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Audi E-Tron SUV Concept Previews New Q6, Targets Tesla Model X

310-mile range using R8 e-tron tech.

Tesla's surprise success and savvy has spurred luxury heavy-hitters like Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche to start seriously entering the electrification game. Audi's first foray into the all-electric field will look to rain on the Tesla Model X's parade, in the form of the Audi Q6 e-tron, which we'll see in concept form at the Frankfurt auto show in September.

The Audi e-tron SUV concept is a sporty, sleek-looking all-electric crossover sized between the Audi Q5 and Q7. Riding on Audi's next-gen modular longitudinal (MLB) architecture shared with the Audi Q7, the all-electric e-tron SUV concept focuses on active aerodynamics, a roomy interior seating four, and all-wheel-drive as its major selling points.

Using lessons learned from the Audi R8 e-tron project, Audi claims that the e-tron SUV concept can travel more than 310 miles on a single charge. It uses three electric motors, with one at the front axle and two at the rear, for a kind of electro-Quattro all-wheel drive. A big lithium-ion battery will live between the axles in the middle of the car, positioned low for the best balance and center of gravity.

Teaser photos show a smooth, flowing design with a sporty, raked roofline. European bureau chief Georg Kacher predicted that an upcoming Audi Q6 e-tron would somewhat resemble the Lamborghini Urus concept, with a bigger focus on aerodynamics. That seems to have come to fruition here, along with a commitment to technology. In addition to the teased OLED taillights, all of the touchscreens and displays in the futuristic-looking interior will use OLED interfaces.

According to Kacher, the upcoming Q6 e-tron for which this concept will be the basis can be expected to offer 300-hp, 400-hp, and eventually 500-hp drivetrains. There have also been plenty of rumors about a Q8 e-tron, also drawing its technology from the R8 e-tron and MLB platform from the Q7.

After the Audi e-tron SUV concept bows in Frankfurt, we can look forward to a production model in 2018. It will be the first all-electric series-production Audi, and judging by the pace at which Tesla is delivering on promises for introduction of the Model X, it might night be too late to the party, either.