Audi has offered a preview of its upcoming electric SUV at the company's annual press conference. Expected to be badged Q6, the new vehicle is based on the same basic MLB platform as the new Q7, but is built around a battery pack, which could be as large as 100kWh. The Q6 is not expected to hit showrooms globally before 2017-end.
Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s research and development boss, told the press conference that the Q6 was currently under development and that the final styling would take much from the Prologue concept car. Hackenberg had first confirmed to our sister publication Autocar UK, at the Los Angeles motor show 2014, that the Q6 was in the works.
Hackenberg added that the MLB platform had been designed to be flexible enough to accommodate a battery pack as well as plug-in hybrid and gas tanks for natural gas power. He also revealed that the next-generation Audi A4, which is based on the smallest version of the MLB platform and due to be seen later this year, will also come as a gas-powered version, dubbed the G-Tron.
"The Q6 will come," said Hackenberg. "It will be something new, following designs established on the Prologue concept. It will be positioned as something more emotional and sportier than the Q7. The Q7 will be a car for seven people, the Q6 will be more coupe like." The Q7 will be one of the last Audis with the current design language. It will have some visual differentiation from the Q7 both inside and out.
The Q6 is set to receive its own, unique five-door body, styled under the stewardship of new Audi design boss Marc Lichte. Among the various elements expected to set it apart from the more practical second-generation Q7, is a racier front end with a more sporting grille, more obvious tapering around each corner, shallower side glass, a generously sloping roofline, and a more heavily angled rear window.
In terms of performance and technology, the Q6 is described as being on par with Audi’s A8 flagship sedan, albeit with the added ability to go off road, thanks to its raised ride height and, on top-end models, adjustable air suspension. Ingolstadt’s big new SUV, will have an overall length of more than five metres, and will be offered with a range of V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines, alongside plug-in hybrids and possibly an all-electric version to rival the upcoming Tesla Model X SUV. In the same way that BMW has spun the X6 off the X5, the Q6is set to share its mechanical package with the forthcoming new Q7.
The Q6 has received the official nod for production and will hit international markets within the next three years. The range-topping Q6 SUV will challenge the likes of the BMW X6, Range Rover Sport and upcoming Mercedes-Benz MLC.
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