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 it part of the mainstream line up, where it sells in similar numbers to the A4 Avant.
Now there is a new one.
And it is even better.
A car for all reasons.
By that I mean you will become very good at instantly conjuring up reasons, to go for a spin.
Here’s a few I used; “We need more milk (there was 2 cartons in the fridge), We’re out of bread, (there was four loaves), I need something at Bunnings, (can’t argue against that), Lets try that new café a friend told me about, (I just drove to a café a long way from home), We are out of soft drink, (I hid the five bottles), The dog needs a run on the beach”.
And I don’t even own a dog!
But such is the delight of being behind the wheel of the Audi A4 allroad quattro, any reason just rolls off the tongue.
When the latest A4 arrived in early 2016 I declared it the new king of the segment.
The all-new slightly bigger, wider and taller allroad quattro adds greater versatility thanks to its go anywhere, carry-all repertoire which is why, to me, it’s the pick of the A4 pack.
Under the bonnet is a silky four-cylinder, 185kW/370Nm 2.0-litre TFSI (turbo petrol) engine with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto shared carried over from the A4 sedan and Avant, but there is also a diesel available which packs a solid punch.
This new allroad quattro is the quickest one yet, hightailing to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds and sips just 6.7 L/100km over the week, combined, so it’s not subject to the totally ridiculous luxury car tax.
At a glance the allroad quattro looks like an A4 Avant, but setting it apart are a wider stance, protective cladding around its lower extremities and over the flared wheel arches, a 34mm higher ground clearance, bigger profile tyres, roof rails and an exclusive single frame grille.
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 imperceptibly 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.
I played with all five drive modes, with each adjusting the suspension, engine, gearbox and steering and am happy to report that ‘Auto’ works just fine on all surfaces, however I couldn’t resist selecting ‘dynamic’ for all my ‘individual’ setting.
Whether I was buried deep in an urban crawl, traipsing along a highway, carving corners on country backroads or exploring remote beaches off the beaten track, the allroad quattro took it all in its stride. The two-litre turbo four has oodles of grunt, its brisk turbine-like acceleration from low revs allows 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.
I’ve raved about the exemplary ride and handling of both the A4 sedan and Avant and though the A4 allroad quattro sits higher off the deck, it feels equally as planted. The five-link front and rear suspension does a super job ironing out bumps and dips, delivering a cosseting ride.
On the flip side, corners can be tackled with verve and confidence, (and a bloody big smile), with its fluid steering imparting pinpoint accuracy and plenty of feel as the allroad quattro’s road-biased Michelin boots deliver plenty of grip on all surfaces. Equally impressive are the brakes, that have a progressive feel.
I’ve said it before, Audi’s interiors are the best in the business, full stop.
A clean layout and design, with long horizontal lines across the dash and along the console and doors grab the eyes giving an impression of spaciousness.
That impression is a reality with the allroad boasting generous levels of legroom front and back. The allroad seats five and has 505 litres of cargo space that 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 a little dance at the back of the allroad quattro, but when your arms are full and it magically pops open, you’ll be the envy of other shoppers.
Appointments include brushed aluminium trimmings, contoured and comfy power-adjustable black 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, reversing camera, 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, anodised aluminium roof rails and sun blinds for the rear side doors.
One option I’d tick every time and reckon is worth every cent, is the $2200 Technik package featuring the sensational Virtual Cockpit and its digital instrument cluster, 12.3-inch colour screen and head-up display. Please just add it to the price and make it standard on all models Mr Audi.
Like its A4 and Avant siblings, the A4 allroad quattro is overflowing with driver assist, entertainment and safety technologies eight airbags, Audi pre-sense city with Autonomous Emergency Braking, even 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) and cross traffic assist are just a few of a long, long list.
The Audi A4 allroad quattro is the perfect all-rounder. It combines passenger car dynamics with off-road capability in a stylish, spacious wagon body that is superbly appointed and exquisitely built. At $74,400 (+ORC) it is excellent value and a car for all reasons.
For more info on the Audi A4 allroad quattro head to Audi’s website.