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Audi Australia says it hopes the three-year wait it saw for its Q4 e-tron electric mid-size SUV won’t be replicated for the larger Q6 e-tron.
The Q4 e-tron will finally arrive in Australia in the first half of 2024, but it will be an updated version, with Australia missing out on the original altogether thanks to a combination of supply chain issues and strong demand in Europe.
Speaking to CarsGuide at the launch of the updated RS6 and RS7, on the topic of the Q6 e-tron’s arrival timing, Audi Australia Managing Director, Jeff Mannering said “We don’t know yet. Is it going to be three years? I hope not. We don’t have market introduction or start of production confirmed yet, but it is still planned for the next 24 months.”
The Q6 e-tron has thus far been teased several times, firstly in racing-style livery, and secondly with a much more toned-down branded camouflage. The current ‘prototype’ version was most recently shown at the China International Import Expo. It looks very close to production, complete with sensors and cameras.
Elaborating, the brand’s National Product Planning Manager, Matt Dale, said: “What we’re seeing is typical of any new car. It will be drip-fed to the market before timings are announced. We have an exciting 24 months ahead, whether or not that car is part of that? Time will tell from a global roll-out perspective."
The Q6 e-tron is more than just another electric SUV for the brand, it will serve as essentially an electric version of its best-seller, and will also be the first Audi to debut the PPE platform.
This next-generation electric architecture is designed to replace the current J1 platform which underpins the e-tron GT and Q8 e-tron, serving as a larger, premium alternative to Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform which underpins the Q4.
The PPE platform offers an 800-volt architecture for ultra-rapid charging times, accommodates a scalable set of body styles, and is performance-ready, as it is a co-development with Porsche.
Elsewhere the Q6 e-tron debuts new interior features, with a front passenger-side touchscreen and a massive 14.5-inch multimedia display. It keeps to the same familiar styling language as the Q4 which the brand says is a deliberate move to keep its electric vehicles familiar for its existing customers.
The Q6 e-tron is confirmed to be built in Ingolstadt, but it looks as though it will also be built in a new joint-venture factory with China’s FAW. It is as-yet unclear whether Audi Australia will follow BMW in starting to source electric vehicles from China.
Interestingly, Mannering also mentioned that Audi currently has no "B-Segment battery electric car" yet, saying it might be another 24 months before we see it - backing up reports that Audi is working on a smaller electric car, perhaps based on the Volkswagen ID.3.
He also said there would be significant updates across much of Audi’s range in the same 24 month period as the brand works to refresh and electrify more of its range.
Meanwhile the Q4 will serve as a true test for a more mainstream electric Audi. As Mannering said: “It’s the first time we’re in a segment where we can do significant volume - Q8 e-tron was never going to be significant volume, e-tron GT, that’s not massive volume. Whether it’s one, two, three, four, five-thousand units, time will tell. We’re in the game now, and that’s the most important thing.
The entry-level Q4 45 e-tron in both SUV and coupe Sportback body styles will start from $88,300 before on-road costs when it arrives in 2024. Watch this space for final spec and timing, as well as any further details on the Q6 e-tron when they become available.