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Audi Q6 e-tron quattro first drive review: All-electric SUV that impresses with its space, tech and handling

Audi Q6 e-tron quattro first drive review: All-electric SUV that impresses with its space, tech and handling
The newest member of the 'Q' family from Audi is a charming all-electric SUV that impresses with its space, tech and handling.
PHOTO: sgCarMart

The Audi Q6 e-tron is the third and latest all-electric SUV after the Q8 e-tron and Q4 e-tron models, the latter just unveiled in Singapore last month at ION Orchard in a pop-up showcase that will last till July 7.

According to Audi, the Q6 e-tron promises to be the best model yet, as it goes head on with giants like the BMW iX, the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV as well as the Porsche Macan BEV.

A kind of magic

With its simple and smart styling, I can hardly disagree with the carmaker. On first glance, the Audi Q6 e-tron comes across as a humble giant that's instantly recognisable as a luxurious and advanced model. You get a new generation LED and OLED technology that debut on the SUV, with daytime running lights featuring some 61 programmable white LED segments on each side.

At the back, the new Audi presents an impressive light show from the 360 digital OLED segments that can display animated sequences that greet the driver when locking the vehicle. Where it gets really helpful is when the selected lights signatures are able to warn other vehicles of imminent heavy braking, or they'll even signal to an approaching road user if a door is being opened.

Also helpful is the fact that the Q6 e-tron has a charging port on each side, so you don't have to worry about parking positions. That said, only the port on the left supports rapid charging. Whatever the case, thanks to the car's advanced technology, covers on both sides can be opened electrically from inside the car, and they'll close automatically once the cable is removed.

Take your heart away

Similarly impressive is the Q6 e-tron's cabin. Here, everything is what you'd expect from the German luxury carmaker, with unparalleled fit and finish, as well as an impeccable attention to detail. You also get the sense that this new model is a notch above the Q8 and Q4 e-tron siblings - neither because of the materials used, nor because of the matchless fittings, but due to the fact that the Q6 is much more minimalistic, with just a handful of physical buttons occupying the centre console.

Good news is that the cabin is immediately uncluttered, which is perfect for drivers who prefer their car cabins neat and tidy. Most things else, you'll have to control them via the all-new 14.5-inch infotainment system.

Speaking of infotainment system, the curved touchscreen taking centre stage that Audi calls 'digital stage' is a lovely technology that's sparkling, sharp and snappy. According to Audi, the Q6 also has AI programme ChatGPT integrated into the system, which allows drivers to attain answers that Audi's older system cannot provide. This feature, however, will be subjected to approval for Singapore when the car arrives at the end of this year. Hence, while BMW's iDrive remains to be class-leading, Audi's MMI has significantly bridged the gap over the years, making it a close second in the business, methinks. 

Elsewhere, the Q6 e-tron excels as an electric SUV. Space is the royal order for the day, sufficient for three Asian adults at the back. Head, leg and shoulder room is certainly adequate all around, including the 526-litre boot space that supersedes the BMW iX's 500 litres and the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV's 520 litres. You even get a useful 64-litre frunk up front to store the charging cables or any other smaller items.

To the Moon and back

When it comes to power and punch, this Audi has the kind of performance that's irrefutably on par with some of the hottest hatches in the market today. Thanks to two motors - one at the front and another at the rear - the Q6 e-tron quattro produces some 380bhp and 580Nm of torque before you can even start counting.

Before you know it, everything around you becomes a complete blur and your head is snapped back to the headrest as the car races to the 100km/h mark in just 5.9 seconds. Once you're done fooling around, lift your right foot and the car's regenerative braking will steadily slow the car down, depending on which one of the five settings you choose. My favourite is the one-pedal driving mode that can bring the 2.3-tonne SUV to a complete halt without the need to touch the brake pedal.

Of course, it takes a bit of time to get used to this, especially when you're approaching a slip road or when you're about to tackle bends, but it's never to the point of being troubling. Always compliant and confident, our Q6 e-tron quattro test car never fails to be grippy and comfortable all at once, which is key especially if it's the kind of vehicle you're going to ferry your loved ones in. 

You could man-handle the car in 'Dynamic' mode if you so choose to with the extra grunt and tighter body, but I kept it mostly in 'Comfort' mode considering there's less vibration, more refinement and a balanced progress as you squeeze the right pedal. 

She's electric

In this driving mode, the range of the car becomes a lot more palatable. With the 100kWh battery pack, you get 625km of range on a full charge on paper. In real-life situations, I suspect you will get a more realistic 570km at the start which, suffice to say, is more than enough for most Singaporeans to drive around the island for about 10 or even 14 days. 

Truth be told, it is objectively difficult to fault the Audi Q6 e-tron quattro in most aspects. It's easy on the eye, rides well, is quick when you need it to be and has a cabin that will satisfy even the most demanding critic. Sure, it's another full-electric SUV that poses more 'aahhhs' than 'oohhhs', but it is admittedly what people are looking for. 

After all, this is indeed the best 'Q' car Audi has created after the Q8 and Q4 e-tron models.

ALSO READ: Audi launches Q4 e-tron in Singapore with an extremely attractive price tag

This article was first published in sgCarMart.

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