Audi A4 allroad quattro estate (2011 – ) review
Read the Audi A4 allroad quattro estate (2011 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
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The recipe for Audi’s allroad package is to take a standard estate, add quattro four-wheel drive, jack up the ride height and add a muscular body kit and cladding – job done. While the looks won’t appeal to all, it is an interesting, and more affordable alternative to big, brash and bulky sports utility vehicles (SUV). The cladding looks like it will fend off all kinds of knocks and bumps, but in reality, it offers little more protection than a standard Audi A4 Avant estate. A bolder front grille finishes off the more aggressive nose nicely.
Inside, it’s standard Audi, with an exceptionally well-built cabin and close attention to detail. The design is a little on the bland side, though the metallic dash inserts lift the ambience considerably. Expensive-feeling materials with soft-touch finishes and in-built durability mark Audi as a producer of some of the best-quality cabins in the business. Thanks to a lengthy options list, it is possible to tailor the interior of the car to your individual specification, choosing from a variety of textures, colours and materials. The audio, sat-nav and ventilation systems are controlled through a menu-based interface, which is intuitive and easy to use.
There’s plenty of space inside the A4 allroad, with room for four adults and their luggage. The boot is deep and well-shaped, offering 490-litres luggage capacity with the seats up and 1,430 litres with them folded. This is more than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate can offer, despite the seats not folding flat. Towing weight is also excellent, with a maximum capacity of 1,900kg. The seats are supportive and comfortable, offering plenty of adjustment.
Ride and handling
The allroad handles very securely, with plentiful grip and traction. There’s a shade more body roll than in other A4 Avants, but it still changes direction more sharply than most of the SUVs it competes with. The steering is rather disappointing, though, because it feels artificially weighted. The ride is on the firm side, but the suspension only really struggles when the potholes it’s dealing with are particularly nasty.
Three engines are available: a petrol and two diesels. The refined 2.0-litre diesel produces 175bhp and delivers strong, smooth performance, reaching 62mph in 8.2 seconds when combined with the six-speed manual gearbox. A seven-speed twin-clutch is also available. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel gets the twin-clutch as standard. It provides plenty of smooth and creamy power and cuts the 0-62mph time by two seconds to a hot hatch-rivalling 6.2 seconds. The sparkling 2.0-litre petrol engine has 222bhp, and will return a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 145mph. It’ll be of limited appeal due to the dominance of diesel power in this section of the market.
All versions of the A4 allroad include a stop and start system together with brake energy recuperation technology, which help to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel economy. Compared to the A4 Avant quattro, though, there’s a penalty at the fuel pumps for going down the allroad route – around 5mpg in the case of the best-selling 2.0-litre TDI quattro model, and 5g/km of CO2. There is some good news when you come to sell though as resale values are strong.
Audi dealers are well respected for delivering excellent levels of customer service. The engines in the A4 allroad are used throughout the Volkswagen Group, so servicing will always be easily accessible outside of the dealer network once the warranty has expired. Audi doesn’t always do as well as you’d expect in reliability surveys, though, which could be a slight cause for concern.
The A4 saloon scored a full-five star Euro NCAP crash test rating, thanks to its rigid structure and a generous level of standard safety kit. We’d expect the allroad to perform just as well in a smash. As well as electronic stability programme, anti-lock brakes, traction control, brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, there are Isofix child seat mountings front and rear. There are plenty of airbags too, including front and side airbags as well as curtain airbags front and rear.
Audi A4 allroad specification includes front fog lights, a 10-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, split-fold rear seats, automatic headlamps and wipers, colour trip computer, three-zone climate control, heated mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, a load and rail system to hold luggage in place in the boot and headlamp washers.
If you want the rough and tough looks of a 4×4, but don’t want the bulk, the Audi A4 allroad fits the bill. It’s decent to drive and offers space for four adults and luggage in comfort. Just make sure the style is important enough to you to justify the extra it’ll cost you to buy and run over a standard A4 Avant.