Currently reading: Audi Q6 e-tron: in the design team's own words
The team that shaped Audi’s all-new all-electric SUV explain its game-changing style, and how it uses technology to transform your driving experience

“Good design is about creating a dialogue between the past and the present,” famed American architect Robert A.M. Stern once said. The all-new fully-electric Audi Q6 e-tron is the perfect epitome of that philosophy.

Building on over 40 years of instantly recognisable Vorsprung durch Technik and quattro design language – and continuing the ways in which Audi’s design team have evolved and reinvented that iconography for the e-tron age – the Audi Q6 e-tron is Audi’s boldest and most dynamic all-electric SUV to date. 

That’s why we went behind the scenes at the launch of the Audi Q6 e-tron to meet the designers and engineers who shaped it.

Learn more about the Audi Q6 e-tron

Start with the perfect canvas

Underpinning the Audi Q6 e-tron’s sleek form is an all-new all-electric chassis called Premium Platform Electric (or PPE for short). It has been designed and engineered to deliver enhanced range, faster charging, more advanced and intuitive in-car tech, and even more compelling quattro performance and driving character. It also opened up new opportunities for Audi’s design team to build on Audi’s iconic visual language, as they continue transforming it for an all-electric future.

Sascha Hyde, Audi Exterior Design: “For the Audi Q6 e-tron, we wanted a perfect pure SUV with classic powerful Audi ‘Q’ proportions, and the PPE platform gave us the opportunity to play with the proportions of the Audi Q6 e-tron in a really interesting way. That means a steep front, short front and rear overhangs, a long wheelbase, a long bonnet, a set-back cabin over the rear wheels, with an elegant high silhouette roofline, and powerful shoulders above each wheel to show the quattro character of the car. It’s a revolutionary step: elegant, dynamic, sporty.”

Christian Steinhorst, Audi Q6 e-tron global product manager: “The PPE platform is the perfect base for iconic design. In short, the perfect SUV package.”


Read our review

Car review

New electric equivalent of the Q5 makes the most of its transformative luxury EV platform

Back to top

Creating a lasting impression starts with your first glance. And that’s particularly true of the Audi Q6 e-tron. It boasts a new interpretation of Audi’s now-iconic large single-frame grill – boldly reinvented on the Audi Q6 e-tron to meet both the need and the opportunity of the car’s all-electric design and engineering…

Sascha Hyde, Exterior Design: “At the front of the Audi Q6 e-tron, we still have the classic single-frame grille, so it’s instantly recognisable as an Audi. But as the Audi Q6 e-tron is an all-electric SUV, the grille is closed to enhance the aerodynamics. So, the whole thing is inverted, with a nice mask around it. We’ve used that mask to hide some of the main light functions with an incredibly slim progressive headlight design, so they feel almost invisible.”

Once activated, the Audi Q6 e-tron’s headlights are anything but invisible. Audi has led the way with light technology for decades, and the Audi Q6 e-tron takes that to the next level. The Audi Q6 e-tron’s transformational active digital OLED technology gave Audi’s designers even more options to use light in even smarter ways.

Christoph Häußinger, Light Experience Design: “On the Audi Q6 e-tron, we wanted to use light to define the character of the car and show its intelligence. It’s really special to feel moving light because light is always in motion. When you unlock the car, you see amazing animations. This is only possible with our new OLED digital light technology, where we can have really precise high-contrast lights which can generate really nice dynamic graphics. You can choose from different animations from within the car or using the MyAudi app, so it means the character of your car is constantly changing.”

Back to top

The Audi Q6 e-tron looks equally stunning from the side: with its short front and rear overhangs and long bonnet leading to a dramatically set-back cabin with a sweeping, elegant silhouette roofline. It all serves to accentuate the car’s extended wheelbase and powerful sporty stance But, for Audi’s designers, a key element of the brand’s Vorsprung durch Technik philosophy is about making technology visible. In this case, using visual cues to accentuate the Audi Q6 e-tron’s all-electric nature…

Sascha Hyde, Exterior Design: “For the Audi Q6 e-tron, we have this black inlay rocker feature. It shows the battery as the heart of the car. It’s making technology visible. It also reduces the optical height and volume of the car, making the car feel slim, while connecting the sides of the car into the rear in an elegant way.” 

Audi’s design and engineering teams have also thought hard about how best to charge the battery under the Audi Q6 e-tron’s sleek exterior, with the PPE platform offering ultra-rapid 800V electric architecture that makes charging quick and easy. Audi’s engineers also added charging ports on both sides of the car. 

Christian Steinhorst, Audi Q6 e-tron global product manager: “One of the key elements of the PPE platform on the Audi Q6 e-tron is charging performance: 800V technology and up to 270kW charging speeds as standard. That means a customer can charge from 10% to 80% in as little as 21 minutes*. We’ve also put charging sockets on both sides of the car – AC/DC on one side, and AC on the other – so you can park your car whichever way round you want.”

Back to top

Another way in which the Audi Q6 e-tron builds on Audi’s Vorsprung durch Technik visual heritage – in this case reinforcing its all-wheel drive quattro character – is through the muscular shoulder haunches above each of the Audi Q6 e-tron’s four wheels and the powerful motors behind them. On the Audi Q6 e-tron, these iconic ‘quattro blisters’ feel bolder and sharper than on any Audi e-tron SUV.

Christian Steinhorst, Audi Q6 e-tron global product manager: “For Audi, quattro is our heritage. On an all-electric car like the Audi Q6 e-tron, that means performance as well as efficiency. On the Audi Q6 e-tron, we have an asynchronous motor (ASM) on the front wheels and a permanent synchronous motor (PSM) on the rear. That gives you more efficiency, but also more power when activating the launch control. Therefore, the driving characteristics of the car are what you know from Audi’s traditional heritage on quattro cars.” 

Sascha Hyde, Audi Exterior Design: “Above each of the wheels we have these powerful muscular shoulders to show the quattro character and attitude of the car. At the rear, it’s especially reminiscent of the shoulder line that we’ve established on the Audi e-tron GT, giving the appropriate quattro character. But on the Audi Q6 e-tron it’s more straight, more precise.”

Back to top

So, the Audi Q6 e-tron looks great from the front, and stunning from the side. But it’s the rear that leaves the longest lingering lasting impression. A lot of that comes down to Audi’s second-generation ‘active’ digital OLED lights.Boasting three OLED tiles and 360 individual segments that update in as fast as 10 milliseconds, they work with the integrated rear light strip to generate high-contrast 3D shapes and complex animations that add extra character to the car. They can even enhance the safety and awareness of other road users – whether fellow drivers, cyclists or pedestrians.

Sascha Hyde, Audi Exterior Design: “The horizontal light bar shows off the width of the car. And it’s a very cool feature. Using our new OLED digital lights, we can do three-dimensional signature light animations. It’s like fire, sparkling.”

Stephan Berlitz, Audi Head of Lighting Development: “Audi recognised the potential of using OLED technology early on. Digital OLEDs are more efficient, lighter, and more homogenous than traditional light systems, with strong contrast. That makes them an important enabler to communicate with the car’s surroundings. As a result, we can now offer our customers an ever-new range of lighting functions.”

Christoph Häußinger, Audi Light Experience Design: “Safety is always an area in which light can play a special part, and our OLED digital technology means we can now use the rear lights for safety functions: such as a warning triangle to alert cars following behind, or warn passing cyclists when you’re about to get out of the car.”

Back to top

When it comes to getting behind the wheel, the Audi Q6 e-tron has been designed from the inside out to offer a more spacious homely feel.

Ramon Bäurle, Audi Interior Design: “Our new interior design philosophy for the Audi Q6 e-tron is really human-centric – focused directly on the people inside the car. There’s a clear architectural form with horizontal lines which wrap around the vehicle, all the way to the doors, enveloping you in a three-dimensional way. The quality of the materials is also a big part of feeling comfortable in a car. So, for the Audi Q6 e-tron we’ve created a soft-wrap architecture that brings high-quality materials closer to the driver and front passenger. It gives you a really warm feeling.”

Christian Steinhorst, Audi Q6 e-tron global product manager: “It’s premium quality and simplicity, hand-in-hand.”

The interior of the Audi Q6 e-tron also offers plenty of smart connected intuitive tech – courtesy of a large curved panoramic three-screen layout for the driver and passenger, an augmented-reality head-up display, and a dynamic LED interaction ‘light strip’ that frames the windshield. Audi has named this its ‘digital stage’, and it acts as the heart of your every interaction with the car.

Ramon Bäurle, Audi Interior Design: “Our new digital stage brings together the large horizontal curved panoramic displays for the driver, the augmented-reality head-up display, a separate screen specifically for the passenger, and it’s all surrounded by our interaction light bar. It offers some really cool possibilities.”

Back to top

Christian Steinhorst, Audi Q6 e-tron global product manager: “Innovative technology is an important part of the PPE platform for the Audi Q6 e-tron. The interaction light bar is not only an optical element; it can also show charging status and warning signals. On the other side of the cabin, we’re focusing on the passenger for the first time: and that means entertainment. Next to that, the Audi Q6 e-tron will come with a digital assistant, which means you can speak <with> the car in a dialogue.”

Ramon Bäurle, Audi Interior Design: “In the Audi Q6 e-tron you’re definitely way more connected as a driver than you’ve ever been before. The driver is more connected to the road through the head-up display because all of your essential information is projected on the road in front of you. You’re also very connected with the front passenger because they can support the driver with the passenger screen: using it for navigation, typing in the destination and then sharing it with the driver’s cockpit screen. Then, the interaction light bar communicates with you at eye-level.”

So, there you have it. The Audi Q6 e-tron doesn’t just look smarter; it also thinks, drives and acts smarter. Maybe it’s time for you to get behind the wheel yourself.

Learn more about the Audi Q6 e-tron

* Timings based on a 10 to 80% charge using a high-speed DC public charge station at the vehicle’s maximum charging capability. (For high power 270kW you will need a charger in excess of 270kW. Availability of these chargers is limited to UK motorways and major arterial routes. Not in Northern Ireland, most of Scotland/Wales. Actual charging times will vary depending on various factors, including the selected vehicle, the type of charger used, the level of charge in the battery, the age, type, condition and temperature of the charger and the battery and other environmental factors.

The discussion board is currently closed for new comments while we carry out some maintenance. In the meantime, please join the debate on our social media channels.