I recall the first time I saw the first generation Audi Allroad, produced from 1999-2005. I was at the 24 Hours of LeMans race in France, and was immediately taken by this tall wagon with muscular fender flares. It was a brash statement from Audi, and it combined twin-turbo power with an adjustable height air suspension to give lifestylers another choice over the typical SUV and minivan fare.
Audi has wisely resurrected the Allroad name for 2013, but is it the same ute-brute it used to be? The answer is no, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Where the previous gen Allroad was based on the larger A6 platform, this new model sports A4 underpinnings, which means it’s smaller. Gone is the 2.7-liter twin turbo V6, replaced by a direct injection 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder that produces a very respectable 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Also gone are the height adjustable suspension and knobby tires. What remains is the soul of the original Allroad, which left drivers with a feeling that “I do not conform to the norm.”
Audi will no longer import the A4 Avant (wagon), so if you want a smaller wagon from Audi, the Allroad is it. You’ll be pleased though, as the Allroad is just plain gorgeous. The wheel arch flares (a carryover from the first gen model) are integrated nicely into the lower sill, with an aggressive theme of sharp lines defining the lower beltline. It also features an Allroad exclusive “Singleframe” grille with angled upper corners, new headlamp design with freshened LED lighting, circular fog lights, larger side mirrors and stainless steel skid plates and side sills. The Allroad has 27 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row seats up and a spacious 50 cubic feet with the seats folded.
My tester featured the $9,200 “Prestige” package which gives you the LED daytime running lights that Audi created and everyone has copied, adaptive headlights, impressive Bang & Olufsen audio, Audi MMI Plus navigation, auto-dimming interior mirror with compass, auto-dimming exterior mirrors with power fold, power tailgate, three-zone climate control, Audi’s “Advanced Key” system for keyless entry and start, and much more. The $500 “Sport Interior Package” adds front sports seats with four-way lumbar control and a three-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles.
On the road, the Allroad delivers. The turbo four is powerful yet returns decent 20 city/27 highway mpg, thanks in part to the advanced eight speed automatic transmission with “Tiptronic” manual shifting capability. It’s so smooth and forceful you’ll think the original twin-turbo six was still under the hood. Ride quality is excellent and handling superb, thanks in part to Audi’s dynamic five-link front suspension, and trapezoidal link rear axle. And while you can have limited off-road fun with the Allroad, don’t think you can take it out for backwoods adventures, even with the standard quattro all-wheel drive system and enhanced underbody protection. Serious off-roading is simply not the mission of this vehicle. Get Audi’s super Q5 or Q7 if that is your goal.
The mission of the 2013 Allroad is to provide the perfect vehicle for those who live active lifestyles or simply love the super look of this premium sport wagon. At $40,495 base and $50,670 as tested, this is not an inexpensive automobile. But when the Allroad left my driveway, and I missed it, I knew it was worth every penny.