If there were rumours surrounding a possible Audi Q6 coupé-cum-SUV to rival the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé, then this is as good a confirmation as any. Ingolstadt pulled the wraps off the Audi e-tron quattro concept at the VW Group Night a day ahead of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and promised that an “all-electric, luxury-class sport SUV” that this show car presages will come to the market in 2018.
The “e-tron” in the concept’s name refers to its pure electric powertrain – there’s one motor driving the front axle and two motors powering the rear wheels, providing the trademark quattro four-wheel drive. Combined, the system produces 320 kW (429 hp), and the driver can even temporarily pull up to 370 kW (496 hp) and over 800 Nm through a boosting function.
As a result, this behemoth sprints to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds, before reaching an electronically-limited top speed of 210 km/h. Yet despite the impressive performance, the e-tron quattro concept can travel over 500 km on a single charge.
The floor-mounted 96 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged using either DC or AC power through the Combined Charging System (CCS), enabling a 150 kW DC charging point to bring the battery to full charge in 50 minutes. There’s also a wireless induction charging system, along with a roof-mounted solar panel to provide power on sunny days.
Under the skin, there’s adaptive air suspension with controlled damping, along with dynamic all-wheel steering; the latter enables the rear wheels to steer either in the same direction as the front ones for improved stability or in the opposite direction for better handling. There’s also a Torque Control Manager that actively metes power between the rear wheels – this torque vectoring further maximises agility and stability.
There’s equipment for autonomous driving here too; radar sensors, a video camera, ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner all feed data into the central driver assistance controller (zFAS) in the boot, providing a complete model of the car’s surroundings in real time. All this is made available to all assistance systems and Audi’s piloted driving systems, and the technology is nearly ready for production use.
All this is dressed in rather polarising fashion – the front is dominated by a broad, flat six-point Singleframe grille flanked by small trapezoidal headlights; at the corners sit five lighting elements incorporating OLED technology. The tail lights also feature OLED units.
The low, flat glasshouse gives the e-tron quattro a low-slung coupé look without resorting to the fluid forms of the X6 and GLE Coupé. Drag coefficient is quoted at a deeply impressive 0.25, thanks to vertical separating edges along the sides, a fully-enclosed floor pan, side cameras instead of mirrors, panels that redirect airflow above 80 km/h and suspension that lowers at higher speeds.
Inside, there’s four individual seats and 615 litres of luggage space, with the driving environment dominated by a series of screens, all featuring OLED technology. The Audi virtual cockpit instrument cluster is now curved, while two touch displays sit on either side of the steering wheel (which itself features touchpads on the spokes for the multifunction controls).
Ahead of the flat gearlever sits another display that controls the powertrain settings, climate control and other information functions, while screens built into the doors display feed from the side cameras. There’s another OLED display at the rear to control the air-con and infotainment or to interact with the driver, and the whole car is connected to the Internet via LTE.