I recently spoke to our Audi dealer associates who told me that their best selling car was the Audi Allroad (now called the A4 Allroad). That’s right, Americans won’t buy the Audi A4 Avant but slap some SUV-style black plastic fender flares on one and raise its ride height about as much as the width of a deck of cards and customers are all over it. That’s because us ‘Mericans love to seem rugged, whether or not we actually are. Like Californians who like taking “hikes” in $500 leggings and Snapchat the whole “experience” We’re getting off the rails a bit, here. Car and Driver recently reviewed the new Audi A4 Allroad to see if it’s as good as American customers seem to think it is.
Apparently, it is. Out of five stars, C&D gave it four overall, which is pretty damned good. Most of the reason is how good of an overall package it is. Mostly because its overall package is built off of the Audi A4 Avant.
The A4 Allroad starts out as an A4 Avant, which is a great place to start. Built on Audi’s new MLB-Evo II platform, the B9-generation A4 Avant is a hard car to fault. Its chassis is far superior to the one it replaces and one of the best in the business. It sports handsome looks, a fantastic cabin and an impressive powertrain. Under the hood of the A4 Avant (at least the one that’s shared with the A4 Allroad) is a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. That’s up there with the most powerful cars in its class. It also gets a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and Quattro all-wheel drive.
So what are the differences between the standard A4 Avant and the Audi A4 Allroad? Well, a 1.3-inch raise in ride height, for starters and then the aforementioned plastic fender guards. It also gets some standard roof rails and a Quattro Ultra all-wheel drive system. The latter is the most significant but it’s not that special as it sounds. Basically, it sports an all-wheel drive system that can be completely front-wheel drive and disconnect the rear driveshaft, thus allowing it to be more fuel efficient.
So under all normal driving circumstances, it’s front-wheel drive. When the system detects slippage at the front wheels, via its myriad of sensors, it uses an electronically controlled clutch pack to reconnect the all-wheel drive system. It can happen in milliseconds, so it’s quite effective. Still, though, it’s not proper Quattro, which is slightly disappointing, even if not a single customer will neither care nor understand the difference.
But what’s important is that, despite the changes, the Audi A4 Allroad drives remarkably similar to the standard A4 Avant. So it handles well, has good steering and is quiet, comfortable and luxurious. The only real difference is that its higher ride height, longer travel suspension and more relaxed persona make it more comfortable to drive. It’s a softer car, one that’s less of a sport sedan and more of a luxury wagon. According to Car and Driver, though, it’s quite good. Customers seem to agree.