Audi is getting ready to launch its first electric vehicle based on the Volkswagen Group's Premium Platform Electric (PPE architecture), the Audi Q6 e-tron. While its exterior design should be pretty familiar for anyone who's seen Audi's current crop of e-tron SUVs, the Q6's interior isn't as familiar, as it wraps the front passengers in screens.
Separating the new Q6 e-tron from its electric siblings is what Audi calls the "Digital Stage," which is essentially a triple-screen setup that's supposed to give the interior a "spacious and airy" feel. Each of the front passengers gets their own screen—the driver gets Virtual Cockpit digital gauges and the passenger gets their own screen on the dash—and they also get to share the main MMI screen in the middle. The 11.9-inch Virtual Cockpit and the main 14.5-inch MMI screen are built into one curved panoramic display, while the passenger screen is physically separate but connected.
Beneath the trio of screens is a horizontal line that runs from the door panels into the dash that Audi calls a "Softwrap." Many of the materials, including the sport seats and Softwrap, are made from Elastic Melange, an eco-friendly material made entirely from recycled polyester. S Line models are available with Nappa leather sport seats or Dinamica, the latter of which is a recycled microfiber. There's also a piece of trim that runs next to, and behind, the three screens, which can be optioned in a variety of recycled materials, including wood (light brown sweetgum or birch linear in stone gray) and brushed aluminum.
The central MMI screen is new, featuring updated graphics and user interface, and it features ambient lighting that's designed to make it look as if it's floating at night. The 10.9-inch passenger screen is both fun and functional. Front passengers can either assist the driver with navigation or media controls or even watch movies. During the latter, a privacy mode with shutter technology prevents the driver from peaking over at the movie and getting distracted.
There's also an optional augmented reality head-up display (HUD) for the driver that virtually projects important information (speed, navigation instructions, and traffic signs) 200 meters away from the car.
The Q6 e-tron features Audi's first self-learning digital assistant. Not only does it wake up with a "Hey, Audi" command but it's said to be capable of learning your behavior and performing functions ahead of time. Do you always turn your heated seats on when you leave for work at 8:30 AM? The Q6 e-tron will allegedly remember that and start to do it for you. That digital assistant is also said to have an on-screen avatar for the first time.
Providing the noise will be a 22-speaker, 830-watt Bang & Olufsen surround sound system that features small speakers in each A-pillar.
As far as size and practicality go, the Audi Q6 e-tron will be about as useful as its gas-powered cousin, the Audi Q5. With 18.6 cubic-feet of cargo space with the rear seats in place, the Q6 e-tron is less capacious than the Q5's 25.6 cubic-feet. With its rear seats down, the Q6 e-tron has 54 cubic-feet, just a bit more than the Q5's 53.4. Though, being an electric car, the Q6 e-tron has an additional 2.3 cubic-feet in the frunk. Just like the Q5, the Q6 e-tron's rear seats fold 40:20:40.
Audi will reveal more about the Q6 e-tron—its powertrains, battery, range, and price—when it gets closer to its 2024 release. For now, though, we know that the newest four-ringed electric crossover will be its most screen-heavy, technology-packed car yet.
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