AUDI A4 Allroad Ambleside
AUDI A4 Allroad
Ten years ago, Audi’s quattro brand almost exclusively stood for high-performance sports cars. But since then, four-wheel drive has come to mean much more to the German firm – and these days, the quattro badge is just as likely to be found on the back of an off-roader as it is a 155mph saloon.
The latest home for the all-wheel-drive logo is the A4 Allroad – a toughened-up 4x4 estate that follows the same formula as its bigger brother, the A6 Allroad.
Could it be one of the best Audis you can buy? We drove the range-topping 3.0-litre TDI diesel to find out.
The recipe is simple. Take an A4 Avant and raise the ride height by 37mm – giving it only 20mm less ground clearance than the Q5. Then add 4WD, plus an off-road ESP system and beefed-up bumpers, along with plastic wheelarches.
In the boot you’ll find some useful dividers, as well as 490 litres of luggage space with the back seats in place.
The rear has enough room for three tall adults, while up front is one of the best cabins on the market.
You don’t get much standard equipment – cruise control, sat-nav and parking sensors are all cost options – but the quality of the finish is impeccable.
With a 237bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6, this flagship is not short of punch.
The sprint from 0-62mph is completed in only 6.4 seconds, while the 500Nm torque output makes overtaking moves a breeze.
Refinement is superb, particularly on the motorway, where the Allroad covers great distances with ease. And while the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch box isn’t very smooth at low speed, on the open road the newcomer resists body roll well.
It also gives plenty of grip when pushed hard in corners.
Off the tarmac, this excellent traction works in tandem with the raised ground clearance to ensure the A4 Allroad has more mud-plugging ability than most owners will ever need.
The only problem is the price. At £34,565, this flagship model is expensive.
But there is a solution – Audi also offers a 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI version, which is even more economical (45mpg versus 39.8mpg) and costs over £5,000 less.
Rival: Octavia Scout
Skoda’s rugged estate is cut from the same hard-wearing cloth as the Audi.
It offers four-wheel drive, a raised ride height and protective body mouldings.
And while it can’t match the A4 Allroad’s classy feel, it represents much better value, with a starting price of £20,500 for the 2.0-litre TDI.
Author: Sam Hardy