I had driven Audi’s mightily-impressive big SUVs earlier, but to my surprise, it was the A4 allroad quattro that I liked the most.
Tom Scanlan feels firmly planted in the Audi A4 3.0 TDI 272PS quattro tiptronic
Audi’s A4 allroad quattro models are seen regularly on the UK’s roads they are now available with a bewildering range of engines. On offer is a car that Audi says is the first to incorporate the new efficiency-focused quattro all-wheel-drive with ultra technology. This is Audi-speak for four-wheel-drive and economically efficient performance aided by light weight construction and is a feature of the 2.0 TFSI car.
The car is aimed at people who will regularly encounter the less-challenging of off-tarmac routes, so they will be attending horse-shows, country events and the like and have to negotiate rutted farm-tracks. The test route, therefore, included just such tracks for about a mile and they were no problem for the A4 allroad, with its extra 34 mm of ground clearance, although in fact probably not a real challenge, being bone dry on the day.
The cars are equipped with very powerful engines; in petrol versions, this begins with the 2.0 TFSI producing 252 PS and priced at £36,010, while the least powerful of the diesels gives out 190 PS and, of course, loads of torque. My drive was in the most powerful of all – the superb 272 PS 3.0 diesel (there is also a 218 PS 3.0 diesel) with a massive 600 Nm of pulling power from 1500 to 3000 rpm.
It was the tiptronic auto gear change model with a base price of £40,330. As we are now all surely aware, with Audi, this is just the starting point because the test car, with all its nineteen options, finished up at £58,763. But what a car!
This car is just beautiful to drive. At all times, it feels firmly planted to the road; its slightly extra height compared with the A4 is not noticeable from the driving seat and taking the car quite fast through sweeping bends is most enjoyable.
You can select the driving mode you fancy and, for example, if the road is dry, you could go for the dynamic mode that sends a bit more power to the rear wheels for that extra sporty feel and control.
It retains all the expected classy feel of an Audi and delivers its considerable performance with consummate ease. If you want to move fast, it can get you to 62 mph in a mere 5.5 seconds (not, by the way, to 155mph – which is the top speed – as it said in Audi’s hand-out to journalists on the car’s launch!). Its delicious 3-litre six-cylinder engine sounds great, too.
The Quattro system is constantly monitoring what’s going on, including the driver’s characteristics, even to the extent of containing an element of prediction. Every ten milliseconds, it gains a variety of information and acts upon it. You are of course aware of this having read up on the car, but you are not aware of anything other than that the car feels glued to the road.
The car has been refined in pretty well every technical aspect over the outgoing allroad.
This includes new rear suspension and updated front suspension that, with new materials, has reduced weight by twelve kilos.
The tiptronic gear changes are almost imperceptible and instantaneous, really terrific and very much part of the fun you can get from driving this new allroad. Yes, there are the usual paddles and manual selection if you want.
The A4 allroad is an Avant rather than a saloon, so there is all that extra carrying capacity at the back. You recognise the car from the flared wheel arches, often in a matt grey textured material, from the jagged headlight design and air inlets, and the vertical chrome grille louvres…and maybe bits of straw hanging off underneath.
The official urban, extra urban and combined fuel consumption figures hover between 48.7 and 56.5 depending on the wheel size. All very impressive, if you achieve these. I was not able to get my own figure on the driving route but would bet that ‘in real life’ few if any drivers would match them. Emissions, again depending on the wheel size, are from 139 to 146 g/km.
The A4 allroad quattro is a car that proves that, if the money is available, there is a huge amount of fun to be had, no matter what the road conditions are.
Car reviewed: Audi A4 3.0 TDI 272PS quattro tiptronic – On the road £40330, price as tested £58763 0-62mph 5.5 secs Top speed 155mph limited Fuel Economy combined 53.3mpg CO2 emissions 139g/km Engine 2967cc 6-cylinder diesel Max Power 272PS@3250rpm Torque 600Nm@1500rpm Transmission 8-speed tiptronic with manual mode
If you don't want an SUV
Looks great on or offroad
Massive 600Nm of torque
Pricey, but worth it
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