New design, technology and materials elevate the brand’s already benchmark interiors, with the Q6 e-tron interior pointing the way ahead in terms of design and execution.
4 September, 2023
For a brand like Audi that has built an enviable reputation for its interiors, changing the design philosophy in such a crucial area needs to be handled carefully. The interior design and finishes seen in the new Q6 e-tron models though, illustrate that this new approach is a satisfying evolution of what has come before, both aesthetically and of course, in a practical sense.
The new design language expands on some existing concepts and practices and introduces new ones, accentuating the premium feel and overall sense of space while also integrating new technology. Needless to say the occupants come first, with all design centred around the needs and comfort of those travelling in the vehicle, to maximise usability and ergonomics.
Given that the Q6 e-tron is built on the PPE platform, space is already a given for all occupants, but the design further enhances that space with the clean design and new dash treatment. Materials too have been carefully selected to compliment the new design and further promote the premium feel, with different materials selected (many from recycled sources) with functionality in mind and to help delineate the different areas of the vehicle interior. The areas emphasising comfort for example, stand out with their large surfaces and soft materials, while the high-tech operating areas come in high-quality, high-gloss black to provide the necessary clarity when interacting with the vehicle.
As both a design element and as a practical consideration, the new dash layout wraps around the front passengers in what is called the Softwrap. This is dominated by a digital stage with the Audi MMI panoramic display and the MMI front passenger display. The clearly grouped displays are integrated into the design concept while 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.
Special ambient lighting makes the curved display appear to float at night and is also used to communicate various functions to those within the vehicle. This is called the Interaction Light (IAL) which envelops the interior and the cockpit, using its LEDs to communicate everything from Welcome and Goodbye functions to the charge level and vehicle charging, turn signals and hazard lights.
Integrated into the dash before the front passenger, the digital stage features a 10.9-inch MMI display.
An active privacy mode with shutter technology lets the passenger watch movies undisturbed without distracting the driver and at the same time, it enables the passenger to assist the driver with things like navigation.
Then there is an optional augmented reality (AR) head-up display (HUD) which represents a significant advance in display technology from Audi. It reflects a large, tilted image plane across the windscreen in front of 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 and 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 200m away and interact directly with the environment. The driver can quickly understand the displays without being confused or distracted by them and they offer significant support, particularly in conditions with poor visibility.
Despite there being a lot going on in terms of technology and passenger interface though, the occupants are happily ensconced in a beautifully finished interior that uses a variety of materials to further enhance the overall experience.
In the S line variant for example, the Softwrap uses the recycled fabric Elastic Melange, which is made from 100 percent recycled polyester. Sports seats with contrasting stitching are also optionally available in Elastic Melange and 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 microfibre (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 are also 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 have the choice of matt brushed aluminium in anthracite, a carbon micro-twill structure, or a high-tech mesh in anthracite. Even the floor mats in the Audi Q6 e-tron are made from Econyl, made from using upcycled old fishing nets, carpets, and industrial waste. The result though, across the board, is a premium material perfectly in keeping with the brand’s high standards despite the ‘donor material’s’ humble origins.
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