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Driven: Audi boosts wagon with A4 Allroad

Halfway house: The Audi A4 Allroad is neither an SUV nor a regular wagon, and it shares the characteristics of both.

Audi’s high-riding A4 Allroad wagon adds valuable volume to Avant bottom line

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Audi logo16 Sep 2016

By TIM ROBSON

AUDI Australia was so unsure about how the first-generation Audi A4 Allroad wagon would be received back in 2012, it ordered just 150 diesel examples – and all of them were snapped up in record time.

Since then, the high-riding wagon has joined the roster on a full-time basis, adding incremental volume to Audi’s A4 Avant wagon sales.

Audi Australia senior product planning executive Peter Strudwicke told journalists at the car’s launch in Queensland that the first-generation car – launched globally in 2009 but only sold in Australia from 2012 – was initially only a “toe in the water” exercise, but a rise in the company’s wagon sales made the call on the new B9-series an easier one.

“Obviously, there was some substitution between Allroad and Avant, but overall the total number of vehicles sold is higher than if we had just one or the other,” he said. “The decision to bring the B9 version of the Allroad to Australia made a lot of sense to us.” The B8 Allroad was considered at the time of its 2009 launch, but was rejected because of the lack of an automatic diesel drivetrain.

“With the manual transmission, the volumes would have been too small to justify for this market,” said Mr Strudwicke.

The mid-cycle update in 2012 resulted in the 130kW TDi being paired with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and Audi Australia took 150 units, which sold so quickly Audi decided to add it as a full-time variant.

“Even though the (B8) A4 was at the end of its life cycle, we still managed to improve A4 sales,” said Mr Strudwicke. “It was interesting how well it did, considering how late the car was in the cycle.” Audi Australia has sold 674 A4 Allroads since its launch in 2012, versus 1000 regular Avants. By dropping the sales figures from 2012, however (61 Allroads and 224 Avants), the gap between the two variants closes markedly the Avant has only outsold the Allroad by 161 units over three and a half years.

The A4 Allroad will initially be offered as a variant not sold before in Australia, which is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine matched to a seven-speed DSG gearbox, at $74,400 before on-road costs.

It will be joined by the more popular – and cheaper – 2.0-litre turbo-diesel that goes on sale in November, and will cost $71,400. This is $600 cheaper than the outgoing model and includes what Audi is claiming as $3000 of extra value.

The petrol engine variant will produce 185kW and 370Nm, and will return 6.7L per 100km on the combined fuel economy cycle, which is under the luxury car exemption threshold of 7.0 L/100km. It produces 155 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

It will sprint to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds and onto a top speed of 246km/h.

The diesel makes 140kW and 400Nm, consumes 5.2L/100km and emits 138g CO2/km. Its 0-100km/h time is 7.8s.

With 173mm of ground clearance, the A4 Allroad stands 34mm higher than a regular A4 Avant, and 27mm lower than a Q5.

“This car is one of our real all-rounders,” said Mr Strudwicke. “It’s a good size that has the versatility of an Avant but with extra ability.” The A4 Allroad is based on the same MLB platform as the A4 sedan and wagon, and differs from the regular load-lugger by dint of its ride height and additional trim pieces. Front and rear bumpers, underbody protection, plastic overfenders and integrated skirts, roof rail and rear diffuser trim are unique to the Allroad.

At 4750mm long, 1842mm wide and 1493mm high, it is almost identical in stature to the Avant, save for its extra 23mm of ride height.

Five-link rear and multi-link front suspension units are carried over from the Avant, with taller springs added to increase its ride height.

The petrol variant has also inherited the enhanced quattro all-wheel-drive system first seen on the Q7, which allows the rear axles and propshaft to completely disconnect from the gearbox via two clutch packs on the driveline. Where previous systems would decouple drive, none would actually ‘freewheel’ when no drive was being sent to the rear.

Audi claims it is 4.4kg lighter than the previous system. It can only be used on cars with longitudinally mounted engines, however.

Audi says the B9 Allroad is 80kg lighter than its predecessor, thanks to its new MLB platform and weight reductions on the body-in-white structure, including an alloy tailgate, cast alloy suspension mounts up front, and alloy mounts for rear tailgate, along with a greater use of magnesium alloy.

The A4 Allroad is offered with 18-inch alloys, adaptive LED headlights with dynamic indicators, satellite naviagation, sports seats, digital radio, hands-free tailgate, 7.0-inch and 8.3 MMI screens and leather interior.

Active swerve collision avoidance, optional active matrix headlights, cross traffic detection and LED warning lights on the doors to prevent collisions with passing cyclists are a few of the Allroad’s safety features, as well as multi-collision brake, automatic emergency braking up to 85km/h, an active bonnet, pedestrian detect, parking system plus and cross-traffic alert.

An off-road mode in the Driver Select system can loosen the A4’s traction control on gravel, and also tune the ABS to build a ‘ramp’ of loose material in front of the tyres to slow the car faster. It also has hill descent up to 30km/h.

A trio of option packages are available, including the Technik Pack that offers a heads-up display and virtual cockpit for $2200, while the Parking Assistance package offers a 360-degree camera and auto parking for $950.

The Assistance Package Tour, finally, nets active lane assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go including traffic jam assistant and distance indicator, turn assist, pre-sense front – provides extended collision warnings up to the maximum vehicle speed, collision avoidance assist and high beam assist for $1900. 2016 Audi A4 Allroad pricing*
2.0 TDI quattro (a) $71,400
2.0 TFSI quattro (a) $74,400
*Excludes on-road costs

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