The new Audi A4 Allroad will be the first model to come fitted with Audi’s new ‘quattro with ultra technology’ four-wheel drive system. It’s been developed to make fuel savings of around 5mpg and to cut CO2 emissions – Audi say it sets benchmarks in both these areas.
Quattro ultra works by only engaging four-wheel drive when it is really needed. The rest of the time the propshaft and rear axle are disconnected from the engine to reduce mechanical inertia and save fuel accordingly.
What’s clever is that the system does all this in a way that is almost imperceivable to the driver. Whether four-wheel drive is engaged is based on three factors: proactive, predictive and reactive.
First and foremost is the proactive stage, which uses the Allroad’s systems to second guess when four-wheel drive will be needed, taking account of road (using the sat-nav) and weather conditions. The system is primed accordingly – the rear wheels being engaged before the front end’s limits of grip are reached. The result is a seamless transition to four-wheel drive.
Like it says on the tin, the predictive stage is all about working out when the driver is likely to need four-wheel drive. It takes account of the user’s driving style, the settings chosen in the car’s direct drive system and data form the car’s stability control. In other words, if you drive aggressively the car will respond by switching on the four-wheel drive to maximise performance and safety.
The reactive phase acts as a clever safety net. It’s likely to be used the least and responds to sudden changes in conditions – such as coming across sheet ice – calling on the quattro system’s grip in an emergency.
Audi A4 allroad (updated 12 January 2016)
The new Audi A4 allroad quattro has been announced at the Detroit Auto Show. Audi’s allroad range adds off-road styling and quattro all-wheel drive to its more traditional on-road models. This means buyers who live in places where bad weather is a frequent menace can still get a capable car without having to choose an SUV.
It’s based exclusively on the A4 Avant estate because Audi reckons buyers value practicality over absolute style in this segment. It won’t get as far off-road as a Land Rover or even the brand’s Q7 SUV but, for unpredictable British winters, it offers a great blend of road car style and off-road ability.
Audi A4 allroad styling
At first glance, the allroad quattro hardly looks any different from the standard A4 but, on closer inspection, there are subtle differences. Chunky plastic cladding protects the undersides of the bumpers and doors and the front end gets an imposing makeover thanks to its vertical grille bars. Harder to spot in isolation is the 34mm increase in ride height.
Additionally, you get flared plastic wheel arches lending the car a more prone stance than the standard A4. An underbody guard and rear diffuser are added, the former of which protects vital components from excessively vigorous off-road exploits. The higher roof rails both echo allroads of the past and lend some vital practicality.
Audi A4 allroad interior
Inside, the allroad quattro is unchanged compared to the standard A4 Avant. This means you get a spacious, high quality cabin that’s noticeably more premium than the outgoing model. The infotainment system can be further upgraded with the optional Audi Virtual Cockpit, replacing the traditional dials.
Audi A4 allroad engine and specs
The allroad quattro offers improved performance compared to its predecessor. Diesel engines are expected to be the most popular and are offered in 2.0-litre guise with 148 or 187hp, and 3.0-litre V6 versions with 215 or 268hp – the latter of which gets an eight-speed automatic gearbox over the normal six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG auto. Petrol fans are offered a 249hp 2.0-litre turbo that can hit 62mph from rest in just 6.1 seconds.
Unsurprisingly, considering it’s an off-road biased A4, it has an off-road mode that, combined with quattro all-wheel drive and the increased ride height, means muddy fields or snowy roads won’t be a hassle. Adaptive dampers are offered for the first time on an allroad meaning buyers can set how firm or soft they want the ride quality to be depending on the situation.
Audi A4 offroad price and release date
UK prices are unconfirmed but the allroad will cost from €44,750 in Germany – that’s roughly £33,500 but UK versions might have higher standard specification so could have a slightly higher entry level price. The new model is expected to hit the streets in the summer of 2016.
Save money on your new Audi A4
If you like the allroad quattro’s looks but can’t wait for its release, head over to our Audi A4 deals page to see how much carwow can help you save on the talented standard model. For even more options head over to the car chooser to narrow your search.