All-wheel drive cars aren’t really new to us. We’ve had a lot of good all-wheel drive systems over the years and some obviously a little better than their counter parts. The Audi AllRoad falls into the ‘I am better than you’ category, mainly because it makes use of Audi’s tested Quattro system which, with first hand experience, I can tell you is pretty flawless. It just provides ample grip in every terrain imaginable.
The curves on this car are simply beautiful. The alu-look inserts on the front bumper not only gives it a sporty look, but with the optional (R11 000) Bi-Xenon headlights and day time running lamps fitted to this model, gave it quite an aggressive front appearance.
The Audi AllRoad we have here is the 2.0 TDI model which makes a healthy 130kw and 380nm. It’s mated to a super smooth 7 speed dual clutch S-tronic transmission with sport and tip-tronic shifting mode. With all the torque being sent to all 4 wheels, it seems to get off the line rather quickly, owns a 0-100kph sprint time of 8.1 seconds and will run onto a claimed top speed of 209kph. It’s also pretty good on fuel, with an indicated 7.1l/100km overall.
It’s just the way this engine puts the power down which, simply put, is awesome. The torque wave is rather addictive from pull away that you quickly find yourself driving rather enthusiastically. The acceleration does taper off around 130kph, but it’s by no means slow. There is usable power available nearly everywhere and I can imagine that this would be a very good tow vehicle.
The sporty alu theme has been brought into the cabin with alu inserts on the dash. To make sure, you reminded that this is indeed all-wheel drive, they stamped a lovely QUATTRO emblem on there too. The seats, which are covered in black leather, are comfortable, supportive and manually adjustable on both the driver and passenger sides. I particularly liked the white backlit Audi signature dials and the red backlighting on the centre console which also houses the infotainment and navigation systems; the latter also being an optional extra of roughly R22 000. It is, however, dead simple to use via the jog dial on the centre console and I would highly recommend it if you do get lost often. Space in the front is very good, but can get a little cramped in the back if you are over 1.8meters tall. The boot is rather decent at 490l with the seats up and 1430l with them down. The parcel tray has a nifty slide feature which is sort of fixed on a rail, but can get in the way of rear visibility if it’s up. It can also be removed completely, if that is your sort of thing.
The AllRoad seems to be in a class almost all by its own with only the Subaru Outback and Volvo Cross-Country vehicles coming to mind as dead-on competition, from a wagon point of view with a decent all-wheel drive system. The AllRoad really is extremely surefooted and inspires a lot of confidence on slippery and loose surfaces.
The 180mm ground clearance is on par with most softroaders and yet as capable as some of the best. The downside about the setup is obviously long overhangs from the front and rear bumpers. If you can come to terms with that, the AllRoad is a very good alternative wagon, which is just as capable as most of the SUV type vehicles, with much better handling and lower centre of gravity. In short, you can drive it like a car, but still have off road stability and proper traction.
The AllRoad also features ABS, EBD, Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control. Traction Control can be disabled, but the Vehicle Stability Control will always be there to watch over you should things get out of hand on the more slippery roads. There are also two airbags in the front, two side front seat airbags and two curtain airbags. The brakes feel great and responsive and will slow the car down from higher speeds rather quickly, even on loose gravel roads.
I feel that the AllRoad is Audi’s best kept secret. If most A4 drivers knew how good this car is on gravel, they would instantly switch. The Audi A4 AllRoad has a suggested retail of R452 000. For more information, check out audi.co.za