Just when you thought Audi had run out of new niches to enter, Ingolstadt goes and creates another one. Welcome to the new A4 Allroad Quattro, a shrunken sibling to the A6 Allroad,
and a less obnoxious alternative to the Q5
4x4. The Audi A4 Allroad Quattro? So it’s four-wheel drive?
Absolutely. Unlike Saab’s new 9-3X
, which can be had in both front- and four-wheel drive configurations, Audi’s A4 Allroad has permanent four-wheel drive. There’s a 40:60 front-to-rear torque split under normal driving, but up to 65% can be sent to the front, or 85% to the rear in slippy scenarios. There’s also an Offroad Detection (ORD) system that identifies the road surface and adjusts the ESP parameters, just in case you actually take the A4 Allroad off paved surfaces on your way to Waitrose.
And while there are stainless steel bash plates front and rear it’s no SUV, and nor is it as capable off-road as its A6 Allroad
big brother – the new A4 Allroad doesn’t have the A6’s height-adjustable air suspension. Instead, there are regular steel springs and a 'ride-height raise' function that gives the A4 Allroad 180mm of ground clearance.What about the new A4 Allroad's body armour?
Alongside that massive grey front grille (with vertical chrome strips), the A4 Allroad has big bumpers, enlarged air intakes, chrome rings around the front foglights, flared wheelarches, angular sills and – wait for it – the availability of stainless steel inserts in those side sills. There are also roof rails and a fatter rear end with twin exhaust pipes to distinguish this Allroad version.
It should be pretty practical; there’s the regular A4 Avant’s 490-litre boot to fill with surfboards and baby bags, while this Allroad version features a reversible load liner.
And if you cough up the extra cash, you can have some LED daytime running lights, so other drivers will hate you even though you’re not driving an SUV...Tell me about the engines on tap
Three are available. Petrol power only comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre, with 208bhp and 258lb ft, but customers after diesel power can opt for either a 2.0-litre four-pot (with 168bhp and 258lb ft) or a 3.0-litre V6 with 236bhp and 369lb ft of twist. The latter comes mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, while the four-cylinder engines have six-speed manuals as standard.Anything else?
Yes, if you’re prepared to tick a few options boxes. Adaptive cruise control, lane change and blind spot system, a two-part panoramic glass roof, an electric tailgate, and a 14-speaker 505-watt Bang and Olufsen speaker system are all available.
Expect prices for the new A4 Allroad (without all this kit) to start at around £27k when the car goes on sale later in 2009.>> Evil faux-by-four? Or a brilliant, downscaled compromise from a full SUV? Click 'Add your comment' and let us know