Though the four-ring brand has been selling its raised all-wheel-drive wagon in Australia since 2012, annual sales nationwide have only averaged 150 or so.
But from September this rate should rise a little. That’s because the new version of the A4 Allroad quattro will come with a turbo 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine as well as the 2.0-litre turbo diesel that was the only option in the outgoing model. The 2.0 TFSI turbo petrol – with a little over 30 percent more power than the 2.0 TDI turbo diesel – should attract at least a few extra customers. Both are teamed with Audi’s S-tronic seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission.
TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
The Outback-like A4 Allroad quattro makes sense for anyone considering a medium size SUV, but is reluctant to live with the performance, fuel consumption and handling compromises that involves. Compared to Audi’s own Q5 SUV with a similar engine, the A4 2.0 TFSI Allroad quattro is quicker, more fuel efficient, much lighter, and more agile. Yet it has a useful 34mm more ground clearance than a normal A4 Avant wagon.
Choosing the Allroad quattro over a regular A4 Avant wagon with the same drivetrain won’t cost a lot. Audi Australia aims to price both 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TDI versions around $75,000 – only $3000 more than the A4 2.0 TFSI Avant quattro. On the other hand, the A4 Allroad quattro will cost substantially more than a four-cylinder Q5 SUV.
The A4 Allroad quattro, which is built on Audi’s latest MLB Evo platform and has the company’s latest driver aid and infotainment tech, is a better and classier car than the Q5. But that big price difference is a tough argument for the Outback from Ingolstadt to overcome.
- Like other members of the latest ‘B9’ generation of Audi’s medium-size car the A4 Allroad quattro is a class act. Its cabin is one of the best in the business for both space and quality, and driver assist and infotainment tech content is impressive.
- The high-riding Audi A4 Allroad quattro drives much like a regular A4 Avant wagon. It’s a more car-like drive than an SUV, in other words. The raised suspension delivers a very comfortable ride, noise levels are low and the handling is safe and sound.
- Styling differences give the A4 Allroad quattro a distinct visual identity. These include dark coloured wheel-arches, standard roof rails and a grille with vertical instead of horizontal slats.
- To make the most of its extra ground clearance the A4 Allroad quattro’s Drive Select system gets an additional driver-selectable mode. ‘Offroad’ is designed to maximise traction from the quattro all-wheel-drive system.
- Although Allroad treatment spices the visuals a bit, the exterior design of Audi’s new A4 has been justly criticised for being too timid. The basic shape is rather plain, and very similar to the outgoing model.
- That sloping tailgate reduces luggage space if you want to stack stuff high in the rear of the A4 Allroad quattro. And the 505-litre capacity below its cargo bay cover, while adequate, isn’t huge. There’s a little more space in the rear of Audi’s Q5, for example.
- Speaking of the Q5, the A4 Allroad quattro is sure to be around $10,000 more than the company’s medium-size SUV. If Audi Australia hits its $75,000 price target for the A4 Allroad, it will also be more expensive than a Mercedes-Benz GLC and line-ball with the entry model for Jaguar’s spacious and good looking F-Pace, due in Australia very soon.
- Audi Australia is fine-tuning the standard equipment list for the A4 Allroad quattro. Some of the car’s most attractive technologies – we’re thinking here of the brilliant Virtual Cockpit instrument display – may be available only as options.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
The A4 Allroad quattro doesn’t really have any directly comparable competitor. There are other raised all-wheel-drive wagons (Škoda Octavia Scout; Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Passat Alltrack) on the Australian market, but they all cost much less than the Audi. Better instead to compare it with the closely related A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI quattro and other premium-brand wagons in the same class, as well as the broad range of similar size SUVs on offer. Of these, the new Mercedes-Benz GLC, and soon-to-arrive Jaguar F-Pace are the most worthwhile test drives.