Allroad quattro models are becoming an increasing feature of the Audi lineup in Australia. A cross between an SUV and a standard station wagon, allroads make more sense than the former and have all the advantages of lower fuel consumption and ease of driving of the latter.
As its name suggests the Audi allroad is designed to work well on all roads, it’s not intended to be an off-road explorer, but to perform capably on sealed or unsealed surfaces likely to be chosen by adventurous families on big touring trips.
New A4 allroad has strong styling that certainly stands out from that of the standard wagon. It sits higher from the ground by 34 millimetres due not only to changes to the suspension, but also by the use of bigger diameter tyres.
The front has been beefed up by stronger shaping of the current Audi sharp edged look, the big grille has vertical chromed bars and the foglight surrounds are larger.
New allroad quattro has bold protective additions on all the lower surfaces and the outer edges of the wheelarches that give it a semi-SUV look. The chromed strips in the sills add a touch of class. Big bumpers provide more protection.
Up top, the standard roof rails add to the tough appearance of this practical German wagon.
As an aside, there is no tougher vehicle on German autobahns than an Audi station wagon. The choice of travelling sales reps, they are generally black, almost invariably in the fast lane and seldom travel at less than 200 km/h. Keep an eye out for them in your mirrors as they can be aggressive…
Using the modular platform system that has been designed for the complete Volkswagen Group of passenger vehicles, means new A4 allroad quattro is about 80 kg lighter than the superseded one. More aluminium is used and there is even a hint of magnesium in places, such as in the steering wheel. At the same time the wagon is even more rigid to give it excellent road grip and enable it to stand up well in crashes.
Inside there’s the expected brilliant Audi design and high quality that we have loved for years. Others have tried to match it, but continue to fail.
There’s comfortable legroom in the back seats even will tall folks in front.
The virtual cockpit, that can show multiple views immediately in front of the driver, is one of our favourite features in all new Audis. However, it isn’t standard in all A4 allroad quattro models.
Infotainment is by way of the latest Audi MMI system and operates through a simple menu structure of the type we are accustomed to in smartphones. Voice control is part of the system and a programmable head-up display provides information pre-selected by the driver.
Luggage-carrying capacity in the new series Avant wagons is 505 litres with all seats occupied, expandable by another 995 litres with the seat backs down.
The powered tailgate can allegedly be operated by a ‘swipe’ function by your foot under the back bumper. We, and Audi personnel present at the event, could only get this to work about one time in five. Perhaps try for yourself during your pre-purchase test drive of the vehicle and see if you have more luck.
Having driven several hundred kilometres in a variety of Audi A4 allroad models in far north Queensland we feel it should grab a good share of its market segment. It’s strong, has good road grip, a quiet, comfortable ride and provides plenty of power to get past the seemingly inevitable caravan rigs that are a feature of many roads up there.
Power comes from either a 184 kilowatt 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel producing 140 kW. Turbo lag has been minimised on both the petrol and diesel engines and they are smooth and quiet to sit behind. A choice of driving modes provides everything from economical long distance travelling, through sporty settings, to unsealed road traction.
The latest A4 allroad has a double-clutch automatic, termed S tronic by Audi. The quattro all-wheel-drive system has been further upgraded to completely bypass the all-wheel-drive transmission components when they are not required. Thus only using two-wheel-drive; the result is more performance, less fuel use and lower emissions. The AWD system takes up virtually instantly when required.
Audi’s latest allroad quattro is an impressive piece of machinery that should sell well. Sadly, Australian buyers prefer the macho look of SUVs, so these outsell station wagons by a huge margin. It would be good if the Audi allroad quattros – the A6 allroad quattro has been on sale here for a number of years – and its smaller brother the new A4 allroad will move buyers away from the gas-guzzler SUV craze.