The Car Connection Audi Allroad Overview
The Audi A4 Allroad is a compact luxury wagon with a rugged exterior and crossover-like abilities. It's a wagon replacement that Audi sells in the U.S. instead of a more conventional, lower-riding Avant wagon.
The Allroad is a rival for vehicles such as the Subaru Outback and the Volvo V60 Cross Country, although it is more luxurious than the Subaru.
Today's Allroad is based on the Audi A4. This blend of wagon and crossover sensibilities separates the Allroad from the Q3, Q5, and Q7 that make up Audi’s crossover-utility range.
MORE: Read our 2016 Audi Allroad review
The first Audi Allroad, sold from 2001 to 2006, followed a similar formula, but was a different car in a number of ways. It was essentially an A6 Avant wagon fitted with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, along with an adjustable-ride-height suspension, tougher-looking body trim and cladding, and some distinct luxury features. Pricing started around $42,000—a substantial sticker price for a decade ago—for a 250-horsepower, 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 in its first four model years, paired with automatic or (unusually) manual transmissions.
For the last two years, the Allroad switched to a 4.2-liter V-8 producing 300 hp. The suspension could be raised to provide more than 8 inches of ground clearance, and the all-wheel-drive system provided solid roadholding and cornering capabilities over a wide range of surfaces and weather conditions. Luxury features included Bose audio and navigation; safety features included parking sensors, stability control, and rear side airbags.
The new Audi Allroad
The new Allroad is clearly based on the Avant wagon model of the A4 sedan—but the styling changes to its grille and the addition of faux skid plates, aluminum side sills, and other details give it more presence and a crossover-like visage. And although the first Audi Allroad was derived from its contemporary A6 sedan, the new Allroad turns out to be 2.3 inches taller and 0.6 inch wider, rides on a longer wheelbase, and provides more leg room and head room than the earlier version. Cargo space rivals that of the best compact luxury crossovers at 27.6 cubic feet, and as you might expect the five-passenger Allroad's rear seats fold and flip for expandable storage space.
The sole engine offering is not a V-6 or V-8, but Volkswagen Group's 211-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, mated to an automatic transmission. It's a relatively new eight-speed design with sport-shift mode, and the package again includes standard all-wheel drive. Handling is firm and steering is direct, with quick automatic-transmission responses. The optional dynamic steering and Drive Select systems tailor the Allroad's electric power steering, transmission, throttle, and shock settings for sporty or comfortable driving at the driver's request. For 2015, Audi modestly bumped the output of its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine up to 220 hp.
Allroad standard equipment includes leather upholstery; a choice of wood or aluminum trim; 19-inch wheels and tires; satellite radio; Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) complete with iPod/USB connectivity; a power tailgate; adaptive headlights; a panoramic sunroof; Bluetooth; Bang & Olufsen audio; and a navigation system.
The Audi Allroad offers the usual standard safety features and has options for adaptive cruise control that can stop the car completely from speeds up to 19 mph. A rearview camera and blind-spot monitors are available, as are rear-seat airbags. Pricing starts at just under $40,000, although a well-equipped Allroad will soar well past $50,000.
The Allroad is one of several Audi vehicles to adopt the brand's Connect suite of telematics. With a monthly subscription, Audi Connect taps into a built-in 3G connection that turns the Allroad into a rolling wireless hotspot for up to 8 devices and enables Google local searches via MMI. The connection also feeds input to the navigation system to render maps from Google Earth and Google Street View in stunning, crisp detail. Other links to satellite data bring in real-time traffic and weather information.
The Allroad manages 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway or 24 mpg on the combined cycle, according to the EPA. Like most other force-fed Audi engines, the Allroad recommends you fill it with premium fuel only.
A new Allroad has been confirmed, and should arrive in the 2017 model year, shortly after the A4 goes on sale in the U.S.