The clever estate
So you live out in the sticks but the roads never deteriorate enough to warrant a wonky 4×4. Perhaps you already have such a vehicle and long for a decent station wagon. Maybe the one you fancy is a butch estate which can also deal with a nasty middelmannetjie. This car could be Audi’s new A4 Allroad.
In all fairness, I should also advise that you take a good look at Volvo’s excellent V40 Cross Country which I reviewed earlier this month. And if we stray slightly from the beefed-up estate genre, your shortlist may also include Subaru’s Forester and a whole horde of trendy Mommy 4×4’s.
…a whole horde of trendy Mommy 4×4’s.
To be even more fair, I’ll have to draw some comparisons between this German and the Scandinavian effort because I did just that in the latter’s review. For starters, the Audi only comes in two models with Quattro four-wheel-drive. Volvo offers you many versions of its car of which only the range topper is 4×4.
Price-wise, the Swedish selection ends before the Germans begin. Although some V40 Cross Country models have superior specifications, the easiest explanation for the Audi’s premium is its extra space. The Allroad looks and feels bigger, trumping its rival in almost every measurable dimension.
Right now you probably expect me to give praise to and worship Audi’s build quality but you’d be wrong. Yes, it’s excellent, but I think the Volvo is very close and thus offers better value for money. Both interiors have their own take on simplistic perfection, the Audi’s infotainment system being a little more intuitive.
Both cars offer superb ergonomics and leave little for you to discover or get used to – top marks all around as this keeps your focus on the road. I had some Bluetooth syncing issues with the Volvo but suspect that the problem may lie with my over-toothed mobile phone.
Audi also offers a more sprightly and thirsty TSi turbo-petrol model…
The Allroad TDi’s 2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder is comparable to Volvo’s D4 at 130kW (177hp) and 380Nm, both cars hit 100km/h in about 8 seconds and max out at 210km/h. Audi also offers a more sprightly and thirsty TSi turbo-petrol model with 165kW (224hp) and 350Nm.
Both Allroad iterations are only offered with Audi’s 7-speed S-Tronic automatic gearbox; in our opinion the TDi overcomes this transmission’s low-speed awkwardness better thanks to its low-down grunt. It also offers a Sport mode and direct gear selection by flicking the lever left.
Out on the road, the Allroad’s refined chassis and drive train make for an incredibly smooth and solid ride. The engine is fairly smooth and quiet, gear shifts are imperceptible and grip levels are phenomenal. Even with deactivated traction control, we could barely get ours to make a tyre squeal.
The clever quattro 4×4 system and advanced ESP (electronic stability program) even detect when you’re off-road and will compensate their efforts accordingly. An Allroad should thus easily conquer mild off-road tasks thanks to these systems and 180mm of ground clearance.
Average diesel consumption is about 7L/100km which makes for a decent range from the 61L tank, the Allroad giving adventurous families a few advantages when they get to their destination. Firstly, it will happily trek around game parks and farm tracks without major fuss.
…the Allroad’s only two remaining siblings are the loony S4 and bonkers RS4.
Secondly, the additional cargo capacity means Mom can pack extra and your entire luggage stays dust-free. Last but certainly not least, you won’t find many others of its kind around as Audi has ditched the regular Avant (estate) A4 and the Allroad’s only two remaining siblings are the loony S4 and bonkers RS4.
Audi’s A4 Allroad costs N$465,000 (TFSi) or N$470,000 (TDi) and comes with a 5-year/100,000km Freeway Plan.
0-100m: 5.9s / 86.5km/h
0-200m: 9.4s / 109.8km/h
0-300m: 12.4s / 124.8km/h
0-400m: 15.1 / 135.0km/h
1/4mile: 15.2s @ 84.0mph (135.2km/h)
Climate Sunny, windy
Road Dry tarmac, level
Occupants Driver, no passengers
Fuel level 2/3