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Audi A4 allroad quattro 2.0 TFSI 252PS S tronic

Click to view picture gallery“Estate cars continue to pull
  customers away from crossovers,
  and none more so than estate cars
  equipped with the four-wheel drive
  that many pseudo SUVs lack

  and without which they can let you
  down precisely when you most
  need to get a grip...”


FIRST PORT OF CALL, if you're looking for a premium all-wheel drive estate, has to be an Audi dealership. The 'four-rings' brand just keeps introducing more new models, each tantalisingly better than the last, the latest batch of which includes the newly-arrived A4 allroad quattro.


Yes, it's based on the A4 Avant estate; Yes, it's more rugged; and Yes, of course it comes with Audi's renowned quattro all-wheel drive system that the brand have been refining for the past four decades and which a third of customers now specify on their new Audi.

Putting an allroad on your drive will require a minimum spend of £37K which, given its dual on/off-road character and all-weather five-seating/load-lugging capabilities, is actually a pretty good price.

Inside it’s the same
tasteful first class cabin
already defining the A4
saloons and estates —
beautifully tailored from
high quality materials,
it’s a great place to
spend time whether
you’re the one gripping
the flat-bottomed sports
steering wheel or you’re
just along for the ride...”
The higher-riding allroad appears, at first glance, to be exactly what it's based on: a mid-sized A4 Avant estate… however, the eagle-eyed will quickly spot the additional ground clearance — there's 34mm of it over the regular A4 Avant which might not seem a lot but that old saying about 'every little bit helps' is as true today as when it was first uttered four hundred years ago.

Look closer and you might also notice that the allroad's grille is bigger and more 'in-your-mirror' when coming up behind other cars, plus there's a protective skid-plate under the shapelier front bumper; and you certainly won't miss the black-finished 'body-cladding-style' wheelarches linked by matching protective side sill extensions.

There are just two models to choose between — badged 'allroad' and 'allroad Sport'. Engine choices take in a 252hp 2.0-litre TFSI petrol and three turbodiesels; a 190hp 2.0-litre, and a 218hp and 272hp 3.0-litre. All come with Audi's S tronic autoboxes and 4WD. The 252hp petrol 2.0-litre version is marginally different in that it gets 'quattro with ultra technology'.

'ultra' is used by Audi to designate their most efficient performers, both fuel- and emissions-wise. In the allroad's case, during normal running, drive to the rear wheels is temporarily (and intelligently) decoupled although it can be automatically reactivated in an instant when required. Adding to the substantial (21%) emissions improvement is the new-generation allroad's 90kg weight loss over its predecessor, this courtesy of a new platform.

Inside the allroad it's the same tasteful first class cabin already defining the A4 saloons and estates — beautifully tailored from high quality materials, it's a great place to spend time, particularly on long trips, whether you're the one gripping the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel or you're just along for the ride.

It's unexpectedly spacious inside and exceptionally driver-friendly with engineered-feel switchgear and logically arranged controls and crystal clear dials — most welcome is the comprehensively customisable instrument display that allows the driver, at the flick of a switch, to resize the dials and use the live navigation map for a practical real-time background; add to that a very multifunction wheel with an agreeably grippy satin black rim plus paddle-shifters and a first rate driving position and you have a cabin you'll not just be happy to spend lots of time in but one that you'll also be very reluctant to leave.

Drive Select’s Comfort
mode lets you noticeably
soften the allroad’s
sportily-firm ride to
ensure non-tiring, long-
haul road trips.
And that’s not to say you
lose out dynamically
pressing on in Comfort —
even on twisty B-roads it
still feels very grippily
gung-ho, holding its line
tenaciously through
bends...”
Fine seats can be taken for granted although you might not have been expecting the full fist of air between the top of your head and the roof; there's also plenty of space around your shoulders too, and more than enough of it for you to cheerfully share the central armrest with your front passenger who will, for their part, appreciate their wide outer armrest. Finding favour with your passenger too will be the beautifully-integrated, full-width air-vent strip in the sculpted fascia.

Also looking the biz is the classy satin black oak trim, plus there's a full-house of high-end kit including a satin alloy engine start button, WiFi smartphone charging, electric parking brake, 3-zone climate control (operated by delightfully-knurled knobs), a pin-sharp 7-inch central infotainment display for the foolproof and intuitive MMI interface and SatNav that's made even more user-friendly by 3D landmarks and 3D street-plan or Google Earth view maps.

Incidentally, it's not a touchscreen; and all the better for it! Sometimes it seems as though the car-world has gone touch-mad but operating everything from a touchscreen on the move over never-perfect blacktop takes your attention away from the road for far longer than using a knob or switch that, night or day, you can find without looking.

Other desirable kit includes fiercely-good three-stage heated front seats, a rear parking camera with selectable multi views (front, rear, front and rear corners, and overhead bird's-eye) that's a big help for hands-on parking — or you can just leave it to the electronic on-board 'parking jockey' to find you a space and then parallel or perpendicular park for you.

There's also Audi's Drive Select with its instantaneously switchable driving modes (a choice of Comfort, Efficiency, Off-Road, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual covers every set of road/driving conditions, each modifying the suspension settings, handling, steering weight and engine response) along with essential driver aids such as traffic sign recognition — not just for speed but also things like upcoming road works — displayed on the central display's maps and in the instrument panel so you're always aware.

From the foregoing you can see that this new A4 allroad's pretty much got the lot. In addition to everything already mentioned there are also one-shot power windows and powerfold heated door mirrors (autofold on leaving), a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, drive-off auto door locking, cruise control and speed limiter, Audi Smartphone interface, front and rear parking sensors, a cooled glovebox, powered tailgate, Xenon headlights, 17-inch alloys shod with 255/55 rubber, plus driver aids such as Downhill Assist (manages the car's descent down steep gradients by maintaining a constant speed), Pre-Sense City Brake Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Assist, distance warning to the vehicle ahead and even advance prompts to lift off in good time when approaching junctions, etc.

Travelling at low or high
speeds, ask for more
and the engine gives it
willingly and without
fuss. While most of the
time it delivers its thrust
fluently without any
audible fireworks, in
Sport mode you’ll hear an
agreeably hard-edged
growl that fits nicely with
its point-and-squirt
dynamics...”
With independent suspension at the front and rear, using Drive Select's Comfort mode lets you noticeably soften the allroad's sportily-firm ride to ensure non-tiring, long-haul road trips. And that's not to say you lose out dynamically pressing on in Comfort — even on twisty B-roads it still feels very grippily gung-ho, holding its line tenaciously through bends.

Selecting Dynamic serves up an encouragingly sharp and focused handling mode. And if you do decide to put the pedal to the metal, don't you fret about the extra ground clearance because body control is well managed and precision cornering, helped by the fact that from behind the wheel you can see the corners of the bonnet, is a fact of allroad life.

Under the low profile bonnet sits Audi's turboed and direct injected inline-four. In 2.0 TFSI 252PS guise it punches out a persuasive 248bhp backed-up by 272lb ft of torque with drive, via a 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, to all four wheels. Which is more than enough to push it past 150mph and see it sprint to the benchmark 62mph in 6.1 seconds.

Travelling at low or high speeds, ask for more and the engine gives it willingly (peak torque stretches from 1,600 to 4,500rpm) and without fuss. While most of the time it delivers its thrust fluently without any audible fireworks (which, to be honest, is exactly what you want in a discreetly quick car like this), in Sport mode you'll hear an agreeably hard-edged growl that fits nicely with its point-and-squirt dynamics.

Lengthy journeys are made more pleasurable by its refined, long-legged cruising ability although care is needed as 90mph feels deceptively like fifty. Those with a penchant for pressing-on will be glad about the ease with which they can toggle between Drive and Sport: just lightly pull back the selector lever to switch between them. Of course, if you're in the mood for some manual shifting the paddle-shifters are at your fingertips' command. And when you do reach journey's end, a convenient feature is the 'Park' button on the side of the selector knob.

Running on the standard 17-inchers, the official Combined Cycle fuel consumption is 44.1mpg with 147g/km of CO2 emitted. A fondness for driving in Dynamic mode saw our week's hard-driven test average come out at 37.7mpg but a modicum of restraint will definitely benefit your plastic come fill-up time.

The allroad’s boot is
an accommodating 505
litres — sure to be big
enough for most.
Access is through a fast-
acting power-operated
tailgate made even better
by a roller luggage blind
that opens and closes
automatically with the
tailgate. Neat!”
Those relegated to travelling in the rear cabin will be cosseted and pampered to the same degree as those travelling up front, with their own climate controls, decent headroom and armrests both between them and on the doors, with conveniently-sited cupholders; they also sit about six inches higher and enjoy fine views out as well as relaxing backrest angles on their well-padded soft leather seats.

The allroad's boot measures an accommodating 505 litres, which is sure to be big enough for most. Access is through a fast-acting power-operated tailgate made even better by a roller luggage blind that opens and closes automatically with the tailgate. Neat. And if you're stacking to the roof there's a sturdy mesh pull-up 'load guard' installed along the top of the rear seats.

If you need to make use of the full loadbay, the versatile 40:20:40-split rear seats can be quickly folded to create a cargo bay with a seamless floor ready to swallow 1,510 litres. And should you need to tow, the allroad will pull a 1,900kg braked trailer; or you can carry 90kg on the roof.

The A4 allroad offers a genuine and stylish alternative to a road-hogging SUV. It also comes with premium build quality that's apparent in every corner of its roomy cabin, plus practical and versatile load space. Most important of all though is its ability, on road and off, sunshine or snow, to make easy work of taking the rough with the smooth. ~ MotorBar
.
Audi A4 allroad quattro 2.0 TFSI 252PS S tronic | £37,595
Maximum speed: 153mph | 0-62mph: 6.1 seconds | Test Average: 37.7mpg
Power: 248bhp | Torque: 272lb ft | CO2: 147g/km

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