The first generation Audi Allroad was an interesting car. Built on the C5 Audi A6 platform, the Allroad was meant to be a sort of luxury wagon that had the off-road prowess of an SUV. With adjustable air suspension, the Allroad was capable of raising its body height enough to give it 208 mm (8.2 inches) of ground clearance. With its body raised this high, the Allroad was able to complete the official Land Rover test course, making it the only car-based SUV to ever do so. Though calling the Audi Allroad an SUV is a bit of a stretch.
The original Audi Allroad was an impressive thing on paper. It had genuine off-road capability, either a punchy 2.7 liter bi-turbo V6 or 4.2 liter V8, an automatic gearbox or six-speed manual, great luxury and room for five people plus luggage. It seemed like the perfect car. Except it wasn’t, mostly due to its reliability, or lack thereof.
The Audi Allroad was great to drive, briefly. I say briefly because breakdowns were more frequent than fuel fill-ups. The Allroad is probably the most unreliable car in Audi’s history. Maybe even automotive history. It’s almost impossible to find an Allroad owner that is happy with the reliability of their car. Transmission failures, engine leaking oil from every possible place to leak oil from and air suspensions collapsing were just some of the myriad of issues with the Audi Allroad. Because of all of these issues, most enthusiasts are terrified of buying a first-gen Allroad, despite the fact that they’re excellent to drive.
So, for someone who wants and Allroad but doesn’t want the catastrophic headaches that come with it, should you buy the new one?
The second generation Allroad is based on the B8 Audi A4, not the A6. Instead of having either a turbocharged V6 or a big V8, this new Allroad makes do with a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The 2.0 liter engine is paired to an eight-speed ZF-source automatic and puts the power down to all four wheels, via Audi’s Quattro. It’s not as rugged as its predecessor, but its increased ride height over the standard A4 and metal skid plates underneath make it decent at traversing a rocky driveway, maybe.
The new A4-based Allroad might not be the rugged off-roader that the original was, but that should make it quite a bit more reliable. With the same transmission that virtually every other Audi uses, and pretty much every other luxury car as well, a familiar engine and the lack of air suspension, the second-gen Allroad should be quite the reliable machine. It loses quite a bit of its character from its original model, but its lack of breakdowns might be enough to make it an attractive model for those who liked the first-gen Allroad.