Audi Q6 e-tron first drive: quiet luxury

Entertainment

We had a first drive in the brand new Audi Q6 e-tron electric SUV and experienced the German EV’s quiet luxury.

The Q6 e-tron completes Audi’s electric SUV lineup flanked by the Q4 on the smaller side and the Q8 on the bigger side.

It’s also the first Audi on the PPE platform, a new EV platform co-developed by Audi and Porsche.

We already explored the tech behind this platform and the Q6 specifically in a preview earlier this year. Therefore, we will focus on the driving experience in this article, but for those who want a quick refresher, here’s a summary of the Q6 e-tron:

The Audi Q6 e‑tron has a length of 4,771 millimeters (15.6 ft), a width of 1,993 millimeters (6.5 ft) and a height of 1,648 millimeters (5.4 ft) – making it just a smidge bigger than the popular Tesla Model Y.

Q6 e-tron quattro SQ6 e-tron
Electric Motor Type Front – Asynchronous (ASM)
Rear – Permanently-Excited Synchronous (PSM)
Front – Asynchronous (ASM)
Rear – Permanently-Excited Synchronous (PSM)
Nominal HP 422 hp 483 hp
Peak HP 456 hp 509 hp
Battery pack 100 kWh (94.4 kWh usable) 100 kWh (94.4 kWh usable)
Range (EPA estimate) 307 miles (494 km) 276 miles (444 km)
Charge ports Driver side: AC/DC Combo Port J1772 / CCS
Passenger side: AC Port J1772
Driver side: AC/DC Combo Port J1772 / CCS
Passenger side: AC Port J1772
Max charging capacity up to 9.6 kW / 270 kW  up to 9.6 kW / 270 kW 
DC Fast Charging (270 kW) 21 minutes (10% – 80% charge) 21 minutes (10% – 80% charge)
Top Speed   130 mph (210 km/h)  143 mph (230 km/h)
0-60 mph (sec.) 4.9 sec 4.1 sec
Towing Capacity 4,400 lbs 4,400 lbs

Audi Q6 e-tron Driving impressions

Disclosure: Audi paid for my flights to and from Spain, and my hotel stay so that I could experience of the Q6 e-tron. The company had no say in our reporting, nor did it ask to.

Last month, Audi brought me to Bilbao, Spain, to test out the Q6 e-tron. As I wrote in my first look at the new electric SUV, I was impressed with the specs, design, and packaging of the vehicle.

On paper, it’s hard to find a downside to the Q6. Maybe the fact that it doesn’t have native NACS, but it’s coming to market a bit too early for that. Like every other non-Tesla EV in North America, it will have to use an adapter to use the Supercharger network.

Other than that, you get 300 miles of range, a great fast-charging curve, a simple yet beautiful design, a luxurious interior, and all of Audi’s latest improvements in user interface.

Considering all of that, I was looking forward to driving the Q6 and it didn’t disappoint.

First off, my favorite feature is just how quiet the Q6’s cabin is. That’s luxury for me. Obviously, you hear wind and tire noises more in an electric vehicle thanks to the reduced powertrain noises.

Isolating the cabin and reducing noise is even more important for premium brands like Audi, and the German automaker did a great job with the Q6.

Highway driving in Q6 was mostly easy and unremarkable, which is generally what you would want. I particularly enjoyed the heads-up display. It is bright and highly adjustable, so it can match your preferred driving position. I ended up rarely looking at the instrument cluster, as the HUD kept the most relevant information right in my eyeline.

Things got a bit more exciting when driving the SQ6 up the mountain roads around Bilbao. The sports version’s suspension is tuned a bit more aggressively and with over 500 hp, there’s plenty of capacity for fun in the Q6 e-tron.

The chassis feels strong, but not too stiff. We were ziggaging up and down the mountain and this would often trigger some motion sickness for me, but even as a passenger, it didn’t happen in the Q6.

The Q6 also has a strong 220 kW regenerative braking, and to my enjoyment, Audi is bringing a true one-pedal driving experience to the Q6 e-tron. You can choose between 4 different levels of regen braking. I mostly left it in one-pedal driving because that’s how I prefer to drive, but there’s something for everyone with 4 levels.

When I test EVs from legacy automakers, the user interface is generally the biggest downside. Tesla’s software-centric approach has pushed the industry to improve on that front and Audi has taken notes.

This latest infotainment system is much improved. It’s a nice mixed of physical buttons and touchscreen-based features, which are now more responsive and intuitive.

Audi is also improving its voice command and Ai assistant with features powered by ChatGPT. The voice commands had some issues with my French Canadian accent, but it otherwise worked well.

Audi Q6 e-tron Price and Availability

Exact pricing and availability have not been released just yet, but it is now launching in Europe and in North America toward the end of the year.

As for pricing, Audi has limited its communication to “between the Q4 and Q8,” which starts at $50,995 and $73,700, respectively.

Electrek’s Take

While I don’t have much criticism for the Q6, without the price, I can’t claim it’s a great vehicle value-wise because ultimately, its value depends on pricing.

Obviously, it won’t be as cheap as a Model Y or Mustang Mach-E, but I would argue that it is more luxurious.

In short, if you want a luxurious electric SUV with 300 miles of range, a great charging curve, a quiet driving cabin, the Audi Q6 delivers on all of that in a beautiful package.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes Audi’s best-selling model in North America.

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