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First drive: Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.

First drive: Audi A4 allroad quattro
Audi turns the fifth-gen A4 Avant estate into the second-gen allroad quattro.

 



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Audi A4 allroad quattro

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Using the stylish new B9 Audi A4 Avant as a basis, this 'soft-roader' is a slightly comfier version of an already very comfortable car, which makes it a fabulous thing to travel in. The A4 allroad quattro also demonstrates Audi's fancy new 'quattro ultra' drivetrain, but, for now, that's only available on the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol model, not this likely top-selling 190hp diesel.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Audi A4 allroad quattro 2.0 TDI 190
Pricing: allroad range from 35,560, for 2.0 TDI 190 as tested
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: all-wheel drive, seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic
Body style: five-door off-roading estate
CO2 emissions: 132g/km (VED Band E, 130 annually)
Combined economy: 56.5mpg
Top speed: 136mph
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Power: 190hp from 3,800- to 4,200rpm
Torque: 400Nm from 1,750- to 3,000rpm

What's this?

The all-new Audi A4 allroad quattro and subtlety would be the watchword here, because the 'ruggedised' version of Ingolstadt's compact executive wagon doesn't look hugely different to the regular Avant. That's not a criticism, mind, as the current A4 estate is a beautifully crisp bit of styling and adorning it with a discreet amount of black plastic cladding over the wheel arches plus some aluminium-effect trim at its lowest points hardly ruins the shape. The allroad has 34mm of extra ground clearance over a normal A4 Avant, courtesy of 23mm taller suspension and a larger wheel/tyre combination, while it can be up to 90kg lighter than its predecessor, spec-dependent. Long and short of it, the new 'soft-roader' looks the thoroughly premium machine you'd expect it to be, given it commands a 3,280 surcharge over the equivalent 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic Avant with the same 190hp engine. Not many cars can pull off a dark green, Gotland Metallic paint job with beige leather like this allroad, for which it is to be commended.

Moving inside, and the allroad's cabin is an absolute smasher... but it looks no different to that found in the A4 Avant. It's utterly beautiful in terms of fit and finish, there's a ton of room front and back and fitted with the glorious (but optional in the UK) Virtual Cockpit, the Audi feels worth a lot more than its robust high-30s asking price, yet we can't help feeling it would have been nice to get a few 'allroad' logos here and there, or maybe some dun-coloured panels dotted about the place to enliven things; it's something other, similar products within the wider Volkswagen Group have, so we're not sure why Audi has omitted them. Nevertheless, as car cabins go, this one deserves all the superlatives you can throw at it.

A quick round-up on the UK launch range, given orders start in late April: there'll be one solitary petrol option, the 252hp/370Nm 2.0 TFSI (from 37,275), with the rest of the allroads all being diesel-powered. This 2.0-litre 190hp/400Nm unit will likely cream the majority of sales, so it's the most relevant one to drive, but above it in the line-up are a pair of 3.0-litre V6 diesels: there's one with 218hp and 400Nm, from 37,410; and then a mighty 272hp/600Nm range-topper at 39,180 upwards. Gearboxes are a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic, fitted to most of the range as standard, an eight-speed torque-converter Tiptronic auto in the more powerful 3.0 TDI and a six-speed manual coming on other models soon. Every allroad gets a decent standard specification, with a Sport trim sitting above the entry-level versions (Sport requires between 2,965 and 3,080 extra on the equivalent base allroad), and there are no 'false' allroads - every model has quattro four-wheel drive. Which brings us on to a big talking point...

How does it drive?

We spent most time in the 2.0 TDI 190 for good reason, given most A4 allroads you'll see in Britain will be packing this drivetrain, but the petrol-fuelled variants on the launch hid some interesting tech. This allroad is the first Audi in the UK to get the new quattro ultra system, which can mechanically decouple the rear axle as needs be to save fuel. Kyle's report on the quattro ultra technology, which will make its way into more allroads beyond the TFSI in the near future, goes into deeper technical detail, but suffice it to say that the system is just as seamless in operation here as it is in a normal A4. It's very impressive, although the genuine, real-world fuel savings it will return remain to be seen.

Back to the diesel and everything, and we mean everything, that makes the regular A4 Avant such a lovely, smooth operator (dammit, we've got the Sade song running through our heads now) is retained for the allroad, with the wholly welcome added bonus of an even better ride. We can't remember an Audi that covers ground in a more unflustered manner than this A4 - and that includes its impressive big brother, the A6 allroad. Put simply, you shouldn't ever notice the state of the surface passing beneath the chunky tyres. Stick on the standard-fit 17s and the ride would be even more placid, plus you'd drop into VED Band D and get 12 months of free road tax with 128g/km CO2; our test car had optional 18-inch wheels, but these didn't seem to spoil things in the slightest.

Sure, in terms of handling the allroad still has that slightly aloof, detached air of any current A4 Avant, which hardly makes it scintillating to throw about on a back road, but as a way of covering miles in supreme sophistication, we can't think of much that does it better at this price. As long as you don't rev the 2.0-litre TDI beyond 3,000rpm, whereupon it gets a touch rowdy, the A4 allroad proves punchy, hushed and hugely agreeable. What a pity, then, that Audi didn't let us have a play in it off the beaten track, to see if it lived up to its lower-case model name.

Verdict

Audi's problem here is that we can give the new A4 allroad all the praise we can muster, because it's a wonderful thing to be in, but what are its rivals? Volvo does a V60 Cross Country yet dilutes its off-road brand by offering most V60 CCs as front-wheel drive only. And the Swedish car is no match for the Audi's all-encompassing quality. The closely-related Volkswagen Passat Alltrack is another contender, although it comes from the class below the Audi, even if Wolfsburg might try to convince you otherwise. BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer four-wheel drive 3 Series and C-Class models, although none of them wear the allroad's eye-catching body armour and nor do they stand any taller; which means you're basically back at X3 and GLC.

So when we say the Audi A4 allroad is peerless in a class of one, we're not trying to be awkward - we're simply saying that if you've always wanted a comprehensively premium soft-road estate but you think the A6 is a little too big (and expensive), your prayers have finally been answered with this superb newcomer. The allroad is our favourite A4 Avant of the moment, and that's really saying something.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Passenger Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 5 Apr 2016









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2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.



2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 

2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro. Image by Audi.
 






 

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