2025 Audi Q6 and SQ6 e-tron Prototype Drive Previews a New EV Era


Situated within the North Atlantic between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands are like a distinct world. The mountainous landforms are lined in grasslands the place sheep act as natural garden mowers, and cascading coastal waterfalls and quaint thatched-roof homes make first-timers really feel as if they have been transported right into a Lord of the Rings movie. The model of the 4 rings introduced us right here to drive prototypes of the 2025 Q6 e-tron Quattro and its sportier SQ6 sibling, fashions that promise to take Audi EVs into their very own new world.

Subsequent-Degree EVs

The 2 SUVs are basically electrical alternate options to the gas-powered Q5 and SQ5. The Q6s have related dimensions however shorter entrance and rear overhangs and an extended wheelbase. Extra coupelike Sportback variants might be supplied too. The brand new EVs do extra than simply bridge the hole between the This fall e-tron and the Q8 e-tron, nevertheless. They’re the primary Audis constructed on the Premium Platform Electrical (PPE) structure. Co-developed with Porsche, PPE can even underpin the Macan EV, and the platform’s arrival begins an necessary new section within the Volkswagen Group’s electrical future.

Particularly developed for EV fashions, PPE options an 800-volt structure and makes use of next-generation motors. The battery, with an estimated capability of about 93.0 kWh, has 12 modules full of 180 prismatic-type lithium-ion cells that present higher power density than pouch-type cells. The height charging charge is 270 kilowatts. Audi estimates that charging from 10 to 80 % will take beneath half-hour; it is also concentrating on a 155-mile refill in 10 minutes. The common Q6 e-tron, the longest-range model, ought to be good for 372 miles of vary on the European WLTP check cycle, or about 315 miles utilizing EPA methodology.

The Q6 and SQ6 e-trons additionally debut new electrical motors which are unrelated to earlier variations. Designed to be modular, extra environment friendly, and quieter, the motors characteristic hairpin windings and direct oil cooling for the rotor and stator, leading to the next energy density whereas lowering the necessity for rare-earth components. Extra compact and environment friendly than its predecessors, the asynchronous induction entrance motor is alleged to offer better efficiency at much less value. The permanent-magnet synchronous rear motor is new and improved and weighs about 260 kilos. It is also the first drive unit, with the entrance motor taking a extra passive function till responsibility calls or the motive force prompts particular modes.

Driving within the Faroes

Regardless of the Faroes’ sturdy Center-earth vibes, the area has a powerful infrastructure that includes greater than 300 miles of well-maintained roads and a community of undersea tunnels, together with the world’s first underwater roundabout. Throughout two days of driving, our route took us via that landmark and across the southern components of the three largest islands.

Like California’s Pacific Coast Freeway, the roads outlining the Faroe Islands provide breathtaking views. They’re additionally fairly slim, with some sections shrinking to a single lane that pressured oncoming visitors to yield to our convoy, which was cloaked in eye-popping colourful wraps. These traffic-jam-like moments gave us the chance to tinker with the Q6s’ regenerative braking system, which lastly gives one-pedal driving (two much less forceful regenerative settings will be toggled with the steering-wheel paddles). Audi EVs beforehand lacked one-pedal functionality, as a result of the automaker believed most drivers could not use it easily. Evidently, Audi now has extra confidence in us (or its system’s tuning).

The twin-motor all-wheel-drive Q6 e-tron we drove has 375 horsepower, whereas the SQ6 gives 482 ponies; a Enhance mode quickly bumps peak output to 395 and 509 horses, respectively. Torque figures will not be but obtainable. With the islands’ velocity limits capped at 50 mph, we had few alternatives to discover increased speeds, however in our arms, the higher-performance SQ6 positively has higher physique management and extra spirited acceleration than the common Q6. Audi estimates the Q6 will scoot to 62 mph in lower than six seconds, with the SQ6 needing beneath 4.5 ticks.

With the Q6 and SQ6 e-trons nonetheless of their pre-production stage, Audi requested us to not talk about the inside design, however we will report that the within is sort of a rolling sarcophagus—as in extraordinarily quiet. Certain, some wind noise is audible, however highway noise is sort of nonexistent. Switching to Dynamic mode breaks the silence with artificial sounds that develop louder with stronger accelerator inputs. The synthetic noise will be shut off for individuals who are aggravated by that kind of factor.

We do not suppose anybody will complain about both Q6’s experience high quality, although, as a result of each are constantly calm and managed. The prototypes have an air-spring suspension and 21-inch wheels with higher-profile sidewalls. In fact, we’ll reserve ultimate judgment for after we can drive the manufacturing variations on the not-so-smooth roads again residence. The steering has variable effort, however we might prefer it to be extra communicative, particularly on the SQ6.

Mild Present

Manufacturing on the Audi Q6 and SQ6 e-tron, possible as 2025 fashions, will not begin till subsequent yr. Once they attain the streets, they will introduce Audi’s newest lighting know-how. The split-headlight design consists of customizable daytime working lights, and the second-generation OLED taillights have animations warning following drivers of oncoming hazards. Audi says it plans to advertise adoption of this tech by different automakers within the coming years to assist enhance security via vehicle-to-everything communication.

Sadly, any U.S.-bound model will provide mild animations solely whereas the car is stopped, per present federal rules. The Q6 and SQ6 e-tron nonetheless provide a selection of a number of lighting signatures selectable via the infotainment system or Audi’s telephone app. Further designs for daytime working lights and stationary lighting animations are non-compulsory and value further. Together with computerized high-beams and the Matrix lighting bundle, they are often manufacturing unit geared up or bought on demand afterward.

The gas-powered Q5 line is at present Audi’s bestseller, which means the brand new Q6 and SQ6 e-trons are poised to introduce the PPE platform to the plenty. With all new Audis launched after 2025 set to be EVs, Audi is coming into a complete totally different world.

Headshot of Eric Stafford

Senior Editor

Eric Stafford’s car habit started earlier than he may stroll, and it has fueled his ardour to put in writing information, opinions, and extra for Automotive and Driver since 2016. His aspiration rising up was to develop into a millionaire with a Jay Leno–like automobile assortment. Apparently, getting wealthy is tougher than social-media influencers make it appear, so he prevented monetary success solely to develop into an automotive journalist and drive new vehicles for a residing. After incomes a journalism diploma at Central Michigan College and dealing at a each day newspaper, the years of principally burning cash on failed undertaking vehicles and lemon-flavored jalopies lastly paid off when Automotive and Driver employed him. His storage at present features a 2010 Acura RDX, a guide ’97 Chevy Camaro Z/28, and a ’90 Honda CRX Si.


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