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AUDI A4 allroad quattro

(The Audi A4 allroad quattro is priced at $69,900 AUD – that’s £42,171 for UK readers.)

Pros: great economy, plush ride, distinctive appearance

Cons: modest luggage space when rear seat occupied, space-saver spare

Introduction

Audi Australia has added the A4 allroad quattro (complete with infuriating lower case) to its huge range of models and variants.

Arguably, at $69,990 it’s not dear but consider what other vehicles of its general type you can buy for this price – a diesel Territory Titanium with $6K change, a Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander with $20K to buy a small car for a good friend, or a BMW X3 diesel and $7K still remaining. Closer to home you could choose any Audi Q3, the dearest being $56K.

If Audi is a specialist in niche vehicles, then the A4 allroad Quattro must be judged one of the best examples. In character it is really not much like any of the vehicles mentioned above. It’s more in the category of its larger A6 allroad Quattro sibling or the late and unlamented Holden Adventra.

There is little evidence that the Australian buying public gets much excited by such car-based SUVs, other than the stalwart Subaru Outback.

Throw in the fact that in 2012 the Q3 became Audi Australia’s top selling vehicle and you begin to question the logic of this wagon.

One obvious point in its favour is pricing relative to other A4 Avant (Audi’s favoured term for wagon) variants. The 2.0 TFSI (petrol) Avant Quattro is just $2500 cheaper.

Design

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Audi’s engineers have actually gone to considerable trouble to differentiate the allroad from other A4 wagons. The front track is 1583 mm compared with 1564 for the Avant, while the rear track is 1574 mm compared with 1521.

Ground clearance is 180 mm but the higher centre of gravity is partly compensated for by the increase in track. The alloy wheels are 17 inches in diameter and a meaty eight inches wide. They are shod with sensible 245/45 tyres.

It probably looks more differentiated from a standard A4 quattro than an Outback is from a Liberty wagon.

Accommodation

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The allroad quattro is better described as a generous 4-seater than a 5-seater. Rear legroom is good and the load area accommodates 490 litres when the rear seat is upright. Fold it down and you get a load length of 1.78m and luggage volume of 1430 litres, both of which are respectable for a car that is just 4.72m long.

Unfortunately, the rear seat does not fold down well enough to complete an entirely flat floor.

There are some ingenious items such as separate storage areas for the luggage cover and the safety net, but nothing to send Ford Australia’s Territory architects back to their easels.

Full-size spare wheel and tyre? Er, no.

You get leather, eight airbags, xenon headlights, a reversing camera, Audi’s excellent MMI Navigation Plus and it is well specified for a European vehicle in the $70K range.

Performance & Economy

The engine is a beauty. It’s a 2.0-litre diesel which produces 130kW (and I still remember turbo-diesels of this size that offered low 80s!), combined with 380Nm of torque from 1750 rpm through to 2500.

A 7-speed DSG gearbox (S tronic in Audi-speak) teams beautifully with the engine to deliver strong performance. The zero to 100 km/h figure is 8.1.

The official fuel economy rating is 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres, which is fantastic. No, you won’t average this in the real world but it’s the relativity of these official numbers that counts and Audis are usually among the class leaders.

Ride & Handling

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The higher ride height means a longer travel suspension. Combine this with the 45 series tyres and you get a very comfortable ride.

There is a fair bit of body roll when you drive hard through tight corners but the A4 allroad Quattro always feels secure.

You get certain degree of off-road ability, but don’t expect this Audi to go where any HiLux can.

The best way to think of the true advantage of this vehicle is an elegant wagon for those who love to holiday in the alpine regions; it’s ideal for skiers.

Like most Audis, it has rather lifeless steering, but it’s direct.

Conclusion

This is a thoroughly engineered wagon but it will appeal to a very limited market.

Author: Written and researched by John Cadogan an Automotive Journalist from Australia, editor in chief at www.carloans.com.au. John recommends, if you are interested in purchasing an Audi A4 Allroad Quattro and unsure whether you can afford it, “estimate your repayments by using a car loan calculator”, you can try one here.

John Cadogan

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