New Generation of the A6 Avant-based soft-roader
Audi sold just enough of the previous version A6 Allroad to justify keeping the model on life support. We predicted that Audi would be inclined to ax the model since they now have their gargantuan Q7 SUV to compete with the upcoming new BMW X5 and Meredes Benz GL, however, Audi is big enough to handle the other customers who may fall from the market seams. Economically built alongside the other variants of the A6 in Neckarslum, the Allroad can target the smaller SUV buying public who neither needs the size of the bigger road whales, nor want to pay for their heft price tags. The profile of these buyers are upper echelon road goers who need the large boot space, frequently travel long distances with no more than 4 people, and need modest off road capability to get to their favorite picnic ground or enclave for fly fishing. Beware Volvo XC90, XC70, and Mercedes ML class!
What made the old Allraod appealing was that the 2.7-liter V6 twin turbo was on the option list and it looked rough and gruff on the outside while still opulent on the inside. The new car though is vastly more elegant and refined. We got to test the new Allroad when it was launched in Merano, Italy while James Deakin and I had our usual misadventures. We drove in an S4 from Germany through the Alps and into Shangri-La. What a perfect place to launch the vehicle, you had snow capped mountains surrounding the tiny city with flowers bursting everywhere (not enough to compensate for James’ feet, however!) in the warm but still crisp air. We tested the 3.0-liter TDI with the 6-speed manual and the 3.0-liter FSI with the 6-speed Tiptronic. Trim was identical. In fact, Audi has packaged their new model with so much bang fir the buck as standard equipment that even in the base model 2.7-liter diesel, you have 85% of the equipment intact. The fully adjustable air suspension is standard across the board, but the ESP, just like in the Q7, cannot be disengaged.
I’m now a fan of diesels and Audi has raised the bar with its combination of power, fuel economy and refinement, but their 3.2-liter FSI engine is just so sweet to deny attention. In Europe, the diesels are clearly going to outsell their gasoline brethren though. The Audi engineers emphasized during the preceding conference that they concentrated on removing noise pollution in the cabin particularly for sustained motorway cruising at 130km/h, as we tested the claim and we can concur that the Allroad’s cabin is a fabulously comfortable place to be in, until our entire cache of chocolate covered coffee beans dispersed throughout the cabin, wrecking the tranquility! We spent the next hour cleaning every last bean! Anyhow, the taunt Allroad drove solidly through all the conditions we had available which included trailing in someone’s vineyard off the beaten path. Acceleration across the powerband was very strong, besting the Mercedes ML350 and the handling was fantastic, easily equating the current BMW X5 3.0i while offering more comfort and kit than both. When we did go off road, we raised the height by 2.5” and easily cleared our rocky obstacles. The MMI terminal that controls everything that can be trimmed in the car, can adjust the height in increments. This car should be sold in the Philippines; it does it all.