"The A4 allroad quattro brings some off-road ability to the A4 line up – but thanks to its relatively compact dimensions, it's easier to drive than a full-sized 4x4."
The four-wheel-drive A4 allroad quattro is a chunky looking car that blends the practicality of the A4 Avant executive estate and the traction of a 4x4. It gets jacked-up suspension and Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system. It's only available as an estate, and offers just three engine choices. Neither BMW nor Mercedes-Benz offer direct competitors, but the Subaru Legacy Outback and Saab 9-3X offer similar appeal.
The A4 allroad's 4x4 set up does little to detract from the car's ability on the road; from behind the wheel it feels similar to a regular A4 Avant. Thanks to the tall suspension, you get a better view of the road ahead, but there's a touch more body roll in the bends. The allroad's suspension is better than the regular car's for providing pothole-smothering smoothness. This model is aimed at those who regularly tow caravans or heavy trailers across muddy terrain, so the A4 allroad is best with a manual gearbox. There are only three engines available - 2.0 and 3.0 TDI diesels and a 2.0 TFSI turbo petrol. The 2.0 TDI is the biggest seller by a significant margin, thanks to its ample performance and excellent economy, as well as the fact it's the cheapest model in the range.
If comfort is measured by the spacious and beautifully finished high-quality interior, then the A4 allroad quattro is at the top of the class. Multi-adjustable seats provide plenty of support and excellent long-distance comfort. The A4 allroad is superior to the Volvo XC70 for comfort, and the interior quality eclipses that of the Subaru Legacy Outback.
Because the A4 allroad quattro only sells in small numbers, it's hard to judge its reliability. However, our test drives have proved the car to be very robust. The Audi A4 ranked 29th out of 100 for reliability in the 2010 Driver Power survey.
The A4 allroad quattro has a spacious and practical interior. It's easy to climb in and out of, and passenger space is good. Rear legroom is generous compared to its rivals. As with the standard A4 Avant, Audi offers a range of useful load retention bars and straps as an option, which is handy for keeping your shopping or luggage in place in the large boot. The rear seats fold, but they don’t lie completely flat, which means sliding large items in and out can be tricky.
Value for money
The A4 allroad quattro is an expensive luxury, as its off-road ability and chunky looks add significantly to its list price when compared to the standard A4 Avant. Even the entry level models are priced above the Audi Q5 SUV. When compared to the competition, it's also more expensive than its Volvo and Subaru rivals - although the Audi badge means it won’t depreciate as much.
You’ll pay more for the allroad than an A4 Avant, and your additional investment won’t necessarily be recouped when you come to sell it. Depreciation is high, as the A4 allroad's niche appeal means buyers are few and far between. The 2.0 TDI diesel is the biggest seller thanks to its excellent economy and entry-level pricing, but if you can afford the extra fuel needed to run the 3.0 TDI diesel, then it's worth it for the additional performance.