Audi invited me to take the new 2025 Q6 and SQ6 E-Tron for a couple of spins at its test track near Munich. You honestly can’t learn all that much from such a brief drive in a controlled environment, but my first impressions are positive. 

The SUV’s interior feels just as sturdy and high-quality as you’d expect from an Audi. Both models handled confidently enough through corners, particularly in “Dynamic” mode, which stiffened up the suspension. The Q6’s regenerative braking blended smoothly into regular, mechanical braking. A handy graphic on the SUV’s central screen indicated when that transition was happening and which axle was responsible for regenerative braking at any given moment, which was neat. 

2025 Audi Q6 E-Tron

I got a lot more time to poke around a stationary Q6’s infotainment system, which is a standout feature. 

(Full Disclosure: To make sure InsideEVs got a preview of the Q6 E-tron, Audi flew me out to Germany, put me up in a hotel and fed me schnitzel in large quantities.)

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The VW Group has had many software delays

Software is a consistent challenge for automakers who envision a future powered by wireless updates, new downloadable features, bug fixes and, of course, revenue. The software in the new Audi Q6 E-Tron suffered from numerous delays, but the Volkswagen Group says it's ready for deployment now. It's key to the conglomerate's future EV programs, so it had better work right. 

Inside The New Audi Q6 E-Tron

The Q6 gets a sprawling 14.5-inch central touchscreen and an 11.9-inch digital gauge cluster, which are both housed behind the same curved piece of glass that’s canted toward the driver. The idea was to envelop the driver without overwhelming him or her, Audi says. And I think it pulled that off. The Q6 E-Tron is also Audi’s first vehicle to offer a third display for the front passenger. 

2025 Audi Q6 E-Tron

What’s perhaps more important is the software powering those many screens. The Q6’s new, Android Automotive-based infotainment system—a first for Audi—was remarkably satisfying to use and responsive to taps, swipes and scrolls. All in all, playing around with the Q6’s dual touchscreens felt more like using a silky-smooth tech product than a typical automotive infotainment system. 

2025 Audi Q6 E-Tron

Audi chose Android because it’s a familiar platform to app developers, spokesperson Stefan Grillneder said. At launch, the Audi app store will have 40 apps to choose from—like Zoom, YouTube, a web browser and a racing game called Beach Buggy Racer—but the company expects to offer a wider selection over time. It envisions that games and other entertainment apps could help owners pass the time while charging. 

2025 Audi Q6 E-Tron passenger screen

The Q6 I poked around was loaded with PlugShare, the famously helpful charging station locator. Video games might get old after a while, but that sort of integration strikes me as a total no-brainer.

Audi is also introducing a more advanced voice assistant that I found impressively responsive. While the Audi Assistant doesn't integrate ChatGPT like Volkswagen's latest voice control offering, it does use AI to understand more prompts than previous systems. The feature can respond to more than 800 commands, Audi says, and suggest things based on a driver's past actions. For example, it might recommend the butt warmer if it notices that a driver tends to switch it on in certain weather. 

The 2025 Audi Q6 E-Tron infotainment screen

I asked the Audi Assistant to switch drive modes, route me to the nearest fast-charging station and open all the windows a crack, and it obliged without hesitation. 

A New Electronics and Software Architecture

As such, the Q6 E-Tron represents a leap forward in the Volkswagen Group’s digital transformation. The company, like most automakers, envisions cars that are deeply computerized, filled with powerful software and endlessly updatable. The Q6 E-Tron debuts E3 1.2, VW’s latest electronics and software architecture developed by Cariad, its software division. (That will also come on the Porsche Macan, a close relative of the Q6.)

Audi E3 1.2 electronics in the 2025 Q6 E-Tron

“What you have to keep in mind is that this is the most ambitious and the most performant electronics architecture that the VW Group has ever developed,” a Cariad spokesperson told InsideEVs. 

2026 Audi Q6 e-tron interior detail

In the new Audi, five computers control all major vehicle functions—from the infotainment screens to driver assistance systems to battery management. Traditionally, each individual component or sensor in a car—from the seat controls to the radar system—had its own discrete computer module and software. Those dozens of control units couldn’t communicate with each other or receive software updates. That’s what automakers like VW are moving away from, following Tesla’s lead toward vehicles that function more like tech products.

E3 1.2 introduces a vastly more capable and centralized computing system than VW previously had, Cariad representatives said. Previous architectures allowed for limited software updates to things like the navigation system or other application data, they said. Thanks to E3 1.2, Audi can dig deep into a vehicle to improve things, fix bugs or offer new paid features. 

2026 Audi Q6 e-tron interior detail

Importantly, the Q6 E-Tron is Audi’s first vehicle that will receive over-the-air software updates. (Before, Audi offered “functions on demand,” features owners could pay for, but not a stream of regular software updates, which Tesla pioneered.)

Updatability is a big benefit of E3 1.2. The new setup should also help the Q6 function better, Audi says. For one, more processing power allowed Audi to enhance the size and resolution of its infotainment screens. A Cariad spokesperson said that having all the driving dynamics handled by a single computer—a VW first—should boost performance. 

2025 Audi Q6 E-Tron

Cariad has suffered delays and executive shakeups in getting its software into production, so all eyes will be on E3 1.2 as the Q6 rolls out to customers. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on a Q6 E-Tron as soon as we can and rendering a more complete review.

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