With the new Audi A4 allroad, built on the new A4 sedan’s B9 platform, Audi keeps on offering a high-riding wagon with unique styling as an alternative to SUVs. On the sales charts, the A4 allroad quattro certainly doesn’t qualify as a bestseller. It’s more of a niche product for connoisseurs who want a vehicle that’s more versatile than a sedan and more dynamic than an SUV.
Elegant design synergy
With its look best qualified as “chic adventurer,” the A4 allroad clearly flaunts its double personality. On one hand, we immediately notice its grille with vertical blades, shared with the brand’s utility vehicles, as well as elevated ground clearance and fender flares, all elements that hint at its off-road capabilities.
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On the other hand, we appreciate the classic and sober lines of the bodywork that assure a family connection with the sedan. From a design perspective, the new A4 allroad is a hit. There’s no confusion here as to what it is, thanks to its very elegant design synergy.
Quietness and comfort, even at 200 km/h
During our first drive around Munich, the 2017 Audi A4 allroad quattro proved to be very quiet and comfortable, even during 200 km/h stints on the limitless portions of the autobahn, as road and wind noises barely filtered into the cockpit.
In Europe, the A4 allroad offers a choice of six engines, including five diesels as well as a 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline unit that will be the only one to cross the Atlantic. With its 252 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque peaking between 1600 and 4500 rpm, this engine delivers more than adequate performance, with a 0-100 km/h time of 6.1 seconds. That’s not bad for a high-riding wagon that weighs in at 1580 kg, about 90 less than the outgoing generation thanks to its new platform. The A4 allroad isn’t a sports car, but isn’t slow, either.
New quattro ultra all-wheel drivetrain as standard
The only gearbox available is a dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic, and the A4 allroad quattro is the first model to get a new version of the brand’s AWD system, called quattro ultra. It can disconnect the rear axle when road conditions are favourable, which in turn increases fuel economy.
Moreover, the Audi drive select system now features an additional mode called Offroad, which adjusts throttle response, gear changes, steering response as well as electronic driving aids in order to optimise the vehicle’s tenure on uneven surfaces. However, the A4 allroad doesn’t include a locking differential, so it doesn’t have the same capabilities as a Jeep for off-road driving, but will have no problem driving up the trail leading to the cottage.
Backs up by itself with a trailer
Just like the Audi Q7, the A4 allroad can be equipped with a system that assists the driver in backup manoeuvres when a trailer is pinned to the car. The driver simply has to press a button and then control the direction of the car and trailer combination with the help of the MMI rotary dial. It’s really easy to use and will make any inexperienced driver look like a pro in this kind of manoeuvre. In Europe, the vehicle’s towing capacity is rated at 1900 kg, or 4200 lbs.
Top-notch fit and finish
The last few years, Audi has been offering us exceptional interior fit and finish quality, and it’s still the case in the new A4 allroad. Its dashboard is identical to the one in the A4 sedan, but further stands out with its metallic trimmings that make it look even more modern.
The Audi virtual cockpit and its 12.3-inch diagonal display replaces the traditional driving instrument cluster. This large surface can also show the navigation system’s map, which makes driving safer as we simply need to lower our eyesight instead of having to take our eyes off the road to check a conventional, centre-stack screen.
More rear-seat space, but limited versatility
Since the 2017 Audi A4 allroad shares its platform with the A4 sedan, rear-seat legroom has increased by 23 mm. Cargo capacity is now rated at 505 litres with the rear seatbacks in place, but the load floor isn’t completely flat, which reduces versatility somewhat.
Costs more than a Q5
The new A4 allroad will arrive in dealerships in the fall of 2016 as a 2017 model. Pricing hasn’t yet been officialised for Canada, but should be close to those of the current-generation car, which means $47,300 for the Komfort trim, $51,300 for the Progressiv trim and $53,700 for the Technik trim.
This price range means the A4 allroad quattro costs, on average, about $5,000 more than equivalent versions of the Q5. That’s certainly one of the reasons explaining why the allroad isn’t a strong seller. However, for connoisseurs who want a luxury vehicle and that appreciate more dynamic driving characteristics compared to an SUV, the 2017 A4 allroad is a good choice.