Review: Audi A4 Allroad (2016)
More ground clearance than previous A4 Allroad. Incredibly comfortable and quiet. New quattro system allows full front-wheel drive to save fuel.
S tronic gearbox with 2.0 TDI can be hesitant. Audi Virtual Cockpit is impressive but expensive.
Audi A4 Allroad (2016): At A Glance
The A4 Allroad of 2016 is a half-way house between the standard A4 Avant and a Q5. You can of course buy an A4 Avant with quattro. So aside from bigger bumpers, what does the Allroad offer?
It's no serious off-roader, but then that could be said of Audi's SUV models.
There's slightly more ground clearance with an extra 340mm along with an off-road mode and tougher underbody guards, to protect the underside should you go venturing down a rocky path. Few are likely to do that, but the A4 Allroad is as much about image as anything else.
This is a car that you'll be likely to see with skis adorning the roof rack or a bicycle carrier on the back. That's not to say it's bereft of any off-road ability, in fact it can tackle surprisingly difficult terrain and the quattro system works incredibly well.
The 2016 A4 Allroad saw the introduction of a new quattro system, fitted with 'ultra' technology. What that basically means is the change to an on-demand system, so that in normal conditions it runs in front-wheel drive, saving fuel. When needed, the quattro system comes into play in a fraction of a second.
Initially this system was available only on the 2.0 TFSI engine - which hardly anyone buys - but eventually it will make its way onto the more economical 2.0 TDI engine and the smooth 3.0 TDI six-cylinder.
The 2.0 TDI proved the most popular model. It produces 190PS and comes with a 7-speed twin wet clutch DQ382 longitudinal S tronic gearbox. However, this isn't always a great combination and tends to hesitate, for instance at roundabouts. Claimed economy figures are good though with both versions of the 2.0 TDI listed at more than 53mpg.
The A4 Allroad shares much of its cabin design and equipment with the Avant, including an 8.3-inch touchscreen or 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit system, first seen in the TT. The latter is an impressive bit of kit but rather than standard fit, is paid-for option. Similarly it's somewhat surprising to see navigation and sports seats aren't standard unless you opt for the Sport model.
On the plus side, there are some clever new systems such as trailer assistance that can automatically reverse trailers in a straight line, or at a preset angle set using the MMI controller.
There are few natural alternatives to the A4 Allroad, the Volvo V60 Cross Country being the most obvious. So the Audi has made a niche for itself. But it's an expensive niche. With prices starting at more than £35,000 it's far from cheap and although not in the same class, the likes of the Skoda Octavia Scout offer something similar for considerably less money.
What does a Audi A4 Allroad (2016) cost?
Audi A4 Allroad (2016): What's It Like Inside?
All A4 Allroad models come with a high-level of standard specification, which is hardly surprising given the price tag. That said, if you want navigation it's only standard on the Allroad Sport which also gets rear privacy glass and front sports seats - things you'd expect to be standard.
That said, there are no quibbles about the quality. The previous A4 was a high quality car but Audi has managed to raise the bar once again with this generation. The A4 Allroad gets a beautifully finished interior that blends a slick design with user-friendliness and cutting edge technology.
Features like the lovely design of the gear lever and the large high resolution screen on the dash make the A4 Allroad feel that extra bit special. Even something as simple as the air conditioning controls feel like they've had a lot of thought put into their design.
One of the best new features is the Audi Virtual Cockpit. First seen in the TT, this replaces the standard analogue dials with a 12.3-inch high resolution LCD display. It's more than just a gimmick though. The screen is customisable and there are different views including one that fills pretty much the whole screen with the navigation. It's impressive stuff but does come at a cost rather than standard.
The driving position is excellent and there's good visibility front and rear, although rear parking sensors come as standard making parking that bit safer. Compared to the previous A4 Allroad, this model also boasts slightly more headroom and should room, which is noticeable for passengers in the back.
There's an electric tailgate as standard which works quickly enough and the boot itself is very practical with a wide opening, no boot lip and vertical sides. Standard boot space is 505 litres and you can drop the rear seats to max it out, but be warned that the luggage cover is a hefty and bulky thing that's hard to remove.
Allroad models come with 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 R17 tyres, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, cruise control with freewheeling capability and speed limiter, raised aluminium roof rails, power tailgate and electric load area cover, deluxe three-zone climate control, Audi drive select with Offroad mode, MMI Radio Plus with Smartphone interface, DAB radio and eight loudspeakers, Pre Sense City, rear parking sensors, keyless go, light and rain sensors, six airbags, three-spoke leather multi function steering wheel and an off-road detection system.
Allroad Sport adds 18-inch alloys with 245/45 R18 tyres, LED headlights and rear LEDs with dynamic indicators, privacy glass from central pillar backwards, Audi Sounds System, MMI Navigation with Audi Connect, front sports seats with twin leather upholstery and an LED interior light package.
Child seats that fit a Audi A4 Allroad (2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi A4 Allroad (2016) like to drive?
- Engines range from 2.0 TDI S tronic to 3.0 TDI 272 Tiptronic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 40–51 mpg
Audi is making much of its new quattro system with ultra technology which makes its debut in the A4 Allroad, describing it as the biggest development in quattro since it was first introduced. That said, the actual off-road element is no different, instead the changes are all about improving fuel economy.
The new quattro system is able to run in purely front-wheel drive when the all-wheel drive system isn't needed, meaning less fuel is used in everyday driving. It essentially turns it into an on-demand system that can switch back to quattro four-wheel drive in a split-second.
The system is cleverly proactive too. So it will run in quattro if it detects low temperatures in anticipation of ice or slippery tarmac. The change to four-wheel drive is not only instantaneous but also imperceptible, so from behind the wheel you won't notice anything. Yet the quattro system is always on hand when needed.
It will be launched in the 2.0 TFSI - which only accounts for a small number of A4 Allroads sold - before being eventually added to the 2.0 TDI and 3.0 TDI models which are far more popular.
In the meantime, those models will use the existing quattro system with a centre differential. This feeds 60 per cent of the power to the rear wheels as standard but can alter this to 85 per cent in favour of the rear when needed.
Both systems work effectively if you do feel the need to venture off-road. Of course the A4 Allroad is no serious SUV, but it does cope surprisingly well on tricky terrain, helped by an off-road setting in the drive select menu. Most owners are unlikely to ever seriously test its off-road capabilities which is for the best as the ride is only 3.4cm higher than a standard A4 Avant.
This A4 Allroad is around 90kg lighter than the previous model which benefits both economy and handling. The steering is nicely weighted and the A4 Allroad, like the Avant it's based in, feels incredibly reassuring through corners, whether at low speeds or high. It's very much at home on the motorway, where it cruises along effortlessly, feeling stable even at Autobahn speeds.
You won't be surprised to find out that the 2.0 TDI engine is the most popular model in the range. With 190PS it has plenty of power but it's the hefty 400Nm of torque that means you're never left wanting for performance. Yes, it's a touch noisy, but good sound insulation means that's not a problem from inside.
What does let it down is the S tronic gearbox. This is Audi's version of the Volkswagen DSG automatic and it tends to be hesitant, particularly when slowing down before going back on the power. It's not particularly good at slow speed manouevres either and can be jerky and unresponsive when trying to reverse, especially on an incline.
That said, economy is decent with a claimed 57.6mpg when fitted with 17-inch wheels. A lower-powered 150PS version of the 2.0 TDI will be introduced later with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 3.0 TDI engine feels far more suited to the refined nature of the A4 Allroad. That's not to say the 2.0 TDI is noisy, but the more powerful 3.0 TDI purrs along beautifully.
The lower powered 218PS 3.0 TDI gets the S tronic gearbox but it works far better in the six-cylinder engine. However, opt for the top of the range 3.0 TDI 272PS model and it comes with the excellent 8-speed tiptronic gearbox, plus economy is still good with a claimed 53.3mpg.
|2.0 TDI S tronic||57–58 mpg||7.8 s||128 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI S tronic||42–44 mpg||6.1 s||147 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 218 S tronic||54–55 mpg||6.6 s||137 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 272 Tiptronic||52–53 mpg||5.5 s||139 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi A4 Allroad (2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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