Long Term Update – Spring Fling
The month of May came and went so fast it seems we hardly had a moment to stop and catch a breath, but our allroad never skipped a beat. Not that we’re surprised that we did not have any major mechanical or other issues in a new car with less than 15,000 miles, we’re pleased that other than the tip lever problem, we have had ZERO issues with this car. This allroad is proving to be a most awesome car to live with day in and day out.
No question we’re in love with the car, and have come to relish days when we can take the long way home after a full day at the office. The allroad loves flexing its muscles every chance it gets, and makes the most of the grip from the fat summer tires we have mounted up.
We took the longest of our planned trips in May, when we drove to Carlisle PA for the Import and Kit Nationals. This event is absolutely worth the drive, especially for an Audi fan, as the turnout was incredible, with many very nicely kept vintage Audi models, including some truly unique cars. Carlisle is so much more than only Audi though, with many other brands being well represented. Check out our photo gallery from Carlisle here.
At around 550 miles, the drive from Vermont To Carlisle is on the longer side of what we would consider a “day trip”, but it is so worth the time. We were able to enjoy what is becoming a great tradition prior to the show at the Carlisle Fairgrounds, the “4 Ring Breakfast” at Audi Mechanicsburg. For an Audi enthusiast, this event is hard to beat, since it takes place at a beautiful and modern Audi dealership, and attracts most of the Audi participants who will ultimately show their cars at the Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals, so there is plenty of eye candy, as well as delicious breakfast.
As expected, the allroad was superb transportation for this trip. We averaged 29mpg for the trip, and we weren’t exactly driving gently. The sport seats are nicely supportive on long hauls, though there are times when a little softness might be nice, such as in the 8th hour of a 9 hour road trip. As time goes by, we’re finding that the car is becoming more comfortable as the seats, and indeed the rest of the car, are breaking in. We’re finding that it is becoming “ours”, something that we normally don’t get to experience with the normal weekly press loans. We’re finding pure joy in keeping our allroad spotless, and after long hours on the road, we love making sure the allroad glistens.
At Carlisle we had the chance to chat with Audi enthusiasts about the new allroad, and overall it seems to us that the true mission of the car is understood amongst Audi fans. There are some who still feel that the original allroad is the “real deal”, while the A4 based allroad doesn’t quite match up to the original. The smaller and less powerful 4 cylinder engine, and the non-height adjustable suspension essentially the only differences that we kept hearing about though, and while we agree that the height adjustable suspension on the Ur allroad did add a lot of cool factor to the experience, it also added a lot of weight and complexity to the car, and frankly we don’t feel it’s necessary at all. Yes it’s true that the height adjustable allroad has an inch of extra clearance than the steel sprung A4 allroad, but we honestly don’t think it’s that big of a deal, since we reckon the vast majority of allroads never leave the pavement.
Keep in mind, it is not that we don’t like the height adjustable suspension and larger, more eager engine of the Ur allroad, and indeed the currently not available in the USA A6 based allroad, but rather, we think the steel sprung A4 allroad with the 2 liter 4 banger is just fine, perfect for almost all of our driving needs. And with the intimate knowledge of the woes of many Ur allroads related to the air suspension, we are content in knowing this allroad will never be found sitting on deflated air springs.
Yes, there is that small percentage of driving where an extra 100 horses (or more) and height adjustable suspension would be nice to have, but lets face it, in this day and age of $4 gas, and ever increasing traffic and speed traps, that small percentage where you can actually USE the extra 100 horses is shrinking. In reality, if this allroad belonged to us, we’d be content to enjoy it for what it has to offer out of the box. Or, we might consider ringing up one of the various tuning companies, to see what they have to offer in terms of software tuning for this engine.
But we will remain content with the allroad in stock trim, because it just works so well as is. Even with our bikes on the Thule Sidearm roof racks, and a trunk full of gear, the allroad never feels down on power. Much like our first encounter with the car in high altitude Colorado, the harder you push the allroad the better it gets, and it never quits giving.
Aside from our road trip and car show events, we used the allroad for hauling our mountain bikes. Using the base Thule AeroBlade rack system we talked about earlier in our series, we added a pair of Thule SideArms to the package. The Sidearm is great for mountain bikes, mainly because you don’t have to remove the front tire, which is handy for bikes with disc brakes, and also because you don’t have to put your muddy front wheel somewhere inside the car. Also nice is that the only contact the rack makes with your bike is at the tires, yet it is very solid and stable even at highway speeds.
As we approach 15,000 miles with our allroad, we’re gearing up for a busy summer. June and July will be very busy for us. We’ve got 2 special day trips planned, as well as Waterfest at the end of July, and Wolfsgart, the following weekend.