Review: Audi A6 Allroad (2019)

Rating:

Beautifully built with a luxury interior. Very comfortable even on largest wheels thanks to air suspension. Covers long distances effortlessly.

Automatic gearbox with TDI engine is frustratingly slow witted at times.

Audi A6 Allroad (2019): At A Glance

The Audi A6 Allroad follows the well trodden path of its predecessors that puts it part way between estate and SUV. Based on the A6 Avant you get an increased ride height and slightly better ground clearance along with extras such as hill descent control. 

And to make it stand out, there is of course the obligatory wheelarch moulds, extra bits on the bumpers and a rather ugly grille design. That said, Audi has toned all this down since the original Allroad model and many people will be hard pressed to notice the difference between this and a standard A6 Avant. Good thing? We'll let you decide...

Whether many A6 Allroad owner's will be going off-road is another matter, but what the A6 Allroad can do well is tow, with an impressive 2500kg braked towing capacity. It means getting a trailer or caravan off a wet field is much more achievable than in a standard estate.

The adaptive air suspension adjusts the ride height depending on your speed, but all you need to know is that it's very, very comfortable. While the A6 Allroad may not be especially dynamic in corners, you can't argue with how supple and forgiving it is.

Refinement is a strong point with minimal noise of any kind making its way into the cabin on the move. This makes it a very relaxing car for big distances. The interior has masses of space although the big central tunnel in the back means it's a squeeze for three in the back, while the boot is as cavernous as you'd expect.

As for engines, the 45 TDI and 50 TDI use the same 3.0-litre diesel engine, albeit with differing power outputs, but both have a mild-hybrid system, designed to improve fuel economy. 

The 45 TDI should provide more than enough power for most with 231PS and more importantly 500Nm of torque. There is also a petrol in the shape of the 55 TFSI. 

What lets the TDI models down is the Tiptronic eight-speed automatic. It's excellent accelerating with smooth and quick shifts, but it struggles at lower speeds and is unresponsive. It makes dealing with junctions and roundabouts very frustrating. It's this one thing which lets the A6 Allroad down.

The Allroad is expensive compared to standard A6 Avant with a starting price of more than £55,000 and there's still plenty of room for options on top of that.

However, it is cheaper than an equivalent E-Class All-Terrain while other rivals include the Volvo V90 Cross Country and for less money the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and Subaru Outback.

There is a lot to like with the A6 Allroad, The interior quality is impeccable and the A6 has one of the finest cabins around, while the ride is wonderfully smooth. This is a car that's very much at home covering big motorway miles. If you can live with the hesitant gearbox, it's an excellent rugged estate.

What does a Audi A6 Allroad (2019) cost?

List Price from £54,555
Buy new from £46,967
Contract hire from £580.78 per month

Audi A6 Allroad (2019): What's It Like Inside?

We're real fans of the interior used in bigger Audi models - both the design and the quality. The A6 Allroad is beautifully finished inside with the twin touchscreens meaning a button-free and minimalist design.

The two screens control all the main functions with the climate control shown on the lower display. This also has haptic feedback, which means you have to press the screen until it 'clicks' although we think a standard touchscreen is actually easier.

The large 10-inch screen above controls everything else and it's easy to use with clear menus and an attractive layout. Navigation is standard as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It's a shame that the Virtual Cockpit is only available as part of the £1500 Technology Pack.

There's lots of space inside and the driving position is excellent, low slung but with plenty of adjustment in both the seat height and steering column. That said, shorter drivers may find it tricky to judge the front end of the bonnet. Fortunately, both front and rear parking sensors are standard fit along with a rearview camera.

Space in the back is just as good with plenty of knee room and head space, even for those over six feet tall. The central tunnel is very wide though and means you won't be able to get three adults in the back, although the centre seat is fine for younger chidren in a car seat.

The fact it is close to five metres long means plenty of boot space too with 565 litres behind the back seats although that's some way short of the 640 litres in the E-Class All-Terrain. It's still a useful space of course with rear seats that split 40/20/20 and a rail system with straps, a net and bag hooks all standard. There's also an electric tailgate.

Standard equipment includes Audi's clever Matrix beam LED headlights that keep the main beam on, but avoids dazzling other road users by adjusting the pattern of the beam. You also get electrically adjustable front heated seats and heat insulated glass.

Standard equipment from launch:

Sport models get 19-inch x 10-spoke dynamic design, cast aluminum alloy wheels, air suspension, electronically controlled air suspension, Audi Matrix LED headlights with dynamic rear indicators – a direct evolution of Audi’s LED headlights, Signature front LED daytime-running light and rear LED light design, blade front spoiler and underbody protection front and rear in aluminium look, wheel arch trims and side sill in scandium grey, aluminium look roof rails, exterior mirrors electrically adjustable, heated and folding, with memory, privacy glass (side and rear windows), standard seats with twin leather, electrically adjustable front seats with memory function for the driver’s side, power-adjustable lumbar support in front seats, sport leather steering wheel with multifunction and shift paddles, LED Interior Ambient Lighting Pack, power operated tailgate, cruise control system with speed limiter, parking System Plus (front and rear sensors), rear-view camera, Keyless go and lane departure warning.

Vorsprung models add 21-inch Audi Sport cast aluminium wheels in 5-twin-spoke design, HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light, Audi Beam, panoramic glass sunroof, power door closure, electric steering column, extended leather pack, head-up display, Technology Pack, Tour Pack and the City Assist Pack.

Child seats that fit a Audi A6 Allroad (2019)

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.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Audi A6 Allroad (2019) like to drive?

The majority of models are powered by the same V6 3.0-litre TDI engine. The more expensive 50 TDI is effortlessly quick thanks to 286PS and a hefty 620Nm of torque, which means in gear acceleration is just mightily impressive.

But the 45 TDI is our pick. It may 'only' have 231PS and 500Nm of torque, but it provides more than adequate performance in everyday driving and is considerably cheaper than the 50 TDI.

Both diesels are fitted with a mild-hybrid system, designed to improve fuel economy. Braking energy is harvested and stored in a separate 10Ah lithium-ion battery. This power is then used to restart the engine after coasting or when the start-stop function kicks in.

There is also a petrol in the shape of the 55 TFSI. With a 340PS 3.0-litre engine it's the fastest model, covering 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds but it's also thirsty.

What lets the A6 Allroad down is the standard eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox. Acceleration in a straight line is fine, but if you want to pull away quickly, there's a delay before drive is engaged.

Worse still is when you slow down, for example when approaching a roundabout, and then ask it to accelerate again. The second or two delay can seem like a lifetime before it suddenly springs to life, propelling you with more speed than you want. It makes it very frustrating to drive.

The A6 Allroad's forte is certainly comfort. Thanks to the standard fit adaptive air suspension, it's a very smooth car to travel in, filtering out the noise and vibration caused by poor road surfaces and the even bigger potholes.

The air suspension cleverly adjusts the ride height according to speed (and what driving mode you're in). You can increase the ride height from the standard 139mm to the maximum 184mm at speeds up to 22mph, at which point it automatically lowers again. The suspension also self levels which is handy if you're towing or have a bootful of stuff.

On the motorway the Allroad a very relaxing car to travel in, feeling reassuring at higher speeds, even in wet and windy conditions. Above 74mph the ride height lowers itself automatically by 15mm, meaning better stability and fuel economy. 

Thankfully, that's not at the detriment of handling and the A6 Allroad is one of better handling cars if its ilk. Compared to a V90 Cross Country it grips better in corners with less body roll. That said, it has its limits and you only have to carry a little too much speed into a bend before you're met with noticeable lean.

Then there's the progressive steering which has little in the way of natural feel. However, you can at least increase its weight using the driving modes. The Individual mode allows you to tailor different elements so you can have dynamic steering with the engine and gearbox in their standard setting. 

High-spec Vorsprung models get four-wheel steering as standard. This turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction at lower speeds, resulting in a tighter turning circle. At higher speeds, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction, the idea being to improve stability. It works well but we wouldn't necessarily pay the extra for the Vorsprung model because of it.