VIDEO: Is the C5 Audi Allroad As Unreliable as They Say?

The original C5-generation Audi Allroad — based on the C5-generation Audi A6 Avant — is often considered to be one of the very most unreliable cars of all time. When it debuted in 1999, the Allroad was one of the more complicated cars on sale, with a biturbo engine, adjustable air suspension and a shift-able automatic gearbox. So it had its fair share of issues. Looking back at it, is it still as unreliable as we all remember it being? In this new video from Hoovie’s garage, we sort of find out.


In this video, Tyler Hoover borrows an Audi Allroad from a dealer friend to make this video. It’s a very un-loved example, as it very clearly took a lot of abuse. It also doesn’t seem to have been maintained much throughout its life. So using it as the example for the Allroad’s reliability, or lack thereof, might not be exactly accurate. Having said that, it does seem to have all the typical Allroad issues.

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For one, it seems to be leaking some oil and the 2.7 liter biturbo V6 found in the Allroad was famous for leaking oil from its turbos. Potentially due to PCV issues, so the fix might not be the bad, actually. It also must have had issues with its air-ride, which is the most common Allroad problem, as its air shocks were replaced with traditional coilovers. It also has to O2 sensors dangling because they’re normally mounted to the catalytic converters, which are non-existent, being that they rusted off. So it really doesn’t have an exhaust from the manifold back. Which is bad but does make it sound great.


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It’s also a complicated car to work on. Admittedly, the complaint that there’s no room in the engine bay to change any belts is not an Allroad issue and it’s not done “intentionally”. That’s an inherent packaging issue Audi has always had to face, due to stuffing Quattro all-wheel drive in a front-wheel drive chassis.


Quattro requires a longitudinal engine layout, whereas the chassis Audi uses are front-drive, transverse-engine chassis borrowed from the VW Group. So the engine has to be pushed way far forward, so as to fit all the Quattro gubbins. It’s like that in all Quattro-equipped Audis, with the exception of the R8.


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Thought, the annoying part of working on an Allroad is the fact that its turbochargers and intercoolers are annoying to get to and fail often.


However, after driving the car, Hoovie seems to actually be impressed with how well it drives, considering its age and condition. Sure, it’s in shabby shape but it seems to ride well, the engine seems to pull hard and it’s actually quite nice to drive. Of course, fixing it wouldn’t be worth it, as the new exhaust alone is worth more than the car, but for someone who wants a cheap all-wheel drive beater, that Allroad might not be a terrible idea. It probably is, though, so don’t buy it…


CategoriesA6 Allroad Video
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.