In 2012 Audi launched the A4 allroad quattro as a limited edition model.
Its passenger vehicle road manners, wagon body and mild off-roading ability proved such a successful recipe, Audi quickly made the A4 allroad quattro part of the mainstream model mix, where it sells in similar numbers to the A4 Avant.
Now there is a new one.
Following the introduction of the all-new A4 and Avant earlier this year, The Versatile Gent ventured to Port Douglas, to get acquainted with the second-generation A4 allroad quattro.
Right now, the only engine choice is the silky, powerful 185kW/370Nm 2.0-litre TFSI (turbo petrol) engine with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto carried over from the A4 sedan and Avant, but before the year ends, a 140kW 2.0-litre turbo diesel powered version will be added.
This new allroad is the quickest one yet, hightailing to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds and consumes just 6.7 L/100km, so it slips under the luxury car tax threshold.
At a glance, the allroad quattro looks like an A4 Avant, only bigger. Setting it apart are a wider stance, protective cladding around its lower extremities and over the slightly flared wheel arches, a higher ground clearance, and exclusive grille design.
A new ‘ultra-technology’ drive system is a key feature of the new A4 allroad. Instead of the familiar all-wheel or Quattro drive, ultra-technology has it operating most of the time in front-wheel drive, to save fuel, but it can instantly and automatically switch to Quattro drive when needed.
Also new is the driver selectable multi-mode drive program. In ‘Auto’, the on-board electronic wizardry figures out the best grip and handling for the conditions, a flick to ‘Dynamic’ sees more power fed to the rear wheels, for increased grip in slippery conditions while another flick to ‘Off-road’ engages all-wheel drive permanently.
So to the drive, which took us on highways and gravely byways which the A4 allroad Quattro just took in its stride. The two-litre turbo four has oodles of grunt for all situations, with brisk acceleration from low in the rev range for quick overtakes or to scoot up a slippery hill. On the blacktop it is remarkably smooth with little if any road and wind noise, making it peaceful inside.
We’ve raved about the ride and handling of both the A4 sedan and Avant and it’s no different with the allroad quattro, in spite of its higher ground clearance. The five-link front and rear suspension irons out road imperfections giving it a cosseting ride.
Corners are taken with ease and confidence, the fluid steering imparting pinpoint accuracy and feel with the allroad quattro’s road-biased Michelin boots, providing impressive grip on all surfaces. We gave the optional $1700 adaptive suspension a workout, and while the stiffer ride was immediately apparent, the ‘auto’ mode worked fine over the lumps and bumps on the drive.
I’ve said it before; Audi has the best interiors, full stop.
A clean layout and design, with long horizontal lines across the dash and along the console and doors grab the eye and give the impression of spaciousness. The allroad seats five with 505 litres of cargo space which grows to 1510 litres when the rear seat is dropped. Opening the electric tailgate can be done by moving your foot under the rear of the car. You might feel a bit silly doing it, but when your arms are full, and it opens up, you’ll be very happy.
Allroad appointments include contoured and comfy power-adjustable leather sport front seats, with memory function for the driver. Tri-zone air con, a centrally mounted 8.3-inch centrally mounted screen with MMI navigation plus and MMI touch, digital radio as well as 10GB of music storage.
You also get, 18” Alloy wheels, Adaptive LED headlights & rear tail lights with dynamic indicators, colour driver information system with 7” screen, in-car Wi-Fi, an 80 watt, 10 speaker with subwoofer audio system, digital radio, anodized aluminum roof rails and sunblinds for rear side doors.
One option I’d tick and reckon is worth every cent, is the $2200 Technik package which includes the sensational virtual cockpit and its digital instrument cluster, 12.3-inch colour screen and head-up display.
Like its A4 and Avant siblings, the allroad is overflowing with driver assist, entertainment and safety technologies including adaptive cruise control, eight airbags, Audi pre-sense city with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Attention assist, if it thinks you are getting drowsy, Door exit warning (which flashes the door handle if a cyclist, vehicle or pedestrian is approaching from the rear), cross traffic and blind spot assist to name just a few.
The Audi A4 allroad quattro is the ideal all-rounder, if you want passenger car dynamics, combined with light off-road capability in a stylish wagon body that is superbly appointed and exquisitely built. That it attracts a $1500 premium over the Avant is immaterial. At $74,400 (+ORC) it is excellent value.
For more info on the Audi A4 allroad quattro head to the Audi website.