Wagons not dead in the electric-car era, Audi A6 E-Tron spy photos show

4 minutes, 19 seconds Read

The station wagon will survive the switch to electric cars – including at Audi – as car makers look for the most aerodynamic body styles to chase every last kilometre of driving range.


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The Audi A6 Avant E-Tron – the name for the wagon version of the upcoming electric Audi A6 luxury sedan, due in 2024 – has been caught on camera in Europe with less disguise than ever.

It will be one of a growing number of electric station wagons of all sizes – from entry-level MGs to high-performance Porsches – as car makers commit to offering traditional body styles alongside more popular SUVs.

While wagons are not as popular as they were two decades ago – due to the rise of SUVs – they remain relatively popular in Europe, and crucially for an electric car, can drive further on a single charge due to their more aerodynamic bodies.

The new Audi A6 E-Tron wagon will rival the long-roofed ‘Touring’ version of the new BMW i5 – the electric 5 Series sedan – which is due in overseas showrooms mid next year but, as with petrol 5 Series Touring wagons, will not come to Australia.

Of more interest to Audi Australia is likely to be the high-performance version, the RS6 Avant E-Tron, which alongside its mechanically-identical sedan sibling is tipped to develop more than 450kW.

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A6 Avant E-Tron concept.

The majority of Audi A6 sedans and wagons sold in Australia from January to August 2021 were $250,000 RS6 Avant wagons – with 441kW/800Nm twin-turbo petrol V8 engines – and it outsold the related RS7 Sportback liftback (sedan with a hatchback-style boot).

Audi and BMW are also preparing wagon variants of their mid-size electric vehicles, the Audi A4 E-Tron due in 2024 or 2025, and BMW i3 due in 2026.

Meanwhile German rival Mercedes-Benz is withdrawing from the wagon market, as it rationalises its model range in the transition from petrol and diesel, to electric vehicles.

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A6 Avant E-Tron concept.

The electric Audi A6 sedan and wagon will be sold alongside new generations of today’s petrol and diesel A6 sedan and wagon, which are expected to be renamed A7 – as in future, odd numbers will denote traditionally-powered Audis, while even numbers will be used on electric cars.

The Audi A6 Avant E-Tron prototype photographed testing in Europe wears minimal camouflage, and is an evolution of the 2021 concept of the same name.

The most notable change is the move to split headlights – with the daytime-running lights placed above the main headlight beams – which will be adopted by other Audi petrol and electric models in the coming years, from the electric A6 to the next Q3 small petrol SUV.

There are production-ready recessed door handles and toned-down body lines compared to the concept, while this prototype wears camera side mirrors, which replace traditional mirrors with cameras mounted to the side of the car, projecting their feed to screens inside.

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Camera-based “virtual” mirrors can be made more aerodynamic than conventional designs – improving driving range – but come at a cost for the buyer. On the Audi Q8 E-Tron electric SUV they are a $3500 option.

The A6 E-Tron range is underpinned by a new PPE electric-car platform co-developed by Audi and Porsche, also set to feature beneath the Audi Q6 E-Tron and new Porsche Macan electric SUVs, and the smaller Audi A4 E-Tron sedan and wagon.

The architecture is capable of driving ranges up to 700km in the most aerodynamically-efficient vehicles, and 270kW fast charging good for adding 300km of estimated range in 10 minutes on a compatible charger.

It can support single-motor rear-wheel-drive and dual-motor all-wheel-drive configurations, which in the flagship RS6 E-Tron performance models will reportedly produce more than 450kW and 1000Nm.

There is only one electric wagon on sale in Australia, the high-riding Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, which is priced from about $185,000 to $295,000 before on-road costs.

In Europe it is available in a low-riding Sport Turismo form – alongside a fleet of other electric wagons large and small, from the MG 5 Electric priced from about $55,000, to models from Volkswagen, Peugeot, Opel, and Chinese electric-car start-up Nio.

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Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex MisoyannisLinkIcon

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