Audi Q6 E-tron 55 prototype

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Instead, the brief was to ensure that – rather than seeking to one-up its competitors – the Q6 should emulate as best as possible the attributes that have made the similarly sized Q5 Audi’s best-selling car for the past decade. And so while it is new in almost every conceivable way, the Q6 feels familiar by virtue of its commendable fusion of premium and practical appeal.

The boot is amply sized, the leg room in each row comparable with any rival, the slimline battery pack means the floor feels no higher than in a combustion-powered crossover and the general ambience is one of airiness and reassuringly solid quality. The atmosphere in our prototype car was dulled slightly by the oppressive black blanket used to shield a dramatically overhauled MMI infotainment screen from prying eyes (expect a full cabin reveal in the coming months), but every visible touchpoint was immaculately trimmed with suitably upmarket materials, and the switchgear we were allowed to use was sensibly positioned and satisfyingly responsive. 

And so too does the air-suspended Q6 iron out undulating, battered Tarmac with the sort of nonchalance you’d expect of a car so positioned – perhaps more competently, even. The Faroese roads we tried were far superior to the UK’s, but a few cattle grids, potholes and speed humps – not to mention several brief, two-wheeled forays onto unfinished verges – revealed a seemingly unflappable chassis set-up that succeeds in rounding out the imperfections that so often catch out other firmly sprung EVs. It’s quiet, too. Audi says acoustic refinement has been a big part of the testing programme, to which the subtle motor whine, minimal road road and tyre rumbling are testament.

Power is meted out predictably and sensibly in all driving modes – albeit with more of a shove in Dynamic – which boosts confidence and makes for a smoothing driving experience, and extensive re-engineering of the motor units themselves seems to have resulted in much more finely controlled throttle inputs. Long gone are the days of the off-and-on accelerator pedal that defined early electric cars. I found my sweet spot in power-sapping Dynamic mode with the brake regen turned all the way up to compensate for the accelerated loss of battery power, but even with the settings configured for full-on hypermiling, the Q6’s straight-line performance stops some way short of dull or languid. 

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