Audi A6 Allroad review
The Audi A6 Allroad is a rugged estate car that offers something different to the traditional SUV
The Audi A6 Allroad goes head to head with the Volvo XC70 and offers buyers something that can tackle mild off-roading without sacrificing a car-like driving experience. Based on the latest A6 Avant, the current allroad is lighter than its predecessor, but due to the quattro four-wheel drive hardware and the sheer size of the car its weight is still approaching two tonnes with a couple of passengers on board. Turn into a corner and you can feel the extra weight, plus more bodyroll thanks to the the taller suspension. The pay-off though is a cushioned ride from the air-suspension, which can raise the car's body automatically in allroad mode. One petrol engine - a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 - is offered, but we'd go for one of a trio of 3.0-litre V6 diesels.
Our choice: A6 Allroad 3.0 TDI
Engines, performance and drive
Four-mode air-suspension delivers a wonderfully comfortable ride, while Audi's Drive Select system gets an extra 'allroad' mode which raises the ride height for gentle off-roading. On the road you can feel the allroad's extra bulk in the corners, body roll is more pronounced and the steering is quite vague around the straight-ahead, particularly in comfort mode. That said, the allroad is still a satisfying car to drive with grip to spare in almost any weather condition. The only petrol option is a 306bhp supercharged V6, although Audi's 3.0-litre V6 diesel comes in three states of tune - 202bhp, 242bhp and 309bhp - the latter with twin turbochargers. The 242bhp diesel is predicted to be the biggest seller and provides plenty of performance, taking care of the 0-62mph sprint in 6.6 seconds. The twin-clutch gearbox is very smooth though and the grip on tarmac is impressive. Although it's called the allroad, it doesn't have the ground clearance or low-range gearing as a proper high-riding SUV.
MPG, CO2 and running costs
The A6 Allroad has stop-start and brake energy recovery systems as standard, which help the 242bhp model return 44.8mpg and emit 165g/km of CO2. The most efficient version though is the 202bhp 3.0-litre TDI, which returns 46.4mpg and emits 159g/km. Being an Audi, and a large one at that, servicing and parts will cost above average but residual values will be rock solid, especially considering the allroad's relative rarity. Still, this model is siginificantly more expensive than the standard Quattro estate. What's more, it's easy to add another £10,000 to the purchase price if you get too carried away with the vast options list.
Interior, design and technology
The Allroad makeover is marginally more subtle this time around. There's grey cladding around the wheel arches. The cladding has been reduced when compared to the previous model, and you can also have them colour-coded to the bodywork at no extra cost. There's also stainless steel underbody guards at the front and rear plus a unique set of alloy wheels. The interior is beautifully designed and built and comes trimmed in Milano leather as standard. All Allroad models get bespoke badging and satellite navigation across the range.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
The A6 Allroad is wider and longer than the car it replaces, so there's plenty of space inside. The 565-litre boot swells to 1,860-litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down - that's more than a BMW X5. The allroad is also 15mm taller than the standard A6 Avant, thanks to the raised suspension, which can make the car easier to load. There's plenty of headroom to play with in the front and back. The relatively low ground clearance and fat road tyres mean the Audi is not as accomplished off-road as a similiarly priced Land Rover Discovery while we think the Volvo XC70 could probably give it a run for its money too.
Reliability and Safety
The quattro four-wheel-drive system isn't all about tackling muddy paths and rutted lanes, it provides more stable and secure handling on the road in bad weather conditions too. It also features a raft of hi-end safety technology, such as radar-based cruise control, to always keep you the proper distance from the car in front, and Lane Keep Assist to keep you the right side of the white lines. However, most of this equipment is an extra cost option. Even so, the standard A6 Avant gets a five star rating from Euro NCAP so it should protect its occupants very well should you have an accident.