New car review: Audi A4 Allroad QuattroNew Car Reviews Motor Reviews Motor News
Audi A4 Allroad Quattro
Audi A4 Allroad Quattro
- B8 8K MY13
- Badge Description
- allroad S-Tronic Quattro
- Sports Automatic Dual Clutch
- Engine Configuration Description
- Gear Num
- Build Country Origin Description
- Overall Green Star Rating
- Fuel Type Description
- Drive Description
- Four Wheel Drive
- More car-like than SUV in its driving manners
- Strong diesel engine
- Upmarket cabin
- Brings a price premium
- Space-saver spare tyre useless off-road
It's no secret that our insatiable appetite for high-riding SUVs has taken its toll on the humble wagon. What was once a staple of family garages around Australia is now more of a niche player in a fast-changing four-wheeled landscape.
But the wagon is a long way from dead. As well as a handful of affordable players coming back to the market, the top end of town is also fighting hard with a genre that still has serious legs - or wheels - in Europe.
Audi is one with a strong line-up of wagons, with the A4 Avant (as Audi calls its wagons) recently receiving a close relative in the form of the Allroad Quattro. Borrowing the A4's wagon body but with a higher ride height (it sits 37 millimetres higher for 180 millimetres of clearance) and wheels spaced further apart, the Allroad Quattro aims to tempt those who may occasionally want to venture beyond the blacktop but don't want a high-riding off-roader.
Price: $69,900, plus on-road and dealer costs
Country of origin: Germany
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 130KW at 4200rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 1750-2500rpm
CO2 emissions: 156g/km
Transmission: 7-speed auto, four-wheel-drive
Safety: 8 airbags; stability control
Fuel use: 6.0L/100km
Boot: 480 litres
Resale: 51 per cent
Price and equipment
It's all about simplicity with the A4 Allroad, which is sold here as a single diesel-powered model for $69,900 plus on-road and dealer costs. For that there's a fair bit of fruit, including Bluetooth, xenon headlights, cruise control, detailed trip computer, smart-key entry and start, 17-inch alloy wheels, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, 20Gb onboard music storage system, satellite navigation, tri-zone airconditioning, electric parking brake, tyre pressure sensors, rain-sensing wipers and a combination of real and fake leather trim.
There are also the obligatory styling tweaks to toughen the look, including black plastic cladding on the lower surrounds, as well as a steel underbody that protects vitals from rocks and other obstacles.
But there is only a space-saver spare tyre, and it has to be inflated prior to use.
There is the usual array of options, including an electric opening tailgate ($808), metallic paint ($1270) and a beaut Bang & Olufsen sound system ($1077).
Under the bonnet
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel is a familiar piece of kit in various Audis, Volkswagens and Skodas. In the Allroad it makes 130kW of power, which is nothing spectacular. The 380Nm, on the other hand, is more useful and endows the Allroad with muscular low-rev response that manifests itself in effortless acceleration, albeit with an unpleasant drone at some revs and under load.
The Quattro four-wheel-drive system is quick in apportioning drive to those wheels with traction and makes it easy to utilise the full 380Nm, even on a wet road.
It teams well with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, too, making for well-timed shifts and smooth changes. Even around town and in traffic - where dual clutch gearboxes can be clumsy - the transmission is seamless and cohesive.
Fuel use is claimed at 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres, a figure we found unachievable in everyday motoring; 8.5L/100km was more realistic in predominantly suburban running.
How it drives
The Allroad is far more car-like in its manners than traditional SUVs, which perhaps isn't surprising given it is closer to ground level. That lower centre of gravity helps control the leaning otherwise prominent in SUVs, and the Allroad quickly asserts its dynamic prowess. While it's not about to lap up laps on a race track, its 17-inch tyres bite the bitumen well and the car always feels reassuring in bends. The extra width between the left and right wheels (or track; it is 19 millimetres wider at the front and 23 millimetres wider at the rear) also widens the footprint and adds stability through bends.
Around town, too, it is manoeuvrable and manageable, and while steering feels artificially weighted, it gives enough of a sense of what's going on at ground level.
The Allroad has a firmness to its suspension but it is not to the point of being uncomfortable.
While it has aspirations of hitting the occasional dirt track, the reality is the most off-road an Allroad is likely to see is some snow-covered roads on the annual trip to the slopes. For that it will do fine, with Audi even tailoring the stability control to identify different surfaces and make adjustments to optimise control.
Comfort and practicality
It's a snug but quality feeling cabin in the Allroad. Anyone with an A4 will instantly recognise the switchgear, instrumentation and controls. That's a good thing because despite the A4's time on the road it is still a fresh and classy presentation. The central controller takes some familiarisation, but it is a handy way to dial up everything from the sat-nav and sound system to your phone contacts and various personalisation settings.
The front seats are supportive and comfortable, and while the seating position is lower than most soft-roaders it reinforces the sporty nature of the Allroad.
Rear accommodation is more kid friendly than adult spacious, with tight-ish knee room. A folding centre armrest and split-fold seats increase the flexibility, while rear air vents keep everyone happy.
There is a retractable luggage cover, but unlike the auto retracting one in the larger, more expensive A6 Allroad, the A4 requires manual intervention.
Range Rover Evoque SD4 Pure
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel 4-cyl; 140kW/420Nm; 6-speed auto; 4WD
Fuel use and emissions: 6.5L/100km, 174g/km
Safety: 7 airbags; stability control.
Pros: Compact; elegant inside and out; above-average soft-roader dynamics.
Cons: Expensive and long list of options; firm low-speed ride; tight rear seat.
Our rating: 4
BMW X3 xDrive 20d
Price: From $63,100
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel 4-cyl; 135kW/380Nm; 8-speed auto, 4WD
Fuel use and emissions: 5.6L/100km and 147g/km CO2
Safety: 6 airbags; stability control.
Pros: Standout diesel drivetrain; satisfying road manners; roomy and comfortable cabin.
Cons: Cabin is not remarkably user-friendly and lacks sparkle.
Our score: 4
Volvo XC60 D5
Engine: 2.4-litre 5-cylinder turbo diesel; 151kW/420Nm; 6-speed auto; 4WD
Fuel use and emissions: 6.9L/100km and 183g/km CO2
Safety: 6 airbags; stability control; City Safety crash avoidance.
Pros: Functional and stylish interior; integrated child boost seats; strong safety package.
Cons: Diesel engine is noisy; steering can feel remote and slow.
Our score: 4
There is lots to like about the A4 Allroad, and for a predominantly on-road jigger that occasionally heads down a dirt road or to the snow it makes plenty of sense. A quality, functional interior is also a win, while the solid diesel engine is a well-suited companion.
The price is less palatable, especially when compared with the higher riding - and just updated - Q5 that brings much of the flexibility, if a little less space.