How the interior of the Audi Q6 e-tron applies the brand’s new design philosophy in series production
Designed from the inside out: The interior of the new Audi Q6 e-tron model series is tailored more closely than ever to the user’s needs and has been reimagined accordingly. For example, the three-dimensional, high-contrast design deliberately places elements in the foreground or background, creating a three-dimensional spatial architecture with aesthetics and ergonomics perfectly tuned to the occupants.
- Human-centric: The needs and desires of the occupants as the starting point for the design of the space, its architecture and functions
- Digital stage: Sculptured, free-standing curved display with front passenger display and augmented reality head-up display form the digital cockpit in the new model
- Material-driven design: Three-dimensional applications lend a generous sense of spaciousness, lightness, comfort, and coziness
The Audi Q6 e-tron is the first model series based on the newly developed Premium Platform Electric (PPE) and the new E3 electronics architecture. Both serve as the basis for rethinking the interior’s design and range of functions. Technology, aesthetics, and sustainability are in perfect balance in the Audi Q6 e-tron.
“All-encompassing digitalization, the central importance of sustainability and personal freedom, new definitions of time well spent and luxury – we unquestionably live in the most exciting times in the history of automotive design. So it is exactly the right moment for brave and creative minds to ask innovative questions and leave the well-trodden path to find intelligent answers elsewhere,” says Head of Audi Design Marc Lichte. “One of these questions forms the starting point of our new design process: What do our customers want to experience in and with their vehicle? Because their needs and desires uniquely shape the space, the architecture, and the functions. By understanding the interior as the center of our customers’ lives and experiences, we are rejecting the status quo and systematically designing the vehicle from the inside out. With the Q6 e-tron, we are giving our vision concrete form in the present.”
Interior: Design unified
The interior features clear structures and emphasizes a cozy ambiance. The so-called Softwrap extends from the doors through the entire cockpit to the center console, creating a homogeneous and welcoming feeling of space. The colors and high-quality materials, some of which are made from recycled materials, are also used in the seats.
This brings together all the interior components as though they were designed as a single space; the occupants feel like they are in a snug cocoon. The materials used were selected with functionality in mind and delineate the different areas of the vehicle interior through their design. Areas emphasizing comfort stand out with their large surfaces and soft materials. In contrast, the precisely designed operating areas purposefully come in high-quality, high-gloss black to provide the necessary clarity when interacting with the vehicle.
The aim was to give the materials a much stronger presence by increasing their density and quality. The interior trim now becomes a functional design element. Besides providing a feeling of spaciousness, this philosophy creates clarity as well as comfort and coziness. Low-lying and slim horizontal air vents harmoniously add to the overall appearance. A set of controls in a “black panel” look is integrated into the door handle on the driver’s side and coordinates perfectly with the modern interior. It contains the most important functions, such as mirror settings, seat and door functions, and light and visibility settings.
Sustainable aesthetics: Dinamica and Elastic Melange fabric
Some of the materials used in the so-called Softwrap are sustainably produced. For example, the Softwrap in the S line variant uses the recycled fabric Elastic Melange, which is made from 100 percent recycled polyester. The sports seats with contrasting stitching are also optionally available in Elastic Melange. The fabric Argument, that is available as an option for the standard seats and for the headliner, is made from the same material. In the S line and S model, the sports seats plus also come optionally in Dinamica microfiber (also a recycled material) or fine Nappa leather with diamond stitching. The surfaces on the instrument panel come as standard in a fine paint finish, volcano grey, some of which made from renewable raw materials. Alternatively, they are available in wood, either sweetgum natural in light brown, or birch linear natural in stone grey, as well as matt brushed aluminium in anthracite. In the S line and S model, customers can choose between matt brushed aluminium in anthracite, a carbon micro-twill structure, or a high-tech mesh in anthracite. The latter is an innovative, technical-looking polyester fabric with a haptic structure and a new look that is made from recycled materials. The floor mats in the Audi Q6 e-tron are made from Econyl. In the production of this material, old fishing nets, carpets, and industrial waste are upcycled.
PPE: spaciousness and suitability for everyday use
The Audi Q6 e-tron embodies Audi’s DNA and strikes a perfect balance between impressive driving and charging performance and technical innovation. Thanks to the new PPE platform, explicitly developed for electric mobility, the vehicle also boasts a spacious interior that feels as grand as it is, while being highly suitable for everyday use. For example, the interior offers many different storage spaces and trays. The center console features two cupholders, a cell phone charging tray, and two smartphone charging ports. As is characteristic for an electric car without a center tunnel, there is additional legroom, which makes it easy to climb into the back seats, and the rear center seat is very comfortable.
The trunk offers 526 liters (18.6 cu ft) of storage space. When the rear row of seats is folded down, the storage space increases to up to 1,529 liters (54 cu ft). The rear seats fold down individually (40:20:40). Then there is another 64 liters (2.3 cu ft) of storage space in the so-called frunk (front trunk) under the front hood – where a mobile charging cable (mode 3) or smaller travel bags can be conveniently stowed.
The digital stage with a free-standing curved display
Above the so-called Softwrap, the interior is dominated by the “digital stage” with the Audi MMI panoramic display and the MMI front passenger display. The clearly grouped displays are perfectly integrated into the design concept and give the interior a spacious and airy feel. The slim, free-standing Audi MMI panoramic display features a curved design and OLED technology and consists of the MMI panoramic display with 11.9" Audi virtual cockpit and 14,5" MMI touch display. The area within the driver’s reach is designed as an arc, and the display, with its curved shape, mirrors this. What’s more, the form of the curved display is reminiscent of the Singleframe that defines Audi’s look. Special ambient lighting makes the curved display appear to float at night.
For the front passenger, the digital stage is systematically and individually complemented by the 10.9-inch MMI front passenger display, which is also perfectly integrated into the dashboard design. An active privacy mode with shutter technology lets the passenger watch movies undisturbed without distracting the driver. At the same time, it enables the passenger to assist the driver, for example, with navigation. In the basic version, the passenger infotainment display has a black high-gloss surface.
The optional augmented reality (AR) head-up display (HUD) for the Q6 e-tron represents a significant advance in display technology at Audi. It reflects a large, tilted image plane across the windshield to the driver, showing relevant information such as speed, traffic signs, and assistance and navigation icons. The image plane is tilted forward for an enhanced AR experience. The focus of the human eye moves along with it. This process and the high virtual image distance create the impression that the items depicted are floating up to 200 meters (656 ft ) away and that they interact directly with the environment. The driver can quickly understand the displays without being confused or distracted by them. They offer significant support, particularly in conditions with poor visibility. The field of view for AR content corresponds to a diagonal of about 88 inches from the driver’s perspective.
Interaction light stages the interior
In addition, there is the Interaction light (IAL), which offers a wide range of communication functions that aid the car in interacting with its occupants. It envelops the interior and the cockpit in a generous arc. With its LEDs, the light strip has a brightness of up to 1,200 cd. The IAL performs three central functions. First, it helps stage the interior, for example, with a welcome function, and displays when the vehicle is locked and unlocked. The IAL merges into the contour light so that if the former is inactive, it appears in the same color as the latter.
The IAL also assists with safety: For example, it visualizes the dynamic turn signals. However, the IAL remains an additional display and does not replace the turn signals in the virtual cockpit. Finally, it also visualizes other information, such as the charge level display and charging progress, shown as a pulsating light. The Interaction light is part of the ambient light package plus.
Audi’s self-learning voice assistant and an integrated app store
The new electronics platform ensures Audi customers experience digitalization in the vehicle more than ever before. As the first vehicle based on the new E3 architecture, the Audi Q6 e-tron series is equipped with a fully connected digital interior. Various functions are now intelligently linked, enabling a new interior experience and innovative features.
At the same time, Audi is introducing a completely new, uniform infotainment platform in the Audi Q6 e-tron, developed with the software company CARIAD. It is based on Android Automotive. Continuous software updates mean all car systems are always up to date.
Purchasers of the first fully electric model built in Ingolstadt will benefit from the vehicle’s high degree of connectivity in several ways. For example, users can control many vehicle functions using Audi’s self-learning voice assistant, both online and offline. Deeply integrated into the vehicle, the assistant is now represented for the first time by an avatar in the dashboard (“Audi Assistant Dashboard”) and the augmented reality head-up display. The user activates the assistant with the phrase “Hey Audi.” It can also be activated via various other touchpoints and the myAudi app. Regarding multimodality, the new display and operating concept allows the driver to search for the nearest charging station using voice dialogue and to select from the list (which is presorted using AI) using the touch display.
Spoken commands are also shown in the display as text (“see what you speak”). The digital assistant continuously learns from the user’s behavior to offer them the best possible support. This support can be divided into three categories: proactive suggestions (contextual information is used to proactively and situationally suggest functions for activation), smart routines (recurring operating sequences are automated, such as the use of the seat air conditioning according to certain outside temperatures), and intelligent lists (such as call lists).
Thanks to a store for apps, users can also use many of their favorite apps directly on the vehicle display. By embedding the store, which was jointly developed with CARIAD and their partner Harman Ignite, customers can directly and intuitively access popular third-party apps through the MMI touch display by means of a data link in the vehicle. The selected apps are installed directly on Audi’s infotainment system – without the need for a smartphone. Users can also interact with their apps via voice commands.
3D sound system for maximum acoustic precision
The Audi Q6 e-tron’s optional Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with 3D sound provides maximum acoustic precision.
A small speaker in each A‑pillar reproduces the effect of height; the windshield reflects the sound they emit. The music is experienced precisely as recorded – for a natural and impressive sound experience. A highly efficient amplifier is at the heart of the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System. It drives 22 loudspeakers with 830 watts. Four are integrated into the front seat headrests, a design that enables Audi to introduce so-called sound zones for the first time. The bass loudspeakers in the front doors are in a separate housing, causing less vibration of nearby parts and ensuring that the sound is reproduced with great accuracy. This improves the sound quality and reduces sound propagation outside the vehicle. The decoupling of the loudspeaker also provides a precise, voluminous bass. Illuminated lettering stages the sound system at night.
With this multi-faceted interior, which Audi recognizes as “the center of our customers’ lives and experiences,” the Q6 e-tron fulfills its user’s needs through design and technology in ways not previously possible.