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In-depth reviews

Audi Q6 e-tron review – smooth and hi-tech electric SUV

“The Audi Q6 e-tron sticks to core brand values of offering a handsome design and class-leading tech, but it’s pricey and a bit dull to drive”

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Class-leading tech
  • Practical

Cons

  • No affordable version at launch
  • Heavy
  • Feels wide

Verdict – is the Audi Q6 e-tron a good car?

Audi’s clean-sheet mid-size SUV is bigger and more luxurious than you might expect for the class, and its technology is some of the best we’ve sampled. In an era when the infotainment on offer can sell a car, the Audi’s attractive curved OLED panel has lots of showroom appeal. It’s practical, too, with lots of cabin space and even a decent towing figure. It’s expensive, though, and while refinement impresses, the Q6 e-tron isn’t very engaging to drive.

Audi Q6 e-tron models, specs and alternatives

The Audi Q6 e-tron is billed as the German manufacturer’s mid-size electric SUV, but it feels larger and posher than the class average and costs from just under £70k in entry-level trim. A more affordable two-wheel-drive version will arrive later on, but even this will still be a pricey car. Of course, rivals like the BMW iX3, Mercedes EQC and Porsche Macan Electric aren’t exactly cheap either. 

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Being fairly large outside, the Q6 e-tron is also impressively spacious and practical if you’re after a family do-it-all with panache. There’s loads of room in the five front and rear seats, while its boot is a decent size and it can even tow over two tonnes. Design and finishes mostly live up to Audi’s reputation as well, with an attractive and well-finished layout along with plenty of tech. We found its head-up display and OLED instrument and infotainment screens very slick, even if we’d rather there were a few more physical controls.

Both the regular Q6 e-tron quattro and the sporty SQ6 get the same 95kWh battery, dishing out a range of more than 350 miles according to Audi. We managed around 300 miles in the real world, and 270kW rapid charging speeds means it’s quick to get going again – up to 150 miles of range can be added in 10 minutes.

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Straight-line speed is convincing enough, and the Q6 e-tron is the first Audi to be offered with full ‘one-pedal’ regenerative braking that will bring you to a stop, but this isn’t a particularly sporty EV to drive, even in SQ6 guise. Audi has clearly prioritised comfort and refinement, which is no bad thing, so the Q6 e-tron is better suited to dispatching a motorway in near-silence than carving up a back road. 

Trim levels

Power options

  • Sport
  • S line
  • Edition 1
  • Q6 e-tron quattro (383bhp)
  • SQ6 (510bhp)

Range, charging & running costs

“New battery provides decent range and fast charging”

The Q6 e-tron is the first Audi based on the Volkswagen Group’s new set of building blocks for premium electric cars called ‘PPE’. What you really need to know is that this packs in Audi’s latest technology to boost charging speeds and driving range, so owners should have to stop less often, and spend less time waiting when they do.

Audi claims it’s possible to add 150 miles of range per 10 minutes of being plugged into the latest and fastest public chargers. Using 270kW charging speeds it can be topped up from 10-80% in 21 minutes.

The Sport trim gets the headline range figure of just over 380 miles, but pick the S line or Edition 1 trim of our test car, and features like larger alloy wheels and extra kit bring this figure down closer to 350 miles. These are competitive figures, but not quite class-leading, and its Polestar 4 rival can manage up to 385 miles.
 

Model 

Battery size

Range

Audi Q6 e-tron Sport quattro

95kWh

381 miles

Audi SQ6 e-tron quattro

95kWh

361 miles

How efficient is the Audi Q6 e-tron in the real world

We’ve only driven the Q6 e-tron Edition 1 so far at its launch event, but we did see a real-world range of almost 300 miles without stopping. This equates to an efficiency figure of around 2.8-3.0 miles/kWh, which is only average, so could point towards the fact the Q6 e-tron’s weight blunts its efficiency somewhat.

What will the Audi Q6 e-tron cost to insure?

Big, tech-laden and powerful electric SUVs tend to slot into pricey insurance bands between 40-50 on the 50-group scale, so they can be as costly to cover as sports cars. This is precisely the case for the Q6 e-tron, which occupies groups 49 and 50 respectively for the regular and SQ6 versions.

Electric motor, drive & performance

“The Q6 e-tron feels rather Audi-like, serving up a reassuring driving experience, but without much driver engagement”

One of the first things you’ll notice is that the Q6 e-tron feels pretty big. It might not be especially long, but it’s actually slightly wider than the flagship Q8 e-tron positioned above it in Audi’s lineup, and this could make it feel a touch unwieldy when we try it out on British B-roads. 

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There’s no denying its refinement, though. Audi has clearly tried to capitalise on the inherent quietness of electric propulsion, making the Q6 e-tron feel smooth and relaxing. There’s also plenty of oomph in the entry-level dual motor version to get the electric SUV up to speed. 

Is it good to drive in town?

Aside from its width, the Q6 e-tron is good to drive in town thanks to its smooth acceleration, light steering and new-for-Audi ‘one-pedal driving’. While the driver can adjust the level of regenerative braking they want, in its highest setting the car will now come to a complete stop if you release the accelerator pedal. In fact, in up to 90% of scenarios Audi doesn’t think drivers will need to touch the brake pedal. 

Is it good to drive on long journeys?

Absolutely. As we mentioned above, the Q6 e-tron is an excellent cruiser thanks to its quiet motors, vault-like interior and smooth suspension. There’s minimal wind noise, and if you do encounter motorway traffic, the lack of gears and smooth power delivery also mean repeatedly slowing down and speeding up is less of a chore.

Is it good to drive on B-roads?

We’ve only driven it on smooth Spanish roads so far, but the Q6 e-tron doesn’t really feel like it was designed to attack a country lane – you’ll be better off with a Porsche Macan Electric if that’s what you’re after. The Q6 e-tron is accurate and planted enough, but you can feel the fact it weighs 2.3 tonnes and there’s not much feedback to reward or engage the driver.

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A go in the more powerful and overtly sporty SQ6 did little to transform this sensation, because while it’s faster to accelerate, its chassis upgrades aren’t quite enough to transform the driving experience.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Audi Q6 e-tron Sport quattro

383bhp

5.9s

130mph

Audi SQ6 e-tron quattro

510bhp

4.3

142mph

Carbuyer notes

“Comfort is excellent, in fact; not once did we notice the car crash or shake through potholes” Richard Ingram, Deputy Editor

Interior & comfort

“Arguably the reason you’d buy the Q6 e-tron, it’s interior is modern, high-quality and hi-tech”

Overall, the Audi Q6 e-tron’s interior design and technology is a triumph, with some features that sit right at the top of the class. Audi’s reputation for excellent materials, swish finishes and an upmarket feel is still very much present and correct. It’s not quite perfect, though, with a few niggles like the roller cover for the cupholders and some trim plugs (presumably where a switch might otherwise have been) letting the side down, but these are minor grumbles.

Is the Audi Q6 e-tron’s infotainment and navigation system easy to use?

The 14.5-inch infotainment screen is both attractive and good to use, with sharp graphics and snappy responses thanks to a suitably beefy processor. The 11.9-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument panel can serve up too much information at times, but that’s not too much of an issue when the standard head-up display is now so good. Audi has even taken a leaf out of Tesla’s book and provided some games to distract owners while sat charging, with controls including the paddles behind the steering wheel.

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A small gripe is the lack of physical controls for functions like the climate control, and it’s too easy to knock the steering wheel controls by mistake, jogging the volume while parking for instance.

Is the Audi Q6 e-tron well equipped?

Given that it starts from just shy of £70k, it’s no surprise that the Q6 e-tron comes well stocked even in its entry-level Sport trim. Start here and you can expect 19-inch alloy wheels, LED exterior lighting, heated seats, three-zone climate control and even a Bang & Olufsten stereo. The dual OLED display screens and 360-degree camera view also come as standard.

S line is likely to be popular, and gives the Q6 e-tron a more sporting makeover, complete with 20-inch wheels, a three-spoke sports steering wheel, tinted rear glass and a black roof lining. Edition 1 sees the wheels grow in size by another inch, while matrix LED lights, body-coloured exterior trim and upgraded seats are fitted, along with a 10.9-inch screen for the front passenger and Audi’s ‘e-tron sports sound’. 

What options should you choose on the Audi Q6 e-tron?

There aren’t loads of options available – especially given this is an Audi – but pick the Sport trim and you may rightly be tempted by the £3,000 Sound and Vision Pack. This brings the Augmented reality head-up display, a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 16 speakers (including two in the headrests) and backlit logos, along with ambient lighting, Audi’s ‘Dynamic interaction light’ and extra power for the USB charging ports to top up devices more quickly. If you’re already spending around £70k, this might be worth going for. There’s also a folding towbar (£1,000) and a pack that converts the under-bonnet area into a frunk for £500. 

Key features

Sport

  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • LED lighting
  • Heated seats
  • Twin OLED screens
  • 360-degree parking view
  • Bang & Olufsen stereo

S line 

(Sport plus…)

  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • S line body kit
  • Sports steering wheel (heated)
  • ‘S’ logo seats
  • Privacy glass

Edition 1 

(S line plus…)

  • 21-inch alloy wheels
  • Sports suspension
  • Matrix LED headlights
  • Electric front seats
  • Microfibre/leather upholstery
  • 10.9-inch passenger display
  • E-tron sports sound
 

Practicality & boot space

“There’s lots of interior space and a decent boot, but the frunk feels like an afterthought”

We were quite surprised just how spacious the Q6 e-tron feels when you hop inside. In fact, while Audi bills this as its ‘mid-size’ electric SUV, it feels a bit bigger than that in reality. This is no doubt aided by the compact nature of an EV’s motors, but there’s simply loads of room in the front of the cabin, with lots of adjustment for the steering wheel and seat.

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The same is true for the rear compartment, where even tall adults shouldn’t struggle to find a comfortable position. This could be a bonus for anyone looking to take clients or family on longer trips, where comfort in every seat is a priority.

Size comparison

Model 

Length

Width

Height

Audi Q6 e-tron

4,771mm

1,939mm

1,702mm

BMW iX3

4,734mm

1,891mm

1,668mm

Mercedes EQC

4,762mm

1,884mm

1,622mm

Porsche Macan Electric

4,784mm

1,936mm

1,622mm

Does the Audi Q6 e-tron have a big boot?

Designed from the ground up to be an electric car, the Audi Q6 e-tron has a big boot even though there’s a sizable 95kWh battery hidden within its floor. This clean-sheet design also means that unlike most prior Audi EV’s, the Q6 e-tron does get a practical 64-litre under-bonnet (or ‘frunk’) storage space. Strangely, though, you can only open this using a handle in the driver’s footwell instead of via the key like a Tesla Model Y or Model X, which isn’t ideal if you’ve got hands full of shopping, and you’ll need to pay an extra £500 for a ‘Storage and luggage compartment pack’.

Still, this is a practical family SUV, and Audi has even managed to cram a further storage space under the boot floor for valuables and items you don’t want rolling around the cargo compartment.

Boot space comparison

Model 

Boot space

Audi Q6 e-tron

526-1,529 litres

BMW iX3

510-1,560 litres

Mercedes EQC

500-1,460 litres

Porsche Macan Electric

540-1,348 litres

Is the Audi Q6 e-tron a good tow car?

Once you’ve added the somewhat pricey folding tow bar (budget just over £1,000), the Q6 e-tron can tow up to 2,400kg, which is an impressive amount for an EV. Of course, driving range is likely to drop significantly while hauling a large trailer or horsebox.

Reliability & safety

“Audi has a good reputation for crash safety, and the Q6 e-tron is loaded with standard kit”

Audi has a solid reputation for safety, frequently gaining five-star crash-test results from independent body Euro NCAP. It’s too early to tell how safe or reliable the Q6 e-tron will be, however, given that it’s only just gone on sale.

How safe is the Audi Q6 e-tron?

Without an official safety rating until it has been thoroughly tested, we’ll have to rely on Audi’s past form and the fact the Q6 e-tron comes loaded with all the latest safety features. In fact, Audi claims this car takes “road safety to a new level”, thanks to innovations like its second-generation OLED rear lights and ‘Car-to-X’ communication. In some situations, the rear lights can even display warning symbols to help alert following traffic to an accident or breakdown ahead. 

What are the Audi Q6 e-tron service intervals?

Audi currently offers different servicing plans for its e-tron models, so we expect the Q6 e-tron will also fall under these. They cover up to two years of servicing (around £450), or four years of servicing (from £900) that cover work including inspections, pollen filter and brake fluid changes.

What is the warranty on the Audi Q6 e-tron?

Audi offers a three-year/60,000-mile warranty on its new models, but this is complemented by a separate eight-year/100,000-mile warranty covering the battery pack. The former isn’t particularly generous, with a number of rivals offering a longer standard period of cover.

Should you buy an Audi Q6 e-tron?

If you’re in the market for a cutting-edge electric SUV, the Q6 e-tron feels like quite a big step up from the smaller Q4 e-tron. Not only can it go further and faster, it also has a more upmarket feel inside and an impressive new infotainment suite boasting OLED screens and crisp graphics.

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While its large size can make it feel unwieldy at times, the advantage is a seriously spacious cabin that’s ideal for tall drivers and their passengers. Its boot is a good size, too, but it’s a shame Audi still hasn’t fully embraced a Tesla or Ford Mach-E style frunk yet – it’s tricky to open and only fitted as part of a £500 storage pack.

Driving range figures could also be slightly hampered by the Audi’s heavyweight 2.3-tonne mass and size, but a big battery means 300 miles or more should be possible with careful driving. Performance is decent too, so long as you don’t mind Audi’s somewhat clinical feel from behind the wheel. There’s plenty of grip, but it’s tuned for refinement and comfort, rather than the fun on offer in a Porsche Macan Electric. 

What is the best Audi Q6 e-tron for families?

Considering it hardly misses out on any kit or performance, we’d plump for the entry-level Sport trim. This offers the best range of the bunch and it’s quiet and comfortable. Just don’t forget to tick the option for the front storage ‘frunk’ pack if you plan on using it.

What is the best Audi Q6 e-tron for keen drivers?

It goes without saying you’ll want the SQ6 if you’re looking for driving thrills, thanks to its impressive 510bhp power output and 4.3-second 0-62mph acceleration time that can really push you back in the driver’s seat.

What is the Carbuyer pick of the Audi Q6 e-tron range?

We’d stick with the Sport trim for the reasons given above, but we could also see the argument for going with S line. It’s only a few grand more expensive, comes with some extra kit, and it could even end up being good value if its residuals are stronger.

Audi Q6 e-tron alternatives

The Audi Q6 e-tron isn’t short of premium mid-sized electric SUV rivals, along with some coupe-SUVs and more overtly sporting takes on the formula from the likes of sister-brand Porsche.

How we tested the Audi Q6 e-tron

So far we’ve driven the Audi Q6 e-tron at its international launch event in Bilbao, Spain, on mostly smooth roads. We’re looking forward to testing it on British roads in the coming months.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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