Audi ready to tackle whatever with A4 Allroad

Latest wagon crossover features latest version of the Quattro system

Published: March 28, 2016, 9:30 PM
Updated: March 31, 2016, 12:35 PM

2017 Audi A4 allroad quattro

Audi’s latest crossover is getting ready to ship, with UK deliveries of the new A4 Allroad Quattro expected in June 2016, and the 2017 model expected to touch down shortly thereafter.

Allroad is the name Audi gives to its more-rugged wagon (introduced in 1999 on the A6 platform), and with the development of actual off-roading SUV with Q-designations, the name continues on passenger car models to designate a higher floor and increased capability off road. The latest version was the A4 Allroad Quattro, with also happened to be the only Avant (wagon) in the A4 lineup prior to the car’s redesign last year.

And so now it’s time for a new A4 Allroad Quattro. Not much is known about the car to come to Canada, other than the tidbits of information the company is releasing on the its website, but with the UK introduction, we’re getting a better picture of content.

The first engine adapted to the A4 Allroad Quattro, and very likely the only one for Canada since it’s the only one available in the new sedan, will be the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 252 hp. As toward the end of the previous generation, the Allroad Quattro will be the only wagon in the lineup. The 7-speed shiftable S-tronic automatic is expected to also be the only transmission.

And although it carries the familiar Quattro all-wheel drive stamp of excellence, the system is completely new, with this car the first to benefit from its efficiency and weight savings. One of the features of the new system is its ability to completely act as a front-wheel drive model until such time as torque is required at one of the rear wheels. Thus, not only does it become unnecessary to have front wheel drive versions of cars, but it also helps save money at the pumps if most of your driving is on paved, clear and dry roads.

Sensors gather information (every 10 milliseconds) on driving dynamics, road conditions and even driver inputs, to provide what power is needed to whatever wheel can use it best. The computer predicts an outcome and readies a solution (reportedly a half second in advance, so power can be transferred without the driver even being aware of what’s happening).

It is developed from the system on the latest R8 (but kinda backwards, since the mid-rear engine R8 can use up to 100% of its torque at the rear wheels). The previous A4 Quattro version could vary torque front and rear between 70% to the front to 85% to the rear, so any of the wheels would get power all the time.

Audi’s drive selective adaptive driving system is also standard, with the driver able to select the type of behaviour the car displays (sportier, more comfortable, economical, etc.) or choose to keep it all automatic and let the computer decide how the car adapts to different driving conditions.

Part of the allure of the Allroad has always been its raised suspension and on the newest model, it means an added 34mm of ground clearance (with the addition of underbody plates to protect vital components for those times when an extra 34 mm isn’t quite enough). This can be furthered enhanced with the availability of an adaptive suspension with damper control.

The exterior look is a derivative of that from the new A4, with xenon headlights (upgradable to LEDs) and LED daytime runners, although the Allroad Quattro adds moulding around the wheel wheels and lower body to give it a more rugged presence and also to protect the body from certain trail abuses. An optional deployable tow bar adds to the look and utility.

Other technology includes the usual connectivity features, rear parking sensors and electrically operated hatch door. Driving aids such as adaptive cruise (which acts semi-autonomously at speeds up to 60 km/h, braking, accelerating and steering independently of driver input), pre-sense collision avoidance and brake assist are also included.