The middle child in Audi’s fledgling electric SUV family has been spied, and we’ve gotten a revealing look at its cabin.

    The Audi Q6 e-tron differs from its smaller (Q4 e-tron) and larger (e-tron, soon to be renamed Q8 e-tron) siblings, not to mention the rest of the Audi clan, with a large, free-standing touchscreen infotainment system.

    It tops a minimalist centre stack and integrates the climate controls.

    On the centre console, there’s the start button, drive mode selector, and a volume knob, as well as an unobtrusive shifter and a pair of cupholders.

    This particular prototype appears to feature an Alcantara-look material on the dash, while the digital instrument cluster is partially shrouded but also appears to be a free-standing unit.

    The steering wheel appears to be the same as the Q4 e-tron’s, with touch-capacitive switchgear – evidently Audi is sticking with this controversial feature, even as the Volkswagen brand moves away.

    Externally, this prototype appears to wear the same level of camouflage as others that have recently been spied. The Q6 e-tron will offer both wagon and sleeker Sportback body styles, like most Audi SUVs.

    As with Audi’s other electric models, perhaps with the exception of the rakish e-tron GT, its overall design doesn’t appear radically different from combustion-powered models like the next-generation Q5, set for a 2023 reveal.

    The Q6 e-tron’s launch was also understood to be planned for a 2023, but reports from Europe suggest challenges at Volkswagen Group software subsidiary Cariad have had a ripple effect and delayed some vehicle launches.

    That includes the launch of the Porsche Macan EV, which will share its Premium Platform Electric – co-developed by Audi and Porsche – with the Q6 e-tron.

    The Macan EV has been delayed to 2024, and the Q6 e-tron could be similarly affected.

    PPE-based vehicles will reportedly offer electric range of upwards of 480km, with a standard single electric motor on the rear axle and an optional secondary electric motor on the front axle for all-wheel drive.

    The platform will also offer an 800V electrical system like the J1 platform used in the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT, and will have DC fast-charging speeds of up to 350kW.

    Electric motor specifications and battery pack sizes for the Q6 E-Tron and Macan EV have yet to be confirmed.

    A sportier looking version has been spied testing, however, and could wear the RS Q6 e-tron nameplate while offering as much as 440kW of power.

    Audi has committed to ceasing development of new ICE models by 2026 when the second-generation Q8 launches. This Q8 will reportedly be offered with both ICE and EV powertrains.

    After its production run ends around 2032, Audi will have only an electric-only model range, though it’s left the door open for ICE vehicles to continue to be sold in China beyond that date.

    The Q6 e-tron is not to be confused with the combustion-powered Q6 or the electric, MEB-based Q5 e-tron, both of which are exclusive to China.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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