While the raised suspension might be sold as an aid to light off-roading, it’s the more comfortable ride it offers that’ll be of more interest to most people.
Choosing an Allroad means limiting your engine choice to just three, but they cover a decent breadth of abilities. The 2.0-litre petrol is the sporty choice, while the 2.0-litre diesel is a great all-rounder, leaving the 3.0-litre diesel to provide stonking performance without huge running costs.
Its comparatively high-revving nature makes the 249hp 2.0 TFSI Allroad the enthusiast’s choice and – helped by the quick-shifts of the dual-clutch automatic gearbox – it can shoot from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds. Trouble is, the linear power delivery and subdued noise levels ensure that it isn’t that engaging and somehow doesn’t seem that quick. But few will care when it can return fuel economy of 44.1mpg.
Drive it like a saint and you can achieve impressive fuel economy thanks to the clever quattro system
In the real world the 2.0-litre diesel feels every bit as quick – if not quicker – than the petrol model. Fitted with the DSG automatic we drove it gets from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds and the healthy 295Ib ft of torque available from 1,750rpm means it has power in reserve for overtaking. Economy is pretty impressive for a four-wheel drive – it can return 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions are 132g/km.
Top of the range is the 3.0-litre diesel with 215 or 268hp. The latter has lots of power even at speeds well above the UK’s legal limit, thanks to a massive torque figure of 443Ib ft. Nevertheless 55.4mpg fuel economy is pretty decent.
It’s not perfect – feeling a little choppy on A roads and getting caught out by the occasional large bump in town, but on the whole it is pretty good.
There’s a little more lean in corners than normal A4 owners will be used to and the Allroad can also float over crests, but pushing on reveals grippy and predictable handling, while the four-wheel-drive system calmly powers out of bends no matter how keen you are with the accelerator.
Choose Comfort in the car’s Drive Select system and the steering’s perfectly set up for the city, but too light for giving it the beans through a series of quick curves. Selecting Dynamic sorts that by adding a decent amount of weight, yet no matter which of the five modes you choose the steering’s resistance can feel inconsistent and judging front tyre grip is tricky.
Okay, so the Allraod may not be the most engaging car to drive – hugely accomplished as it is – but out on the motorway it’s pretty much faultless. We drove the car on a de-limited German autobahn at speeds of more than 100mph and interior refinement was nothing short of excellent. In part that was down to the (£450) laminated side windows fitted to test cars. Praise must also be heaped on the 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is noticeably quieter than similar units from BMW and Mercedes.
You get three gearboxes to choose from – a slick manual six-speed, a quick-shifting DSG seven-speed automatic or a conventional auto eight-speed that’s relaxed nature suits the lazy torque of 3.0-litre diesel it’s fitted to as standard.