Well-rounded: Audi SQ6 e-tron driving report

The Audi SQ6 e-tron multitasks at the same time. It fends off competition from China, it can move powerfully without achieving the agility of its technical sibling, the Porsche Macan Electric, but it impresses with its balanced, neutral driving behaviour.

Audi has high hopes for the Q6 e-tron. ‚ÄúDespite competition from the US and China“We are convinced that we will be successful with the Q6 e-tron,” says product manager Philippe Bornert, playing it up. Tesla Model Y and BYD Tang. By the way, there will be a long version of Ingolstadt’s SUV for the Middle Kingdom. Of course, the domestic market also plays an important role in the planning of the generals with the four links. You can still make good money in Germany and you don’t want to have your bread taken away from your doorstep.

Placement under consideration

That’s why we jumped behind the wheel of the Audi SQ6 e-tron, which will be the top model until the RS variant is launched. With a power of 360 KW / 489 HP, it is anything but low power. A car that accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 230 km/h is anything but a lame crutch. Of course, the Audi SQ6 e-tron immediately comes to mind Porsche Macan Electric, with which Audi shares the Premium Platform Electric (PPE). The partnership has already been proven with the Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-tron GT. Especially when it comes to electrification, it is good to pay attention to the costs and distribute the financial burden between two shoulders.

Even if that means the cars will hit the market about two years later than originally planned. So the collaboration did not go smoothly. But more on that later. Let’s first look at the differences between the two affiliates. In terms of performance, the Audi SQ6 e-tron sits between the Macan Electric (300 kW / 408 hp) and the Macan Electric Turbo (470 kW / 639 hp). Both go their own way when it comes to the drivetrain: While the Zuffenhausen-based company uses modern permanent magnet motors (PSM) on both axles that are tuned for performance, Audi uses a mixed solution. A PSM at the rear axle and an asynchronous electric motor (ASM) at the front. This can also be seen from the power distribution of the SQ6 e-tron: 140 kW / 190 hp at the front with 275 Nm of torque and 280 kW / 381 hp at the rear with 580 Nm.

Good steering wheel

Audi deliberately chose this combination because the ASM motor causes no electrical drag losses when running without power, so it contributes nothing to propulsion. The reason is greater efficiency compared to pure PSM equipment, as the machine is disconnected from the engine whenever possible. In Ingolstadt they always talk about the “Audi DNA”. Which should be balanced. This is also reflected in the driving behavior. The SQ6 e-tron isn’t as decked out for agility and sportiness as the Macan Electric and has a smoother ride and isn’t quite as ‘sharp’. The Porsche makes everything a little more agile, whether it’s cornering, rushing corners or progressive acceleration out of the car. Further differences are that, unlike the Audi, the Macan Electric has rear-axle steering and the Macan Electric Turbo has a performance rear end, in which the electric motor rotates around the vehicle’s transverse axis while also being placed further back. . The result is a heavy rear axle load distribution of 48 percent front and 52 percent rear. For comparison: In the SQ6 e-tron it is 49.3 percent at the front and 50.7 at the rear. It fits the neutral driving behavior that Audi wants. You won’t find a limited slip differential on the rear axle either.

To avoid misunderstandings: You can travel quite fast with the Audi Stromer. The Ingolstadt-based company has taken a big step forward in recent years, especially when it comes to steering. The feel of the steering wheel is natural, not so synthetic anymore, and control commands are precisely applied. You always know what the grip is like. Let’s talk about charging and performance. Audi reports an average consumption of 18.4 kWh per 100 km. During our multi-speed test we achieved 24.7 kWh/100 km.

Curved screens inside

A battery with a capacity of 100 kWh (net 94.9 kWh) is installed in the Audi SQ6 etron, which means that the Ingolstadt-based electric vehicle can travel up to 598 kilometers. An important element of the PPE architecture is the 800 volt technology, which allows faster charging with a maximum limit of 270 kW. Audi states that the batteries charge from ten to 80 percent in 21 minutes. We did the hands-on test and arrived at the fast charging station with a battery level of just 4%. To provide energy for range save, the battery could not cool down to the ideal 25 degrees and was 35.2 degrees hot. That’s why the Audi Q6 e-tron was “only” filled with a maximum of 229 kW of electricity, but it maintained this level for quite some time, and 55 kWh flowed into the energy storage in 15 minutes. A compelling idea. In the event that only a 400 volt charging station is available, the battery craftsmen in Zuffenhausen and Ingolstadt have devised the bank charging system. The 800 volt batteries are split into two halves and filled with 400 volts and a maximum power of 135 kW. The separation is done by switches, which saves you the need for an inverter or amplifier that has to regulate the voltage, which increases the efficiency and thus the charging power. However, when recharging from AC to a wallbox, the SQ6 e-tron offers only moderate performance. Due to the 11 kW technology, it takes ten hours to fully charge the empty batteries. The fact that there is no more in a premium vehicle that costs at least 93,800 euros is a big minus. The 22 kW variant will be available as an option in the future.

Inside, Audi, like Lucid, follows the trend towards curved displays. The screen for the virtual instruments measures 11.9 inches and the touchscreen next to it is 14.5 inches. As in the Porsche, the front passenger now has its own 10.9-inch screen. The augmented reality head-up display projects the screen onto the road like an 88-inch screen. Audi has learned from the weaknesses of the Q4 e-tron: the content display has a higher contrast than before and therefore the innovative flying arrows are clearly visible even in bright light. The displays fit snugly into the surroundings and we got to the central touchscreen without any problems. The digital instrument display is overloaded and it takes a while to get used to the flood of information.

Space is not an issue in a 4.77m car without a driveshaft. There is also plenty of space in the back of the Audi and the trunk is quite large with a volume of 514 litres. If you fold the rear seat backs, it becomes 1,517 liters. However, Audi has the design freedom that a Electric car offers, are not optimally used. While the Zuffenhausen-based company has raised the selector for the automatic gearbox on the dashboard to create space in the middle, the Ingolstadt-based company still has a classic center console and thus a narrower feel than with the Macan Electric.

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