I know it’s fun for automotive enthusiasts to be flippant and shrug off the plethora of compact and midsize premium SUVs, but it’s a crucial market. The Audi Q6 E-Tron is here to snap up all of those compact crossover shoppers looking for a really nice EV. Or, at least, it's here to get the buyers who think the Q4 E-Tron is too small and the Q8 E-Tron is too big.

Hair-splitting aside, the Q6 E-Tron is an important model for Audi. This is its first model that uses the same fully electric platform that underpins the new Porsche Macan, which should hopefully bring the benefits of that new architecture down to a price that isn’t so far out in the stratosphere. 


So, does Audi’s latest EV crossover have what it takes to carve out a niche in a crowded market? To see what the Audi Q6 and SQ6 E-Tron are all about, I traveled to a chilly, rainy part of Northern Spain to drive both variants of Audi’s new electric crossover. 

(Full Disclosure: Audi flew me to San Sebastián to test the Q6 and SQ6 e-tron. The brand provided flights and lodging.)


What is it?

At its core, the Audi Q6 E-Tron is a fully electric compact crossover slotted between the subcompact Q4 E-Tron and the larger Q8 E-Tron. But, there’s a little more to the story here. While the Q4 E-Tron is an Audi-ified version of the Volkswagen ID.4, and the Q8 E-Tron is effectively a regular ICE Q8 with batteries stuffed under it, the Q6 E-Tron is Audi’s first SUV on a premium EV-specific platform.

Called PPE (Premium Platform Electric), this platform officially debuted on the new Porsche Macan. It has a lot of new nifty features not found on either the Q4 or Q8 E-Tron, like an 800-volt architecture for speedy charging and improved efficiency. It also has a new electronic architecture meant to cope with all the computerized infotainment and ADAS systems that Audi plans in the future.

But while the Porsche Macan is a sports-oriented Porsche crossover, the Q6 is designed to be smoother and less hardcore. It shouldn’t be nearly as expensive, but Audi still hasn’t pricing details. Its sizing and (theoretical) pricing put it in direct competition with some really important models like the Polestar 3 or Cadillac Lyriq. Because of its segment and new architecture, it may be the most important Audi on sale.


I find the Q6 to be kind of an odd car to look at. Like most other modern Audis, there are a lot of styling elements—plenty of surface changes, lines, trim pieces and painstakingly integrated details inside and out. I have a hard time focusing on anything in particular. Despite the huge wheels, I don’t find the proportions of the car to be all that interesting. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t really feel like anything new.

I hesitate to call the car ugly, but I can’t say it looks pretty. I think most Audi fans will like it though, it generally looks as good (or bad) as the rest of Audi’s crossover lineup. It’s nice that Audi’s designers haven’t gone out of their way to make the vehicle virtue signal that it’s an electric car. Aside from a smooth grille, there’s no real giveaway that the car isn’t a traditional gas-powered crossover. For those in search of a stealth EV, that’s a win. 

What are the Specs of the Audi Q6 E-Tron?

The PPE platform is a big deal for the VW group. Already we’ve got the new Macan EV and now the Q6 and SQ6 EV, but it's a platform designed from the outset to house luxury cars and crossovers alike. It’s got a nifty 800-volt architecture, able to feed a few combinations of motors and batteries.

U.S.-market Q6s and SQ6s will be available in only two configurations. Both models get a 12-module 94.9-kWh (100 kWh gross) battery. Audi says the Q6 will do 300 miles on a charge. The company hasn’t given a figure for the SQ6, and neither crossover has an official EPA range yet. The battery feeds a dual-motor setup, rated for 422 horsepower (able to boost up to 456 hp for launch control bursts) in the Q6, and 483 hp (510 hp when boosted) in the SQ6.

The front motor is an asynchronous (ASM) unit that kicks in when needed, while the rear motor is a permanent magnet design responsible for most of the Q6’s propulsion. Audi claims 5.0 seconds to 60 for the Q6, while that drops to 4.2 seconds for the SQ6.

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Both models use a computer-controlled air suspension.  The SQ6 gets a stiffer anti-roll bar and a more aggressive wheel-and-tire package, but the air suspension is mechanically identical. Audi engineers say a lot of the SQ6’s improved dynamics come from the suspension’s more aggressive tuning.

What's it like to drive?

In a word, smooth. Like most other EVs, the Q6 E-Tron is a hefty vehicle, and it takes work to create a suspension and chassis setup that can handle the relatively high weight without feeling overly stiff, crashy or mushy. Audi has succeeded here. The Q6 and SQ6 both practically glide over all road imperfections. Coupled with a hushed interior, the Audi’s latest EV crossover genuinely feels expensive, if not downright palatial, compared to cars like the Polestar 3.

With more than 400 horsepower on tap, both cars made them feel swift on Spanish backroads. I did notice the difference, though. The Q6 is quick, but the SQ6 is quicker, not just on paper but by feel, too. Both cars generally have the same dynamic guts, fairly flat cornering and oodles of grip for a compact crossover, but the SQ6 is stiffer, and just overall more in tune with the road. By comparison, the standard Q6 is a comfortable cruiser with little sporting intention. If you’re in search of an electric Audi crossover with some driving zest, you’ll have to opt for the SQ6. 


Unfortunately, both the Q6 and SQ6’s steering felt relatively light and numb. I didn’t mind it in the luxury-oriented Q6, but I expected a little more heft and feel for its SQ6 sibling. Perhaps an RS Q6 E-Tron will satiate that desire. 

What’s Good? 

There’s something to be said about a “normal” EV, one where the driving experience is nearly identical to a standard gas-powered car. The Q6 E-Tron’s user interface and driving dynamics feel familiar.

If Audi had put its generic 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engine under the hood here, they’d have a pretty comfortable (if slightly uninteresting) compact premium ICE crossover. For buyers who find cars like the Tesla Model Y too unrefined and minimalist, or find the BMW iX’s styling too hard to swallow, the Audi Q6 E-Tron will be refreshing.


Also, it feels expensive. In the era of the electric vehicle, many automakers cut corners inside the car to compensate for the added cost of battery manufacturing. Here, the interior feels as nice as any other Audi. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and all the plastics feel high quality and soft touch. There are only a few very minor pieces—like the cup holder’s chintzy retractable door—that feel out of sync with the rest of Audi’s quality. 

What’s Not So Good?

I consider myself screen agnostic. I don’t necessarily decry the end of physical buttons, because I think a well-executed screen setup can suffice. But does Audi succeed with a mostly screen-only setup? Uh, almost. 


The screens themselves are very responsive, including the third screen in front of the passenger. Yet I found the interface to be cluttered and text-heavy. There are a lot of options and ways to customize the vehicle’s driving settings, HVAC and infotainment system, but they’re presented in a way that just feels like a huge wall of text.

I can’t pin this on being an electric Audi quirk, because the infotainment on Audi’s ICE vehicles is similarly cluttered. At least a driver can opt out entirely and use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 

How Is It As An EV?

We don’t have an official EPA rating for either car. Audi says the standard Q6 E-Tron “achieves over 300 miles of range on the EPA test cycle based on preliminary manufacturer estimates,” but offers no specific number. It has not announced any range figure for the U.S.-market SQ6. 

Over roughly an hour and a half of driving the Q6 and SQ6 around onchilly and rainy day in Spain, the SQ6 e-tron’s vehicle trip computer claimed the car was achieving 24.2 kWh per 100 km. That would translate to 2.56 miles per kWh. That’s not ideal, but these weren’t ideal conditions. It was remarkably chilly that day, barely touching 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the driving was fairly spirited, albeit less spirited than if it had been dry. 

Both cars have a relatively high level of regenerative braking. There are three manual settings, a fully automatic mode and a full one-pedal driving option. One pedal is aggressive, but it’s fairly smooth, quickly rolling on to a stop when you lift off the accelerator. It manages to avoid the head jerk, sea-sick feeling of an Uber driver in a Tesla slamming their occupants around the cabin.

Audi says that both cars will take a maximum 270 kW when fast charging and zip from 10-80% in a speedy 21 minutes.


Early Verdict

There’s a lot to like about the Q6 and SQ6 E-Tron. Even me, a person who is generally indifferent to Audi products, found the two cars to be agreeable on the road, even if they don’t feel as earth-shaking or impactful as cars from other brands. For example, the Polestar 4 is more interesting to look at and drive, but its lack of a rear window makes it a non-starter for a lot of buyers. The Audi is less exciting, but it’s also far more familiar.

I think that’s what people really want right now. Buyers are in search of an electric car that just works. People want a car that feels normal, and doesn’t have any weird caveats that make people ask themselves “Can I really live with this thing?” The Audi feels normal.

Considering that we need more people behind the wheel of EVs, that’s not a bad thing. 

Gallery: 2025 Audi Q6/SQ6 e-tron Manufacturer Photos

Contact the author: kevin.williams@insideevs.com

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