For the past six months or so we’ve known that Volkswagen’s performance arm Audi has plans to bring an all-electric SUV to market some time in 2018. Called the Audi Q6 e-tron, it is expected to cross-shop against the Tesla Model X crossover SUV with an all-electric range of 310 miles per charge on the NEDC test cycle.
As we explained last month, the first glimpse we’ll get of this important vehicle will happen later this year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, when Audi will preview a concept car known internally at Audi as the C-BEV.
While we’ve known some basics about the vehicle we’ll see in September, including the fact that it will be offered in all-electric, plug-in hybrid and possibly hydrogen fuel cell variants, Audi has kept details about its Tesla-beater close to its chest. But earlier this week, German car site Auto Motor und Sport (via Autocar) published what it claimed were the first real renderings of the concept car we’ll see for the first time in a few weeks.
It shows a vehicle that closely matches the proportions of other popular crossover SUVs in the performance market, including the BMW X6 Crossover Coupe and Mercedes-Benz GLE, with a sloping roofline that tapers towards the rear of the vehicle, a short, angular tailgate, and high wheel arches.
As with all leaked renderings, it’s tough to know for sure if what we’re looking at is the real deal. However, we’ve got to admit the rendered images shown by Auto Motor und Sport do bear a similarity to the teaser image released by Audi itself a few months ago.
This gives us confidence in the other information leaked by the magazine: a total power output of somewhere around 373 kilowatts (500 horsepower) and a total torque of around 516 pound feet, as well as a battery pack somewhere in the order of 90 kilowatt-hours in size.
That would certainly give the Q6 e-tron near the claimed 300+ mile range on the NEDC test cycle, although we’d expect real-world range to be nearer to 270 miles per charge.
Autocar says sources at Audi claim that the C-BEV will use some of the same powertrain elements found in Audi’s limited-production build-to-order R8 e-tron sports car, including its motor and battery pack technology.
But it says, the Q6 e-tron — or rather the C-BEV concept car that precedes it — will use not one but three electric motors. One will sit up front to drive the front wheels, while each rear wheel will have its own powerful electric motor.
What’s curious about this particular report is that AutoCar claims the C-BEV’s front motor will sit inside the vehicle’s automatic gearbox, leading us to believe that some of the power from the concept will come from an internal combustion engine.
This is different to previous rumours, which place the C-BEV as an all-electric model with production versions being available in a verity of different drivetrain configurations including electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen.
Sadly, we’re unable to clarify this rumor one way or the other — but with the Frankfurt Motor Show just a few months away it won’t be long until we find out for sure.
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