Audi is committing to wagons in the electric era, even as SUV sales remain as strong as ever.
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron has been spied testing with only the lightest of camouflage, suggesting a reveal is imminent.
This spied prototype features what looks like production-ready headlights. There’s a more obvious split-level lighting setup up front, with a larger pod for the headlights themselves than on the 2022 concept.
The daytime running lights also feature different graphics, which may be customisable like on the Q4 e-tron.
The grille area is shrouded with camouflage but we can see it maintains the same shape as the concept, while the air intakes flanking it are slimmer than those of the concept and those underneath the grille area are larger.
The concept’s e-tron logo on the lower fascia is gone, replaced by a radar sensor, while a camera appears to sit within the grille area.
Down back, this prototype is missing the concept’s prominent rear wing and the dramatic chrome accents on the bumper.
There appears to still be a full-width lighting assembly, but the tail lights are thicker. They appear to be either disguised or prototype units.
The A6 Avant e-tron, as well as its A6 e-tron liftback sibling, will ride the Premium Platform Electric, co-developed with Porsche, that will debut on the Audi Q6 e-tron and Porsche Macan EV crossovers.
The SUVs on PPE have been delayed due to issues with the Volkswagen Group’s software division Cariad, so it’s unclear if the A6 e-tron family has been affected. Audi had previously confirmed a debut in 2024.
Single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive variants are expected, with hot S and RS versions potentially joining the range.
The 2021 A6 e-tron concept used a 100kWh lithium-ion battery with a claimed range of 700km on the stricter WLTP standard, 800V technology, and 270kW DC charging capability.
The Avant concept also used a 100kWh battery, along with a dual-motor AWD powertrain with 350kW of power and 800Nm of torque.
Audi said the production A6 e-tron could offer a 0-100km/h time of less than seven seconds in base guide and “well under” four seconds in its most powerful variants.
The company has also hinted at an RS6 e-tron flagship. Using the Macan EV as a guide, this could produce up to 450kW of power and 1000Nm of torque.
For reference, the current Audi RS6 pumps out 441kW and 800Nm from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine.
The concept’s suspension consists of a five-link axle up front optimised for electric vehicles, with a multi-link axle at the rear. It also features air suspension with adaptive dampers.
Sized similarly to the combustion-powered A6, the electric sedan and wagon have drag coefficients of just 0.22 and 0.24, respectively.
Audi chose not to reveal the interiors of either concept, and spy photos have revealed little on this front.
We could expect to see, however, a more tablet-style infotainment touchscreen instead of Audi’s more classically integrated screens if the upcoming Q6 e-tron is a guide.
The production A6 Avant e-tron will be one of the world’s few electric station wagons.
MG has the MG 5 in Europe, based on the Roewe ei5, but it’s a mass-market small wagon, while at the other end of the spectrum there’s the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo.
Somewhere in between in terms of price is the Nio ET5 Touring, a wagon version of the Chinese brand’s Tesla Model 3 rival.
A more direct rival for the Audi will come in the shape of the BMW i5 Touring, though it’s unclear if that model will come here.
Audi says it will end production of combustion-powered vehicles by 2033, except in China. Global sales of its EVs climbed by 51 per cent last year, helping fuel an overall increase of 17 per cent for the brand.