Audi's electric A6 e-tron concept has hi-tech headlights that beam video games onto walls


In the event you get bored waiting for your Audi A6 e-tron to charge its batteries, instead of kicking back to read a newspaper you can play a video game in the car – and have it beamed onto a wall by the headlights.

That’s the key gimmick flagged by the German car bosses at its launch today at the Shanghai Motor Show.

But beneath the fun, froth and frippery there’s also some really significant stuff going on as its underpinnings become the basis for a new coupe-style saloon and a whole family of new Audi electric cars.

For long distance travellers who want to cruise in style the new Audi A6 e-tron Sportback has a claimed range of more than 434 miles.

Audi's electric saloon turned games console on wheels: Bosses say the new Digital Matrix LED headlights on the new A6 e-tron concept are so crisp that they can project 'cinematic quality' footage - including video games - onto a wall

Audi’s electric saloon turned games console on wheels: Bosses say the new Digital Matrix LED headlights on the new A6 e-tron concept are so crisp that they can project ‘cinematic quality’ footage – including video games – onto a wall

The matrix LED lights can project images – even the indicator lights project their beam onto the ground as well as into the air, says Audi.

Should you get bored while re-charging your car, the new electric A6 e-tron’s main digital matrix LED front headlights enjoy a ‘cinematic quality’ that can also be harnessed to play video games.

Audi explains: ‘If, for example, the Audi A6 e-tron concept is parked in front of a wall during a break to recharge the battery, the driver and passengers can pass the time playing a video game projected onto it. 

‘Instead of on a small screen in the cockpit, they’ll see their respective game’s virtual landscapes projected onto the wall – and all this via the Digital Matrix LED headlights.’

The headlights feature three rows of powerful LEDs. Customers will be able to choose the arrangement and shapes the daytime running lights illuminate in, offering a new level of customisation

The headlights feature three rows of powerful LEDs. Customers will be able to choose the arrangement and shapes the daytime running lights illuminate in, offering a new level of customisation 

'Instead of on a small screen in the cockpit, they’ll see their respective game’s virtual landscapes projected onto the wall - and all this via the Digital Matrix LED headlights,' says Audi

‘Instead of on a small screen in the cockpit, they’ll see their respective game’s virtual landscapes projected onto the wall – and all this via the Digital Matrix LED headlights,’ says Audi

Audi A6 e-tron Sportback concept
Pictures of the car's powerful headlights in action have shown that it doesn't need to be entirely dark for the images to display on a wall

Pictures of the car’s powerful headlights in action have shown that it doesn’t need to be entirely dark for the images to display on a wall

Another lighting feature is the indicators, which project onto the ground to provide additional warning for vulnerable road users

Another lighting feature is the indicators, which project onto the ground to provide additional warning for vulnerable road users

The firm explained: ‘Players can stand next to or directly in front of the vehicle for a particularly good view of the game, which is several meters wide. Players control the game via smartphone. And even the game itself is an Audi product – Audi designers conceived and developed it especially for the Audi A6 e-tron concept.’

The daytime running lights have three rows of LEDs that can be illuminated in different shapes and designs – which will be customised by the buyer.  

There’s other high tech lighting too, says Audi: ‘Three small, high-resolution LED projectors are built in into each side of the body, transforming the ground beneath them into a stage when the doors are opened – small extended dynamic lighting effects greet the occupants with messages in their own language. At the premiere in Shanghai, this means in Chinese characters, of course.’

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They also display warning symbols on the ground – to warn a bike rider that the car door is about to open.

Four additional high-resolution LED projectors – integrated into the corners of the vehicle – project indicator signals onto the tarmac and the rear brake light is made up of OLEDs – technology usually only found in expensive televisions – that can display three-dimensional light animations. 

The Audi A6 e-tron Sportback concept is expected to go into production next year and be on sale across global markets by 2023

The Audi A6 e-tron Sportback concept is expected to go into production next year and be on sale across global markets by 2023

Audi claims a 434-mile range, which is enough for drivers to complete a journey from London to Edinburgh without stopping - and still have a few miles of battery charge to spare

Audi claims a 434-mile range, which is enough for drivers to complete a journey from London to Edinburgh without stopping – and still have a few miles of battery charge to spare

Powered by two electric motors capable of delivering around 476hp, the most powerful versions will accelerate from rest to 62mph in under four seconds

Powered by two electric motors capable of delivering around 476hp, the most powerful versions will accelerate from rest to 62mph in under four seconds

Forget playing Mario Kart on a wall – what will it offer in terms of range and performance? 

Equally impressive is the 434-mile range quoted for the concept vehicle, which is enough for drivers to complete a journey from London to Edinburgh without stopping – and still have a few miles of battery charge to spare.

And it’s no slouch. 

Powered by two electric motors capable of delivering a total output of 350 kW (around 476hp), the most powerful versions will accelerate from rest to 62mph in under four seconds though top speed is likely to be limited at 155mph. Even entry-level models designed for efficiency will manage it in under seven seconds.

Offering high ground clearance, low ride height and a spacious interior, it also features the slimmest headlamps on an Audi.  

Although the four-door car unveiled in Shanghai Motor Show is officially a concept, Audi bosses made clear that the vehicle shown is near production ready and that the showroom model will differ very little.

Current plans are to show the final production model next year ahead of the car going on sale in early 2023.

Although no prices were stated, it is expected to cost around £80,000.

People look at the new Audi A6 e-tron concept electric car presented in the Audi booth during a media preview of the Auto Shanghai 2021 motor show in Shanghai, China

People look at the new Audi A6 e-tron concept electric car presented in the Audi booth during a media preview of the Auto Shanghai 2021 motor show in Shanghai, China

Top speed is likely to be limited to 155mph. Even entry-level models designed for efficiency will manage to hit 62mph in under seven seconds

Top speed is likely to be limited to 155mph. Even entry-level models designed for efficiency will manage to hit 62mph in under seven seconds

Audi said: ‘Its range and charging speed keep pace with those of combustion engines, making it the perfect universal car for everyday needs, from short trips to the store to longer road trips when going on vacation.’

Significantly Audi stressed that the all-electric A6 e-tron Sportback is based on the German car firm’s new Premium Platform Electric or PPE platform which it is developing with VW group siblings Porsche. 

This is described as the ‘forerunner of an innovative family of fully electric, production cars’ including small hatchbacks and SUVs – as well as being ‘a new part of the A6 family’.

Standing 4.96-meter-long, 1.96-meter-wide, and 1.44-meter-high with a fastback design, the sleek aerodynamic A6 e-tron Sportback cuts exceptionally well through the air as well as looking good, says Audi: ‘In layman’s terms, this means the car exhibits minimal aerodynamic drag – which initially translates into lower energy consumption and therefore extended range.’

Fast charging – using new 800-volt charging technology – means the Audi A6 e-tron’s battery can be charged with up to 270 kW of power in a very short time, giving it a range of more than 434 miles (700km), says Audi: ‘This revolutionary technology will enter the high-volume mid-range and luxury segments for the very first time.

‘It makes charging times possible that come close to a stop to refuel a car powered by a conventional engine.’

A 25 minute charge will give the new A6 e-tron’s 100kW battery an 80 per cent charge.

And 10 minute battery boost will give enough charge to travel more than 186 miles (300km).

Most powerful all-wheel drive ‘on demand’ versions will have two electric motors – one each mounted on the front and rear axles. Base versions optimised for minimum consumption and maximum range will have a single electric motor mounted to the rear axle.

The show model is painted in an energy-saving shade called Heliosilver which, as well as looking striking, helps keep the car cool by reflecting the thermal radiation in sunlight, reduces interior heat, and the need for air-conditioning which saps the battery

The show model is painted in an energy-saving shade called Heliosilver which, as well as looking striking, helps keep the car cool by reflecting the thermal radiation in sunlight, reduces interior heat, and the need for air-conditioning which saps the battery 

Audi says that while it shares its name with the A6, only the dimensions will be replicated and the rest of the car entirely new

Audi says that while it shares its name with the A6, only the dimensions will be replicated and the rest of the car entirely new

Standing 4.96-meter-long, 1.96-meter-wide, and 1.44-meter-high with a fastback design, the sleek aerodynamic A6 e-tron Sportback cuts exceptionally well through the air

Standing 4.96-meter-long, 1.96-meter-wide, and 1.44-meter-high with a fastback design, the sleek aerodynamic A6 e-tron Sportback cuts exceptionally well through the air

Reflective silver paint keeps the interior cool so you don’t have to use air-con 

The A6 Sportback represents a fastback style that Audi had embraced – under different model names – since 1968. 

The current Audi A6 TFSIe made its debut in 2019 with a plug-in hybrid drive and an electric range of up to 56 miles. 

But the new e-tron Sportback is pure electric and with a completely new different design.

‘The only thing it has in common with the current A6 are its dimensions,’ say Audi bosses.

The show model is painted in an energy-saving shade called Heliosilver which, as well as looking striking, helps keep the car cool by reflecting the thermal radiation in sunlight, reduces interior heat, and the need for air-conditioning which saps the battery: ‘This benefits the vehicle’s range and CO2 footprint – over every mile and even when stopped at traffic lights.’

The large 22-inch wheels, narrow LED headlights and illuminating grille give the A6 e-tron concept an aggressive stance. It also features cameras instead of wing mirrors, which Audi has used in the e-tron SUV that's already on sale

The large 22-inch wheels, narrow LED headlights and illuminating grille give the A6 e-tron concept an aggressive stance. It also features cameras instead of wing mirrors, which Audi has used in the e-tron SUV that’s already on sale

Instead of conventional glass reflective mirrors it has camera-based virtual exterior mirrors which project onto a screen.  

Audi said the new A6 e-tron Sportback is ‘a foretaste of Audi’s future production models’ adding: ‘It provides clear indications of just how dynamic and elegant the electric-powered luxury class from the brand with the four rings will look.’

The new platform on which the A6 e-tron is based will trickle down through the ranges to spawn families of smaller mainstream-sized cars, such as hatchbacks as well as Q6 SUVs: ‘Beginning in late 2022, the first production cars in the C- and later also B-segment will be relaunched with PPE (Premium Platform Electric) technology, including – a first in the market for electric vehicles – both SUVs with a high ground clearance and dynamically styled models with a lower ride height, such as the Audi A6 e-tron.’

Audi plans to manufacture the new electric vehicles both at its European sites and in China, the company’s largest single market, where it is building a new factory in Changchun to be operated jointly by Audi and its joint venture partner VAW-Volkswagen. 

Audi A6 e-tron Sportback Will it fit in my garage? 

Production launch: 2022 

On sale: 2023

Price: circa £80,000

Length: 4.96m

Width: 1.96m

Height: 1.44m

Doors: 4

Drive: Two electric motors

Power: 350 kW (circa 476hp)

 Battery: 100kW

Emissions: Zero

Range: more than 434 miles

0-62mph: under four seconds (under 7 seconds for most energy efficient models)

Top speed: Likely limited at 155mph

Wheels: 22 inch

Fast charging: To 80 per cent charge – under 25 minutes. 10 minute charge – adds 186 miles.

Features: Hi-res digital matric headlamps – from which video games can be projected, indicators that project onto the ground, energy saving reflective silver paint

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