Technology: First drive in the Audi Q6 Etron: delaying tactics

The Audi Q6 Etron is not a single player, but was developed together with the Porsche Macan.

Technology: First drive in the Audi Q6 Etron: delaying tactics

The Audi Q6 Etron is not a single player, but was developed together with the Porsche Macan. The electric SUV pair is very late and should already be in the hands of customers. But now it should be spring 2024 before the mid-range SUV from Audi finally rolls out to customers on the PPE platform. The electric platform known from the Taycan and Etron GT also enables fast charging of up to 270 kW with the Q6, which is significantly faster than almost all of the competition. Depending on the model, up to 600 kilometers are being discussed for the electric range of the Audi Q6 – the models with a flat-bottomed architecture, such as an A6, should even be able to drive up to 700 kilometers before it goes back to the charging station.

The approximately 4.75 meter long Audi Q6 is available in various drive packages. In addition to the Q6 Etron 45, which is only driven via the rear axle, there are various all-wheel drive versions up to the Q6 Etron 55 Quattro with 295 kW / 401 hp and the SQ6 Quattro, which can deliver up to 380 kW / 517 hp on request. The thrust of the sports version is more than impressive and confirms the image spurt from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. The customer can choose between two battery packs with 86 and 100 kWh in the underbody. While 10 x 15 modules are accommodated in the small battery, the 12 x 15 = 180 modules of the larger version offer a significant increase in range. The difference in the beacon of hope should not only be the batteries in the underbody, but also the new electric motors, which were developed by Audi and assembled in the Hungarian plant in Györ. While an induction motor (ASM) works at the front, a permanent magnet motor (PSM) turns on the rear axle. Andreas Ruf, responsible for the development of the electric motors: "The front ASM is more efficient when idling than the PSM when running dry, in which it suffers considerable energy losses. We only use PSM on the non-dominant axle in very sporty vehicles when instant torque is required at the slightest acceleration.”

This means that the main thrust works at the rear and then the additional boost comes at the front axle when the surface or driving program requires it - even with acoustic background music if desired. Under heavy acceleration, both engines are used simultaneously, with a 30:70 torque split. "In Sport mode, the front motor kicks in earlier than in Comfort mode, but the overall performance is the same, although the different accelerator pedal mapping in the intermediate accelerations makes the response in the Sport program quicker," adds Andreas Ruf, "the Incidentally, the top speed is always 210 km/h, except for the SQ6, which can reach 230 km/h.”

Despite the comparatively manageable dimensions, the Audi Q6 Etron offers an impressive amount of space inside. The 2.90 meter long wheelbase and the missing cardan tunnel are noticeable here, so that people over 1.80 meters in length can sit comfortably in the rear. The loading space can be extended downwards with an invisible compartment and the loading utensils are easily accommodated in the front of the frunk.

For the chassis, the multi-link axles of the larger Audi Q8 were used with the necessary tuning measures, while progressive steering is also used, the basis of which is bolted directly to the subframe. While driving, the driver can choose between three different levels of energy recovery using shift pedals on the steering wheel and, if desired, select the B mode for so-called one-pedal driving, which makes the brake pedal almost idle. "In level one we are at 20 percent, in level two at 60 percent and at level B at 100 percent of the regenerative braking power," explains Philipp Sadowski, the engineer responsible for this development area. What was striking about the prototype of the Q6 Etron was the precise but very smooth steering, which adapts depending on the selected driving mode, with the “Balanced” program making the most convincing impression.

The selected drive program not only flexibly adjusts the steering and accelerator characteristics, but also the suspension and damping. The package is already tight to sporty due to the 21-inch (255 front / 285 rear) so that the air suspension is a good choice, which only the Audi SQ6 Etron offers as standard and is otherwise only available at an additional cost. However, the differences in the chassis tuning are not spread far enough and are therefore noticeable for the occupants, especially between the Comfort and Dynamic modes. Practical: with the air suspension, the ground clearance can be increased from 180 mm by 45 mm in order to cross obstacles off-road. Now that most of the obstacles have been cleared up, the Audi Q6 Etron can finally get going next year – the customers are already eagerly awaiting.