 Audi Q6 e-tron front three-quarter view.
Audi

Digital Trends had the opportunity to take a few quick laps around a test track in a Q6 e-tron prototype. This brief first impression revealed nothing particularly noteworthy. Competent handling couldn’t completely hide this electric SUV’s considerable weight, and acceleration was impressive but not violent.

Audi’s rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz have struggled to develop braking systems that combine regenerative braking and friction braking to provide consistent deceleration and feel when using both forms of braking. The Q6 e-tron had no such problems; The brake pedal felt the same regardless of how the car braked. Audi also allows the driver to switch the level of regeneration from virtually zero to full one-pedal driving – the signature EV feature that allows the driver to control speed without touching the brake pedal.

Aside from a well-tuned braking system, the many changes Audi has made to its EV hardware will likely require more than a few laps on a closed track to be noticeable. Still, the prototype left a good first impression, so we’re excited for more seat time to find out how Audi’s latest electric vehicle feels on the road.

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