Back in 2009 Australian tourists in Germany may have noticed an all-new Allroad Audi on many roads in the company’s fatherland. Those Aussies who already owned an Audi A6 Allroad quarto, and were keen on buying a smaller version of their versatile wagon would have seen A4 badges on an all-new Allroad model.
Their eyes would have lit up in anticipation of getting into an A4 Allroad quattro. But their hopes would have been dashed on their return home, when Audi Australia apologised and said the A4 wasn’t on sale here. The reason was simple, in 2009 the A4 Allroad was only sold with a diesel engine and a manual gearbox. European drivers love the added control obtained by using a manual, and also appreciate the fuel savings it can offer.
Down under, most buyers prefer the car to do its own gear changing and in our land of low-cost petrol (true!) saving a few per cent at the pump didn’t really add up to a lot of dollars. The Audi A6 Allroad quattro has been on sale in Australia for more than 10 years and had gathered a loyal brand of followers, so the local importer put pressure on head office to come up with an automatic transmission for the A4.
Long story short; the Audi A4 Allroad quattro is about to go on sale in Australia – with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Audi Australia initially plans to import 150 vehicles and can therefore (almost) justify it as being a limited edition. Just in case imports do cease after that 150 have been retailed it might be worth getting to your local dealer quickly.
Impressively the engine’s official fuel consumption figure is just 6.0 litres per hundred kilometres. That low fuel number pushes it beyond the standard threshold of the Luxury Car Tax, helping Audi Australia to keep the price of the A4 Allroad down to a very reasonable $69,900. This is a considerable saving on the LCT-inflated price of the Audi A6 Allroad quattro.
As in 2009, it’s still only offered with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, but Australian buyers have come to appreciate the high torque and low consumption of these oil-burning engines so that’s no longer a hassle on the sales front. In any case, the A4’s diesel is imported to Australia in its highest state of tune, putting out 130 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque.
On the appearance front the new Audi also makes the grade. The big single-frame radiator grille carries chromed highlights, the body has been raised by almost 40 millimetres - to 180 mm - for better ground clearance. The lower sections of the body are done in a neat two-tone treatment and there are protective grey-coloured plastic wheel arch extensions to add to the sporty look at the same time as they minimise damage.
The rear bumper has a diffuser look. Up top there’s a handy set of roof rails. Obviously the A4 is smaller than the A6, but during our introductory drive program in south-east Queensland we found it had plenty of interior space in the front seats, and that the back seat can be used by adults with a minimum of compromising with those in the front. Children will be fine in the back. Luggage space in the rear of the A4 Allroad is 490 litres, which compares favourably with the A6 Allroad’s 565 litres.
Numerous electronic safety aids help the all-wheel-drive Audi A4 to stay out of trouble both on sealed and unsealed surfaces. Up to eight airbags can be triggered in different stages should an unfortunate driver still manage to get into strife.
Engine performance is excellent, with strong torque at low to midrange revs and we loved the rapid response to the ‘throttle’ and the way it picked up speed to overtake as safely as possible. As is usual in today’s best turbo-diesel engines, the Audi unit was only really recognisable as being a diesel when cold, when there was some clatter, and accelerating hard. Other than that it may well have been a petrol unit. We really like it.
Handling feels nimbler in the A4 Allroad quattro than in the A6 we also tested on the day. The lighter weight obviously helps but the new wagon is aimed at a younger, sportier buyer and its steering and suspension have been tuned to suit.
Not visible, but very much appreciated in the rough, is underfloor protection that means the A4 Allroad quattro can be used in moderate to medium all-road running. This certainly isn’t intended to be a bush basher, but the versatile wagon can go exploring in areas not available to conventional station wagons.
All-in-all the new Audi A4 Allroad is an impressively versatile package that deserves to sell well.
Audi A4 Allroad
Price: from $69,900
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel, 130kW/380Nm
Transmission: 7-speed S-Tronic dual clutch
Audi A6 Allroad
Price: from $117,900
Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 180kW/580Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual clucth, AWD