Today Audi answered a question that many enthusiasts have been asking for years: when will an electric station wagon be released? The company has a long history of producing lusty “Avant” models, and the brand’s new electric endeavors have made such a car inevitable. But Audi has been mum on the subject, until now.
Today Audi unveiled the A6 Avant e-tron. While this vehicle could be called a concept, it strongly hints at the production version slated for 2024. Audi designers said the final wagon won’t deviate much from what you see here. And from our perspective, that’s not a bad thing.
“I can promise you that much of what you see now will be available on the road,” said Wolf Seebers, who led the car’s exterior design.
Stylish and practical electric vehicle
Like other electric vehicles, the A6 Avant e-tron promises to be fast, reaching 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds thanks to two motors that produce a combined torque of 350 kW (470 hp) and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft). A massive “around 100kWh” battery will provide a range of 435 miles (700km) in optimistic WLTP tests in a more efficient single-motor configuration. In the real world, expect somewhere just north of 300 miles.
So while the car won’t break the 400-mile barrier, Audi promises charging won’t slow things down. The A6 Avant e-tron rides on the Volkswagen Group’s new EPI platform, which includes an 800-volt electrical architecture. Audi promises a 270kW charge that can replenish around 40 per cent battery charge in around 10 minutes, while a more complete charge, from 5 to 80 per cent, should take less than 25 minutes. Based on the impressive charging curve Audi has achieved with the current e-tron SUV, a design that is now nearly 4 years old, we’re inclined to believe those numbers.
The A6 Avant e-tron’s design draws heavily on the A6 e-tron concept that Audi debuted last year, with a similar black brushstroke on the sides that helps hide the height of the doors while still alluding to the huge battery under the cabin.
The differences between the Sportback and the Avant are most apparent at the top, of course. There the designers stretched the roof over a pair of bulging rear haunches that echo the original e-tron SUV. The roofline is accentuated by a thin strip of satin aluminum that arcs from the base of the A-pillar to a subtle spoiler at the top of the rear window. The Avant’s long roof isn’t as slippery as the Sportback version’s, but the new concept’s slightly higher 0.24 Cx is still quite good. Below, an accented rear diffuser in the same aluminum echoes the details of the hot-rod RS 6 Avant.
Up front, designers closed the Audi-branded grille but outlined its outline in black trim. In the production version, this is probably where the various sensors that will power its advanced driver assistance systems will be hidden. When asked by Ars if they were planning any standalone features for the production A6 Avant e-tron, Audi representatives wouldn’t commit, saying only that they would have “the current state of the art.”
The car’s slim headlights are matrix LEDs that will likely allow for adaptive beams that can illuminate the road without blinding oncoming traffic. Audi says owners can customize the daytime running lights to display a design of their choice. At the rear, the 3D-effect OLED taillights can also be customised. As for the other technologies, Audi unfortunately did not give us a preview of the interior.
For wagon enthusiasts, recent pickings have been thin. And for electric wagon enthusiasts, the choices are even slimmer. Only one is available today – the beautiful but expensive Taycan Sport Turismo / Cross Turismo. The new Audi promises to double the field, and that field will expand further with Volkswagen’s next ID. Space Vizzion and two Volvos that the automaker recently mentioned in passing.
SUVs and crossovers have largely relegated wagons to a niche market, but marketer Nikolai Martens says “electric mobility can help us buck the SUV trend, which wouldn’t be bad given the climate. “.
The Avant’s low profile and slippery shape help improve the car’s range, he added. “If I have a range-conscious customer, and if range is really important to me as a premium, then the Avant is probably the more sensible vehicle over an SUV.”
The A6 Avant e-tron is almost certain to hit European roads first, where wagons are more in demand. Audi wouldn’t commit to bringing it to the United States, but “never say never,” Martens said. “The Avant in its base form is a car that we don’t consider a car with a lot of volume in the United States. that can work well in the United States.
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