Audi A6 Allroad review: all in the family
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Audi A6 Allroad
- Diesel option in the petrol-focused A6 family
- Relaxed open-road driving
- Versatile air suspension system
- More expensive than the SQ5 SUV
- Heavy for a wagon at 2010kg
- Allroad styling might be too subtle for some
The adventure lifestyle and rough road alternative to an SUV in the Audi range actually pre-dates all of the marque’s expanding Q family.
The original A6 Allroad was launched in 1999, the high-ride wagon configuration arriving well before Audi’s entry into the SUV segment which began when the Q7 launched in 2005.
For 2020 there’s a fourth generation A6 Allroad - again based on the latest A6 Avant and boasting quattro all-wheel-drive, adaptive air suspension as standard with an increase of up to 45mm in ride height and some subtly muscled-up exterior detailing.
There are several ways to look at the A6 Allroad. It could be considered as complimentary to the Q5 and Q7 or as the anti-SUV that offers a blend of sport wagon performance and practicality, rough road capability and diesel muscle with a 2500kg tow rating.
It also provides a diesel engine extension to the new A6 family which otherwise has a petrol focus, with 55 TFSI models available in sedan and Avant body styles.
Audi New Zealand has decided that Allroad customers require something unique with premium and performance flavour. So, this market has solely launched the flagship version, the A6 Allroad 55 TDI quattro priced from $134,900.
For comparison, A6 Allroad pricing is $2000 above the A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line model and $6400 more than the SQ5 TDI.
The 55 TDI designation identifies the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, assisted by 48-volt mild hybrid technology including an electrically powered compressor to deliver an initial hit of torque before the turbos begin to spool.
It’s a powerful diesel – the engine also sees duty in the latest SQ5 TDI – with 257kW produced at an unstressed 3850rpm. Immediate light throttle urge from a torque curve that plateaus at 700Nm between 2500-3100rpm is welcomed in a full-size wagon that tips the scales with a 2010kg kerb weight figure.
It’s a high torque and low effort style of performance and long open road runs are the forte of the TDI powertrain. But a quick sprint isn’t beyond its talents either, with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.2sec.
Audi’s eight-speed S tronic transmission allows the Allroad to settle at a relaxed 1250rpm at 100km/h in eighth gear. Close ratios match the early ramp-up of big torque numbers with 1700rpm used in seventh gear, 2000rpm in sixth and 2500rpm in fifth.
Audi reckons on a slightly optimistic 6.6l/100km consumption figure and I averaged 7.6l/100km on a highway run through Waikato roads, with 8.0l/100km as an overall road test figure. A 63-litre tank offers plenty of scope for bigger adventures.
The usual Audi Drive Mode settings of Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual are accompanied by additional Off Road and All Road modes that raise the adaptive air suspension height and bring Hill Descent Control into the mix.
Audi’s press car had been swapped from standard 20-inch wheels on Audi Sport 21-inch rims shod with Continental SportContact6 tyres in 245/40 R21 sizing. The air suspension helps maintain a comfortable ride quality on the low-profile rubber.
There’s a slight sense of sitting up higher than a standard A6, but with nothing like the seat position of a Q5 or Q7.
Firm and well bolstered sports front seats provide secure lateral support and the driver’s seat has eight-way cushion and backrest adjustments with a four-way power lumbar adjuster and manual cushion length extender.
There is excellent front seat headroom and plenty of rear seat space, with generous kneeroom and headroom. But the large centre tunnel robs a fair amount of rear footwell space and compromises the centre seat comfort.
There’s plenty of practicality, with the large wagon layout including a powered tailgate that opens to reveal a long load floor and remote releases for the 40/20/40 split fold rear seat. A load separation net is provided and 565 litres of cargo space is available before you begin folding the rear seats and 1680-litres is available when folded.
The Allroad cabin is stylishly finished with a black cloth head lining, silver stitched Allroad embroidery on the Valcona leather seats, Alcantara door trim inserts and carbon look dash inserts.
The Allroad is a technology-laden experience with the 12.3-inch Configurable Virtual Cockpit Plus instrument display and a head up display plus 360-degree camera and keyless start. The superb Audi Matrix LED headlights with adaptive high beam system are standard.
In the centre stack the upper 10.1-inch screen controls the MMI Navigation Plus (with Google maps and live traffic) along with vehicle systems and infotainment functions, while a lower 8.6-inch touchscreen is dedicated to the climate control.
A full roster of safety features and driver assistance includes adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, lane change assist (blind spot detection), the pre-sense front and rear systems, front cross traffic alert and tyre pressure monitoring.
Building on the $134,900 base price, the test vehicle options included heated rear seats ($1000), four-zone air conditioning ($2200), the Bang & Olufsen premium audio ($2000) and privacy glass ($1300). The five-spoke Audi Sport 21-inch alloys add $3000.
The A6 Allroad 55 TDI quattro delivers on its name by being an accomplished all-rounder.
It has the informal style and the practicality of a full-size wagon with impressive high-torque diesel performance boosting the status to sport wagon.
Add luxury, load-carrying and quattro confidence for rough roads and slippery surfaces and the A6 Allroad is positioned as a multi-talented SUV alternative.
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