It’s not just Northern Hemisphere families hitting the slopes in Aspen and The Alps looking to their Audi A4 Allroads this time of year. Aussies with a preference for prestige European wagons will find the extra practicality makes the high-riding A4 Allroad ideal for weekend getaways.
Simple really. Give the incredibly stylish Audi A4 Allroad Quattro some extra ground clearance and underbody protection and you’re on the way to the beach, the bush…or wherever.
Audi A4 Allroad Overview
Don’t just take our word for it, listen to those who’ve parted with their ‘hard-earned’ and the fact is the larger Audi A6 Allroad has the strongest customer loyalty of any Audi model. Audi expects a similar result following this, the debut of the A4 Allroad model in Australia (only 150 examples have been secured for local sale).
With its wider track, raised ride height, stylish 17-inch alloy wheels and visual strengthening in the form of stainless steel sill extensions, roof rails and the rest, the A4 Allroad looks substantial on-road and Audi has equipped the wagon with a massive list of luxury and technology features which make its $69,900 price tag actually great value.
Audi A4 Allroad Engine
By now Volkswagen Group’s 2.0-litre TDI turbo-diesel is very familiar. The in-line four-cylinder powerplant is simply one of the world’s best turbo-diesels and runs all the goodies – common rail direct injection, variable geometry intercooled turbocharger and low temperature EGR control.
Fitted to the Audi A4 Allroad, ,maximum power is 130kW at 4200rpm and peak torque of 380Nm is delivered between 1750rpm and 2500 rpm.
Drive is to all four wheels via Audi’s S tronic twin-clutch direct shift seven-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive. Combined cycle fuel consumption (aided by fuel-saving auto start/stop) is rated at 6.0l/100kms.
Acceleration zero to 100km/h is rated at 8.1 seconds – identical to the Mercedes-Benz C200 Estate despite the extra weight of the Audi with its Quattro components (1670kgs for the A4 Allroad to 1565kgs for the Merc).
Audi A4 Allroad The Interior
The Audi A4 Allroad rams-home its value proposition when you step inside – lots of leather, quality trim materials and electronics.
Electronic seat adjustment and rake/reach adjustment for the usual Audi high-quality three-spoke sports steering wheel delivered a superb driving position and we liked the layout of the centre console with the engine starter button and switches for the MMI system (60GB hard-drive satellite navigation, telephone, media and 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio with a seven-inch high resolution colour screen).
Rear seat accommodation is surprisingly spacious and while we didn’t break-out the micrometer, we’d suggest dimensions there rival the best of the Euro wagons.
Out-back is a 490-litres luggage compartment which was long enough to secure our full-size golf bag plus a couple of full-size boogie boards. Fold the split-fold rear bench seat and the load length grows to 1.78-metres and the total available space to 1430-litres.
The auto-opening tailgate is a plus as is the clever luggage cover which roller-stows at the touch of a finger.
Audi A4 Allroad Exterior & Styling
Compared to the regular Audi A4 Avant, the Allroad version runs a 19mm wider front track (1583mm) and 23mm wider rear track (1574mm) and the body is slightly higher thanks to longer springs and shock absorbers – ground clearance is 180mm. The A4 Allroad also rides on superbly-stylish 17-inch alloy wheels with meaty 225/55 tyres.
All-up the Audi A4 Allroad is 4.72-metres in length, 1.84-metres wide and 1.50-metres high. The wheelbase is 2.81-metres.
Of course the regular Audi A4 Avant provides a stylish starting point – the low roof lines envisages a coupe-like silhouette and combines with the hallmark Audi sporty front-end to deliver a dynamic, purposeful look.
Unique touches highlight the Allroad version – vertical chrome strips on the grille, a more prominent front bumper, larger air intakes, flared wheel-arches and the stainless steel underbody guards visible front and rear and at the side sills.
Audi A4 Allroad On The Road
Timing is everything in any business and in this case our week with the Audi A4 Allroad coincided with a school holiday trip to Portsea on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsular with an agenda which included golf and surfing. Tick that 490-litres luggage capacity which accommodated a full-size set of clubs, two full-size boogie boards and assorted other paraphernalia.
And tick that reduced fuel consumption of the 2.0 TDI (now, thanks to auto start/stop, combined cycle is 6.0l/100kms)…notwithstanding our fully-loaded weekend trip, plus our usual testing procedures, the A4 went back to Audi with the best part of half a tank of diesel left. Especially impressive given we sat in the massive traffic jams resulting from Melbourne’s road builders being unable to get the Peninsula Link freeway open in time for the peak summer holidays (what’s the point in building a freeway to a peak summer holiday destination if you don’t get it open for…well, the summer peak season actually?)
Of course prior to our holiday road trip we did tackle the Car Showroom high-speed mountain roads test route which saw the Audi A4 Allroad excel thanks to three long term favourite technologies of ours – Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, Volkswagen Group’s 2.0-litre TDI turbo-diesel engine and the seven-speed S tronic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. Over our high-speed twists and swoops you could almost feel the Audi A4 Allroad’s mechanical centre differential squirming as the Quattro system distributed power - up to 65 per-cent to the front or 85 per-cent to the rear (normally 40:60 front/rear).
Toss-in the usual Audi chassis precision, firm suspension calibration (five-link front, trapezoidal-link rear and with lots of lightweight aluminium components) and nicely direct 15.9:1 steering ratio and the on-road dynamics in the Audi A4 Allroad are just about as good as it gets in wagons of this type.
Around town the hallmark ‘clunkiness’ of the seven-speed transmission in crawling traffic was there (it’s a trait we’re now used to, but one of our passengers commented). The standard reversing camera and 11.5-metre turning circle made light work of our CBD car park and the extra ride height meant even the front spoiler wasn’t bothered by high gutters when angle parking at the local shops and golf club.
And there were no problems merging with freeway traffic where the relatively heavy Audi A4 Allroad accelerated with pleasing pace through all gears – again proving how figures can deceive and with German engineering ‘Smarts’ a 1670kgs wagon with a 2.0-litre engine can sprint like a V6 (anyone familiar with those Autobahns knows Audi will never have a car which doesn’t accelerate with the best of them).
Audi A4 Allroad Challenges
Despite its technology an unquestioned appeal, even with its raised 180mm of ground clearance, just a moderate snow drift or sand dune would ground the Audi A4 Allroad.
Audi A4 Allroad Verdict
Notwithstanding those comments about the odd snow drift or sand dune, if we were buying into the renewed world of compact European wagons, the Audi A4 Allroad would be very near the top of our list. Sure on face-value the Audi A4 Allroad’s $69,900 sticker sounds a little pricey, but when you look at the inclusions (all-wheel-drive, raised ride height, underbody protection etc) it actually shapes-up very well against its German rivals.
As well as the hallmark quality, there’s a sporty edge about many Audi vehicles these days (the A4 Allroad a prime example) which in our mind gives the Ingolstadt brand a point of differentiation over those from other parts of Germany.
Like the slightly larger A6 Allroad, these ‘super-wagons’ from Audi are ones the whole family will love - even dad when he’s on his own on his favourite twisty road…and that’s not a claim all load-luggers can make.
Audi A4 Allroad The Competition
Amongst the German compact wagons, Audi A4 Allroad is currently the only offering with all-paw grip.
Of the two-wheel-drive brigade, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate starts at $60,600 (C200) but to match the features of the Audi A4 Allroad you’re realistically looking at the 250 Avantgarde version ($67,600) – of course still without the all-wheel-drive and raised ride-height practicality of the Audi. Mind you a friend of Car Showroom recently purchased a C-Class Estate and just walking in off the street was offered a price significantly better than the standard listing.
BMW’s 3 Series wagon kicks-off at $59,300 for the 320i Lifestyle. The BMW 323i Lifestyle wagon is listed at $64,100. Like the ‘Benz, the BMW offerings don’t offer all-wheel-drive etc.
But we’re splitting hairs here: the bottom line is these compact luxo European wagons are hot with young (and not-so-young) families who appreciate German quality with a tad more practicality. We’d take any one as a permanent addition to the Car Showroom garage.