The new electric A6 E-tron, for example, will be sold from 2024 alongside an updated version of the current A6, which will switch to the A7 moniker. Similarly, the new Q6 E-tron is positioned as an electric alternative to the best-selling Q5, which will enter a new generation with combustion drivetrains in 2024.
Asked about the thinking behind the new strategy, Audi technical boss Oliver Hoffmann explained that it will ultimately become an automatic and obvious means of differentiation between the two powertrain types.
Hoffmann said: "It is to have a clear structure for our customers. In the B-segment today, we have the Q5, and you could say that there is a Q5 ICE and we would bring the Q5 E-tron, maybe, but we decided we would have a clear strategy for our model line-up.
"One example is the A6. The A6 is a car which is in our core segment, and we will show that with the upcoming A6 E-tron. This is our main model in the C-segment, and the future is fully electric, so therefore we decided to give the even numbers to the BEV cars."
Asked if this new system means Audi can drop the E-tron suffix it has used for electrified cars since 2009, Hoffmann said: "In the future, A6 will be clear as the battery-electric vehicle. It will be the A6 E-tron, like the Q6 E-tron, but if anyone says 'this is the Q6', you know it is the battery-electric vehicle. You don't have to use the E-tron badge, or ICE badge."
Autocar understands that the E-tron badge will remain but will come to be used more subtly, like the TDI and TFSI badges Audi uses today to mark out diesel and petrol models.
"If you look at the whole market, you have a lot of badges to show 'this is an electric car', 'this is a PHEV', and from our point of view, this is a clear structure of naming," Hoffmann said.