— Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
It's a pretty big stretch to call a neon orange and purple wrap "camouflage.” Nevertheless, the vehicle you see here wrapped in an oxymoronic vibrant concealer is Audi's next electric SUV: the Q6 E-Tron. It'll slot between the Q4 E-Tron and Q8 E-Tron, and because Audi’s doing the whole odds-and-evens naming structure now, you can think of the Q6 as the electric counterpart to the strong-selling Q5.
Before letting me loose around the Faroe Islands – which are absolutely incredible, by the way – Audi explained that the Q6 and SQ6 prototypes I'm driving are roughly 90 percent done in terms of powertrain engineering, but only about 60 percent finished in areas like chassis development and electronic fine-tuning. Audi expects to reveal the Q6 E-Tron (and sportier SQ6 E-Tron) sometime in 2024, and it'll likely go on sale later that year as a 2025 model, but that’s still very much TBD. In other words, don't expect to see this one at your local dealer for a while.
|Quick Specs||2025 Audi Q6 55 E-Tron Prototype|
|Motor||Dual Electric Motors|
|Range||325 Miles (est.)|
|Base Price||$65,000 (est.)|
Gallery: 2025 Audi Q6 E-Tron Prototype First Drive Review
What We Know Right Now
The basis for the Q6 and SQ6 is the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture shared by Audi and Porsche. Crucially, that means the Q6 and SQ6 benefit from 800-volt electrical hardware, allowing for 270-kilowatt max charging speeds – assuming you can find a working 350-kW public charging station – allowing the battery to go from a 10- to 80-percent state of charge in about 30 minutes.
Both variants will use a 100.0-kilowatt-hour battery and dual-motor setup. Audi is estimating 375 horsepower for the Q6 55 E-Tron – the weird numeral nomenclature implies there could be more or less powerful variants to come – with a power boost function upping output to 396 hp. Expect a 0-to-60-mph time of less than 6 seconds, and Audi is hoping for a driving range of 373 miles under the optimistic European WLTP standards. The American EPA figure will almost certainly be a lot lower (likely close to 325 miles).
For the SQ6, base power output is expected to be 483 hp, rising to 510 hp for short spurts. This more powerful version will naturally be quicker, with Audi estimating a 0-to-60 time of less than 4.5 seconds, meaning the SQ6 will just barely beat the SQ5 in this benchmark dash.
Speaking of the SQ5 – and standard Q5, for that matter – the Q6 E-Tron and SQ6 E-Tron will be very similar to their internal combustion counterparts in terms of size. Audi can’t confirm any dimensional specs right now, but a spokesperson tells me the E-Trons will have shorter front and rear overhangs than the Q5, along with more space inside. I’ll definitely take his word on that last bit, as this especially tall Audi rep rode along with me in the Q6, which has a surprising amount of rear head- and legroom.
Solid Bones Yield Engaging Results
Considering the Q6’s underpinnings will serve a dual purpose under the upcoming Porsche Macan EV, it’s not really a shock that this SUV drives so well. The adaptive air suspension is great, making this midsize crossover as comfy as it is adept at smoothing out the Faroes’ erosion-warped roads, and the heavy battery pack’s placement way down low in the chassis helps with stability while cornering.
Switching between Comfort, Balanced, and Dynamic modes reveals a few small differences, but not so much that I’d likely make a point of switching between them day to day. The gap between Comfort and Balanced is almost imperceptible at times, both offering light steering and predictable body motions. Dynamic adds a little weight to the wheel, which I appreciate while dodging sheep on narrow Faroese roads (seriously, so many sheep), but even then, the Q6 prioritizes a cushy ride above all.
The SQ6 has a bit more verve, but the most noticeable difference is the available power – the chassis and steering don’t feel wildly different from the Q6 55, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Put your foot down and this thing takes off with immediate acceleration and great composure. My positive impressions of hard-launching the SQ6 are a stark contrast to what I experienced in the new Lotus Eletre, and given the latter brand’s performance pedigree, you’d think it’d be the other way around.
Regenerative braking is another Q6/SQ6 strong suit, which is something else I didn’t expect to say, what with Audi’s (and Porsche’s) longstanding aversion to one-pedal driving. No, the new E-Trons won’t give you a proper one-pedal experience, but the various levels of regen – selectable through the steering wheel paddles – are at least more pronounced than in other Volkswagen Group products. Move the gear selector from D to B and the regen power gets even stronger, and the throttle is super easy to modulate. I love driving the Q6 and SQ6 this way.
So Far, So Good
Looking at the luxury EV landscape, the Q6 E-Tron and SQ6 E-Tron’s closest rivals will be the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and AMG EQE SUV, in addition to the you-probably-forgot-about-me Jaguar I-Pace and don’t-look-at-my-panel-gaps Tesla Model Y. But this space is going to get crowded, and soon, with entries like the Maserati Grecale Folgore and Polestar 3 headed this way.
There’s still a lot left to learn about the Q6 E-Tron, including what’s under all the black camouflage fabric inside the cabin (hint: it’s a wide screen), whether or not its cool new headlights will ever come to the US, and what sort of driver-assistance systems are installed. For the moment, at least, both the Q6 and SQ6 make a great first impression – with an exciting camo wrap to match.