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Audi A4 And A6 Allroad Review Photo:
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Karl Peskett | May, 05 2015 | 3 Comments

What's Hot: Sublime build quality, updated technology and simply superb engines.
What's Not: Not as capable as an SUV, A4 starting to date inside.
X-FACTOR: When most of your driving is on the road, do you really need an SUV?

A4 Allroad
Vehicle Style: Premium Medium Wagon
Price:
$70,500 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 140kW/400Nm 4cyl diesel | 7spd DSG auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 5.6 l/100km

A6 Allroad
Vehicle Style: Premium Large Wagon

Price: $111,900 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 160kW/500Nm 6cyl diesel | 7spd DSG auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 5.6 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

The 'Allroad' variants of Audi's A4 and A6 wagons are a peculiar couple. Each is quite a bit more than a station wagon, but then, not exactly an SUV.

They can be driven with supreme confidence on an outback road, but they're just as capable in the city. It's because of this niche ability that there are no direct competitors in the premium segments in which they reside.

Being so specialised, they also appeal to a very specific customer. The buyer who doesn't want an SUV, but still wants the confidence to hit a rough dirt track now and then.

It's this jack-of-all-trades approach that make Audi's Allroad variants both unique and appealing.

To show off the two cars, Audi directed a road trip to the top end. From Darwin into the wilderness - with plenty of road time to see if German knowhow can tackle the Australian outback.

 

THE INTERIOR

A4 Allroad key interior features:

  • Sat nav, tri-zone climate control, keyless ignition, cruise control, multi-function sports steering wheel
  • Powered front seats, rear air vents
  • MMI rotary interface with full colour screen, Bluetooth audio and telephony, iPod and USB

A6 Allroad key interior features:

  • Sat nav, four-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, multi-function sports steering wheel
  • Powered front seats with Milano leather, rear air vents
  • MMI touch interface with eight-inch retractable screen, Google mapping, Bluetooth audio and telephony, on-board music HDD storage, 10W USB charging port

Compared to the regular A4 and A6, there's not much new to report inside - it all looks very familiar.

That said, each cabin is still a nice place to be; typical Audi precision throughout, with segment-leading soft-touch plastic and metal accents featuring prominently.

The A4 is due to be replaced soon, meaning the A4 Allroad soldiers on with the current interior, which is perhaps looking a little dated now. But there's no faulting how it's put together.

The textured trim dash inserts looks great and the seats are very comfortable.

It's still most comfortable with only four people on board, the fifth sitting a touch too high in the middle.

Step up to the A6 and much more space is liberated - it's a true five seater, with plenty of legroom and headroom. The interior is expertly crafted and the Allroad introduces a new matte wood veneer.

Not sounding exciting enough? Then check out that sat-nav. Yep, that's Google Earth overlayed onto the mapping data. For scouting out new places to discover, it's brilliant. And it even gets mimicked in the instrumentation in front of the driver.

Thanks to new processing power, the A6's mapping is quick, smooth and effective.

The A6 cabin is a cool place to be. And with four-zone climate control, it's also literally cool. But it would be nice to see cooled seats, especially in our climate.

 

ON THE ROAD

A4 Allroad key specifications:

  • 2.0 litre diesel turbo inline four
  • 140kW @ 3800-4200rpm | 400Nm @ 1750-3000rpm
  • Seven-speed twin-clutch auto transmission
  • quattro AWD
  • 0-100km/h - 7.8 seconds
  • Five-link front suspension, upper and lower wishbones front | Independent-wheel, trapezoidal-link rear suspension rear
  • Electromechanical steering with speed-dependent power assistance
  • Fuel consumption (listed): 5.6 l/100km

A6 Allroad key specifications:

  • 3.0 litre diesel turbo inline four
  • 160kW @ 3250-4500rpm | 500Nm @ 1250-3000rpm
  • Seven-speed twin-clutch auto transmission
  • quattro AWD
  • 0-100km/h - 7.3 seconds
  • Five-link front suspension, upper and lower wishbones front | Self-tracking trapezoidal-link axle with wishbone and airbags for the rear
  • Electromechanical steering with speed-dependent power assistance
  • Fuel consumption (listed): 5.6 l/100km

The biggest news for the two cars is the engines, which are updates.

The A4 Allroad jumps ahead of its sedan variant with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel four which now produces 140kW and 400Nm, while sipping 5.6L/100km.

Paired with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the A4 has enough mumbo to satisfy the everyday driver, though it still has a tendency to lag when setting off.

A three-point turn can also be a tad frustrating while waiting for the clutches to engage after changing from drive to reverse and back again.

Once moving, it drives pretty much how you'd expect - like a jacked up A4 Avant - but with a bit more suspension travel. The result of that extra travel is an excellent ride - perhaps the most comfortable in the A4 range.

But how would it go with its Allroad tag? On the dirt roads near Kakadu, we tried to bury it to see if it would clamber out of the hole we dug.

Press the “ESC Off” button once and the stability control goes into an off-road programme, allowing a bit more play on dirt. No problems then in churning its way through the sandy soil.

We'll have to spend a bit more time over some shoddy trails to get a definitive answer, but found no reason to doubt its versatility.

The A6 Allroad now matches the A6 sedan with a 160kW/500Nm 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6. The engine is a pearler. Quiet, smooth, plenty of grunt for overtaking and it only uses 5.6L/100km.

The A6 now includes a coasting mode, which operates while in the Efficiency setting. This disengages the powertrain when you release the accelerator, maintaining momentum with no drivetrain drag.

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Its extra 100Nm over the A4 is apparent from takeoff, with less lag from the S tronic gearbox. It's also half-a-second quicker to 100kmh.

But the extra torque makes itself especially felt during overtaking, where it builds speed quietly and quickly. It'll cruise well into triple digits.

The ride, though, is a little jittery, owing to the air suspension and large wheels, especially compared with the coil-sprung A4 which absorbs smaller bumps much more effectively.

In Dynamic mode it's too firm and in comfort mode it loses body control. We found the best mode, appropriately, is “Allroad” which gives a great balance between float and solidity.

The suspension is height adjustable, giving 185mm of ground clearance, which is only 15mm less than the Q5, and like the A4, it shines on gravel.

In the ESC's off-road mode we tried our best to get it out of shape, but the car's brain quickly reined in any stupidity.

The active lane assist, though, can feel a little unnerving at first and if the bend is anything more than a few degrees, it doesn't work at all. We ended up switching it off.

Again, more time will need to be spent exploring its capabilities, but for now the A6 Allroad ticks all the right boxes.

It's also worth noting that the Allroad is now the only Avant available for the A6 range, but Audi is confident it has the numbers to shift them, despite its niche attributes.

 

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: 5-Stars - it's important to note, however, that the standard variants of the A4 and A6 achieved the 5-Star rating. The Allroad versions have not been tested individually.

Safety features: ABS, EBD, EBS, traction control and stability control. Lane assist, blind spot monitoring and rear collision alert are standard.

Passenger protection is taken care of with six airbags - front, front side and full-length curtain.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

If you don't want an SUV but still want plenty of space, then the Allroad twins may just suit you.

Effortlessly swift and sure-footed, they're also practical and roomy (and easier to get in and out of than a standard wagon, which families will love).

With Audi engineering and build, there's a lot to like, and although there are a few toys missing (cooled seats, powered tailgate on A4), the new mapping and self-adjusting ride on the A6 are very cool.

And both will tow over two tonnes.

Coming in at over $40K cheaper than the A6 and with a much better ride, the A4 Allroad is a relative bargain.

It loses only 5mm in ground clearance to the A6 too, but with its shorter wheelbase is actually more capable offroad than its bigger bro'.

Yes, the Allroads are definitely unique. Sporting machines for the family buyer who doesn't follow the mob.

MORE: Audi Allroad Models | Audi A4 | Audi A6 | Audi
MORE: SUVs | Prestige Cars

 
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