Nature is healing. Buoyant hopes for a COVID-free future glimmered to life this week as legions of automotive journalists emerged from their pandemic quarantines and promptly packed themselves into the cozy confines of the biannual Auto Shanghai 2021 expo. At the show, Audi provided its own sparkly peek at what’s to come with the new A6 e-tron concept vehicle’s official debut.
Audi is no stranger to the luxury sedan market — in fact they’ve been one of the company’s best selling segments going back to the Audi 100s of the late ‘60s. Nor is this Audi’s first attempt to electrify the A6 model itself, what with the hybrid A6 which was released in 2011 and its 2019 PHEV variant. This concept, however, is the first vehicle to sport an A6 badge and be fully electric.
The A6 sportback concept may look like a slightly less aggressive take on the RS e-tron GT’s body styling but the two vehicles are built on entirely different platforms with the e-tron GT utilizing the same J1 system as the Porsche Taycan and the A6 concept building off Audi’s new PPE (“Premium Platform Electric”). On the other hand, this new concept bears little in common with the A6s that came before it beyond its exterior dimensions. For one thing, it’s got a ludicrously small drag coefficient of just 0.22, that’s better than the Taycan but not quite as good as the Mercedes EQS. For another, it sports enormous 22-inch rims that simply dwarf the dubs found on the e-tron GT.
Audi certainly didn’t leave anything off its feature wishlist for the A6 e-tron concept. According to the company, future A6 EVs could boast 350 kW of power from their dual motors, driving ranges up to 700 km (434 miles) via their 100 kWh battery packs and hit 100 km/h (62MPH) from a standstill in less than four seconds. Like the e-Tron GT, the A6 concept uses an 800V electrical architecture which should deliver up to 270 kW charging current — compared to the paltry 125 kW the Q4 can handle — which is sufficient to jump from 5 to 80 percent capacity in 25 minutes. Ten minutes on the juice is enough to load up another 300 km of range. These are impressive figures to be sure but there’s no guarantee that what we see in these concepts will make it into production.
As with the upcoming Q4 EV, the A6 will come equipped with Digital Matrix headlights and customizable digital OLED technology. Since this isn’t going directly into production, Audi opted to include a few more daring design features. For example, the sides of the vehicle will have embedded LED projectors, “transforming the ground beneath them into a stage when the doors are opened,” according to a company press release, or at least let passing bike riders know you’re about to open the door and step out of your car. Four more projectors are built into the vehicle’s corners to lunimally paint the ground with turn signal indicators. And if that weren’t enough, the concept’s headlights — if directed at a flat vertical surface — will project images from the cabin’s infotainment screen. The driver and passenger will “see their respective game’s virtual landscapes projected onto the wall in XXL format – and all this via the Digital Matrix LED headlights,” per Audi.
There’s no word yet on when a fully-electrified A6 sportback might actually hit the streets or what it may cost when it does.