Audi allroad quattro

"allroad" is new nomenclature for Audi. Like "quattro," its not capitalized. This name adorns a car based on their existing A6 Avant though with a significant addition of equipment that differentiates it from its siblings.

Like all other offerings in this class, the allroad looks the part with bold charcoal fender flares and bumper mouldings. This unpainted compound material is much less prone to scratching by branches and brush making it quite functional as well. Brushed aluminum lower door accents and roof rails are purely for show, but look excellent and show off the car's up-market strategy.

Our allroad came with new 17-inch 5-spoke wheels that make use of a new twin-spoke design. While very handsome, these wheels proved difficult to clean properly and appeared as if the gaps between the twin spokes might play as a catch for ice and snow when driving in foul weather. It's important to note though that we did not have the allroad in this sort of weather to verify this assumption. These unique new alloys are shod with 225 55 17 tires that are made specifically for the allroad with the intention of having both on and off-road prowess.

Under the hood of the allroad is Audi's formidable 2.7T biturbo V6. This engine, also found in the Audi S4, boasts 250-horsepower at 5800rpm and 258lbs. of torque at a low 1850 rpm. This engine sports 5-valves per cylinder (three inlet valves and two sodium cooled exhaust valves), variable valve timing and variable intake manifold that all combine to bestow it with such a flexible torque curve.

In Europe a TDI diesel version of the allroad is also offered, though this variation has not made it to North America due to our lower quality diesel fuel and corporate emissions standards. Though Audi does offer many engines in the A6, from 4-cylinders up to the 4.2-liter V8, these engines have not yet made it into the allroad as the hybrid's market potential is still being gauged.

The allroad came to market originally with Audi's 5-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, though the 6-speed manual similar to the one found in the A6 2.7T is planned for later this year. Models equipped with the Tiptronic transmission also come with transmission upshift/downshift buttons mounted F1-style on the steering wheel that proved effective in spirited driving.

Power is transferred to the ground via Audi's venerable quattro system. This all-wheel-drive system started it all, and in its current state makes use of a Torsen self-locking center differential between the front and rear axles that allows for diversion of up to two-thirds of the engine's power to be diverted to the front or the back. Current versions of quattro also make use of an electronic differential lock (EDL) that allows the Audi to maintain forward momentum even with only a single tire having sufficient grip.

With frontward and rearward progression covered by the quattro system, Audi chose to cover side-to-side control through the use of ESP (Bosch's Electronic Stability Program). This system uses data from the ABS, EDL and traction control (ASR) systems to assess the allroad's dynamic stability and takes action automatically if the vehicle threatens to slide from the intended line. The system counteracts oversteer by applying the outer front-wheel brake to the degree necessary and in the case of understeer, the inner rear wheel brake is applied. A dash-mounted button allows the driver to disengage the ESP system for more spirited driving.

Perhaps the most significant component of the allroad is its new dashboard-adjustable suspension system. This electronically controlled system makes use of an air bladder to raise and lower the car for variable ground clearance. Key components of the system include an air compressor unit and the electronic control system, both of which are installed at the rear of the allroad. The pneumatic suspension, unlike anything else on the market, has four distinct ride heights. Level 1 is set for highway and spirited driving with a clearance of 5.6-inches (142mm). Level 2, designed for urban driving, is set to 6.6-inches (167mm) and Level 3, at 7.6-inches (192mm), is for moderate off-road driving. The highest setting, at 8.2-inches (208mm) is for the most serious off-road applications, matching full-on sport-utes like the Land Rover Discovery and beating the BMW X5.

Audi remains unofficial king of interiors. High-quality aluminum trim and wood adorn the dashboard and side panels. Plush two-tone leather adorns the seats, differentiating it from the typical A6 Avant. Audi's red and white dashboard backlighting is much easier on the eyes than its previous all-red setup and quite likeable indeed. The allroad offers plenty of gadgetry as well including a backlit compass in the auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated steering wheel and heated seating for four passengers with different levels of heat to both the back and the gluteus maximus. All switches and surface areas within the allroad exude quality and this is where Audi sets itself apart from almost all of its competitors.

Our Atlas Gray allroad weighed in at a healthy $41,900 for the base car. This particular car included several options including Tiptronic automatic transmission ($1000), Glass Sunroof ($1000), 17" 5-spoke wheels ($950), Premium Package ($900), Convenience Package ($800) and BOSE premium sounds system ($750). The Premium Package included technical wizardry such as Xenon headlights, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, electric folding exterior mirrors, and memory seat and exterior mirror settings, while the Convenience Package contained heated front and rear seats, Homelink remote transmitter and heated multi-function steering wheel. With all of these options that come on almost every allroad found on the market, the allroad came to sticker price of $47,500 including destination charge.

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