THE high-riding Audi A4 Allroad quattro is now available in Australia for the first time, launching simultaneously with the larger but conceptually similar A6 version and priced at $69,900 plus on-road costs.
However, prospective buyers had better get in fast, with Audi limiting local supply to just 150 units, all powered by the regular A4's 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine and matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Although the wagon was launched in Europe in manual form in 2009, Audi Australia steered clear until it could source it with an automatic transmission, and until its Q5 SUV was better established on the market.
The company says the first 150 units are a toe in the water exercise, and claims the exclusivity will appeal to target customers who want something outside the norm.
GoAuto understands the local subsidiary had an easier time making the business case for a limited run of cars than offering the vehicle as a regular model, although the company says factory supply is not an issue, despite strong global demand from Europe and the US.
With a monthly sales target of about 20 units, the local allocation is expected to be sold out by the middle of next year – supply will be staggered – but Audi has not ruled out bringing in more units, albeit with a different level of specification.
The starting price makes the all-wheel-drive Allroad $9000 more expensive than the regular front-drive A4 wagon with the same engine, or $2400 dearer than the regular petrol-powered 2.0 TFSI Avant quattro – the only other all-wheel-drive A4 wagon on sale.
For the outlay over the regular A4 wagon, buyers get extras such as 37mm more ground clearance – 180mm all up when unloaded – wider wheel track (19mm front/23mm rear) and an off-road driving program that identifies the road surface and adjusts the stability control accordingly.
Externally, the Allroad gets stainless silver roof rails and front/rear underbody cladding for protection off the beaten path, plus signature flared wheel arches as found on its A6 sibling.
In launching the A4 Allroad and its larger A6 cousin – two previous generations of which have been sold here previously – Audi has brought the number of crossover and SUV models in its Australian fleet to five, with the others being the Q3, Q5 and Q7.
Closest in size is the Q5 quattro, which retails for $62,200 when powered by a similarly powerful 2.0 TDI engine – $7700 cheaper than the lower A4 Allroad.
Audi claims the Allroad models attract a different sort of buyer to its 'Q' range, and pitch the A4 as an alternative for those who don't want a full-fat SUV.
The 2.0-litre TDI engine produces 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque directed via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic to all four wheels. The quattro mechanical AWD system has 40:60 rear-wheel bias, and can send up to 85 per cent of torque to the rear axle if required.
Audi claims a standing sprint time of 8.1 seconds to 100km/h, and combined-cycle fuel consumption of 6.0 litres per 100km.
Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, a seven-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and rear-view parking camera, Bluetooth, 10-speaker sound system, a tyre pressure monitor and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Luggage capacity with the rear seats in place is 490 litres, and can be increased to 1430 litres and a length of 1780mm by folding them flat, while the loading area is 1000mm wide between the arches.
Underneath is the same fuel-saving electromechanical power-steering system introduced to the facelifted A4 range earlier this year, 314mm front/300mm rear disc brakes, and aluminium multi-link front and rear suspension.