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2017 Audi A4 Allroad Overview
The A4 Allroad is aimed at people who appreciate the virtues of both SUVs and traditional station wagons, combining the smaller external dimensions of a regular car with the added ride height and light off-road capability of a crossover. Unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, the 2017 version of the Allroad marks the second-generation of the A4-based model, and will be available in European markets this summer before making its way to U.S. showrooms some time later in the year.
The original Audi Allroad of the early 2000s was an ambitious, complex model that gained a reputation both for breaking a lot and for being catastrophically expensive to fix. Engines, transmissions, and suspension routinely failed, but the A4-based version that has been offered since 2009 has been a much better car to own, helping save face for the Allroad name. The new 2017 version follows the same philosophy of taking a standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) wagon and making it a bit more capable off road. Visually, it’s distinguished from a regular A4 Avant wagon by its larger wheels (17 inches are standard, with 19-inch wheels optional), higher ride height, flared matte-finished fenders, altered rear bumper, silver underbody guard plates, roof rails, and special air intakes. Otherwise, it’s quite similar to the current A4.
As usual, the European market gets a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines that produce anywhere from 150 to 272 hp, while the American market will likely just get the 2.0-liter turbocharged four that’s already in the A4, producing 250 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Transmissions include a 6-speed manual, a 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch, or an 8-speed Tiptronic--though it’s unclear if the U.S. will get all three. An engine stop-start function comes standard, and can actually deactivate the engine while moving at less than 5 mph when it detects that the car is approaching a traffic light or other prolonged stop. At 3,483 pounds, the 2017 A4 Allroad is also a bit lighter than the model it replaces, so expect it to better the previous generation’s already decent 24 combined mpg.
The 2017 A4 Allroad rides a full 1.3 inches higher than the standard car thanks to chunkier tires and a slight lift. It 5-link suspension is mounted front and rear and features damper control, which monitors all four wheels and adapts damper stiffness accordingly. The driver can also combat different road (or off-road) conditions thanks to a new version of Audi’s “Drive Select” system, which adds “offroad” to the usual driving modes: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, and individual. While the “offroad” setting will be useful for taking you a little bit further along the beach or to a reasonably accessible campsite, the A4 Allroad is still a car-based vehicle and probably isn’t a good choice for any kind of terrain that you wouldn’t feel comfortable tackling in a similarly equipped Subaru. And because the only powerplant likely available on the new Allroad is a relatively small 4-cylinder, the optional pivoting trailer hitch won’t be hooked up to anything larger than a compact camping trailer.
With the rear seats, the 2017 Allroad offers 17.8 cubic feet of storage space, or 53.3 cubic feet with those seats folded down. A power tailgate comes standard, making that storage space a little more accessible. The rest of the interior features the same impressive level of fit and finish that drivers have come to expect from Audi. Notable new features include an inductive phone charger, a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound and 19 speakers, and an optional Audi virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch display screen that replaces the traditional gauge setup. A newly designed voice control system is also featured.
As for safety, buyers can expect the same as with the normal A4, which includes exit warning, adaptive cruise control, trailer-maneuver assist, park assist, and traffic-jam assist. The 2016 model received 5 out of 5 stars overall in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests.
The A4 Allroad is little more than a jacked-up station wagon, but it’s a concept that has resonated with buyers--even those who will never encounter more treacherous terrain than a snowy driveway. The second-generation 2017 A4 Allroad has taken that concept and given it realistic improvements, providing a more interesting and better-driving alternative to the endless stream of crossover SUVs on the market.
Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.
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