Audi’s new all­road has lots to love

Pilbara News - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

All­road quat­tro mod­els are be­com­ing an in­creas­ing fea­ture of the Audi lineup in Aus­tralia.

A cross be­tween an SUV and a stan­dard sta­tion wagon, all­roads make more sense than the for­mer and have all the ad­van­tages of lower fuel con­sump­tion and ease of driv­ing of the lat­ter.

As its name sug­gests, the Audi all­road is de­signed to work well on all roads, it’s not in­tended to be an off-road ex­plorer, but to per­form ca­pa­bly on sealed or un­sealed sur­faces likely to be cho­sen by ad­ven­tur­ous fam­i­lies on big tour­ing trips.

New A4 all­road has strong styling that cer­tainly stands out from that of the stan­dard wagon.

It sits higher from the ground by 34mm not only be­cause of changes to the sus­pen­sion, but also be­cause of the use of big­ger di­am­e­ter tyres.

The front has been beefed up by stronger shap­ing of the cur­rent Audi sharp edged look. The big grille has ver­ti­cal chromed bars and the fog light sur­rounds are larger. New all­road quat­tro has bold pro­tec­tive ad­di­tions on all the lower sur­faces and the outer edges of the wheel-arches give it a semiSUV look.

The chromed strips in the sills add a touch of class. Big bumpers pro­vide more pro­tec­tion.

Up top, the stan­dard roof rails add to the tough ap­pear­ance of this prac­ti­cal Ger­man wagon. As an aside, there is no tougher ve­hi­cle on Ger­man au­to­bahns than an Audi sta­tion wagon.

The choice of trav­el­ling sales reps, they are gen­er­ally black, al­most in­vari­ably in the fast lane and sel­dom travel at less than 200km/h.

Us­ing the mod­u­lar plat­form sys­tem that has been de­signed for the com­plete Volk­swa­gen Group of pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles, means new A4 all­road quat­tro is about 80kg lighter than the su­per­seded one.

More alu­minium is used and there is even a hint of mag­ne­sium in places, such as in the steer­ing wheel.

At the same time, the wagon is even more rigid to give it ex­cel­lent road grip and en­able it to stand up well in crashes.

In­side, there’s the ex­pected bril­liant Audi de­sign and high qual­ity that we have loved for years. Oth­ers have tried to match it, but con­tinue to fail.

There’s com­fort­able le­groom in the back seats even with tall folks in front.

The vir­tual cock­pit, which can show mul­ti­ple views im­me­di­ately in front of the driver, is one of our favourite fea­tures in all new Audis.

How­ever, it isn’t stan­dard in all A4 all­road quat­tro mod­els.

In­fo­tain­ment is by way of the lat­est Audi MMI sys­tem and op­er­ates through a sim­ple menu struc­ture of the type we are ac­cus­tomed to in smart­phones.

Voice con­trol is part of the sys­tem and a pro­gram­mable head-up dis­play pro­vides in­for­ma­tion pre-se­lected by the driver.

Lug­gage-car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity in the new se­ries Avant wag­ons is 505 litres with all seats oc­cu­pied, ex­pand­able by another 995 litres with the seat backs down.

The pow­ered tail­gate can al­legedly be op­er­ated by a “swipe” func­tion by your foot un­der the back bumper. We, and Audi per­son­nel present at the event, could only get this to work about one time in five.

Per­haps try for your­self dur­ing your pre-pur­chase test drive of the ve­hi­cle and see if you have more luck.

Hav­ing driven sev­eral hun­dred kilo­me­tres in a va­ri­ety of Audi A4 all­road mod­els in far north Queens­land, we feel it should grab a good share of its mar­ket seg­ment.

It’s strong, has good road grip, a quiet, com­fort­able ride and pro­vides plenty of power to get past the seem­ingly in­evitable car­a­van rigs that are a fea­ture of many roads up there.

Power comes from ei­ther a 184 kilo­watt 2.0-litre four-cylin­der turbo-petrol or a 2.0-litre tur­bod­iesel pro­duc­ing 140kW.

Turbo lag has been min­imised on both the petrol and diesel en­gines and they are smooth and quiet to sit be­hind.

A choice of driv­ing modes pro­vides ev­ery­thing from eco­nom­i­cal long dis­tance trav­el­ling, through sporty set­tings, to un­sealed road trac­tion.

The lat­est A4 all­road has a dou­ble-clutch au­to­matic, termed S tronic by Audi. The quat­tro all-wheel-drive sys­tem has been fur­ther up­graded to com­pletely by­pass the all-wheel-drive trans­mis­sion com­po­nents when they are not re­quired, thus only us­ing two-wheel-drive. The re­sult is more per­for­mance, less fuel use and lower emis­sions.

The AWD sys­tem takes up vir­tu­ally in­stantly when re­quired.

Audi’s lat­est all­road quat­tro is an im­pres­sive piece of ma­chin­ery that should sell well.

Sadly, Aus­tralian buy­ers pre­fer the ma­cho look of SUVs, so these out­sell sta­tion wag­ons by a huge mar­gin. It would be good if the Audi all­road quat­tros — the A6 all­road quat­tro has been on sale here for a num­ber of years — and its smaller brother, the new A4 all­road, will move buy­ers away from the gas-guz­zler SUV craze.

Pictures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

The front of the Audi A4 Quat­tro has been beefed up by stronger shap­ing of the cur­rent Audi sharp-edged look.

The vir­tual cock­pit can show mul­ti­ple views and prom­ises to be a real hit.

The wagon has ex­cel­lent road grip and will stand up well in crashes.

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