The new Audi A6 Allroad Quattro looks sleek and sporty but it’s not just a pretty face.

Story By Ian Glover

Think conventional European luxury vehicles and images of them belting back home after a clearing sale or successfully negotiating country property ‘driveways’ in the wet don’t immediately spring to mind. The new Audi Allroad Mark II might just change a few mindsets. While it looks sleek, sporty and suburban, this is a car that has plenty to appeal to rural buyers.
Initially, it’s the engine that impresses. One of the new generation of common rail turbo diesels, the 3.0-litre powerplant feels and sounds like anything but a diesel. It’s powerful, silky smooth and quiet. There’s none of the lumpiness and clatter that used to be a trademark. And with 171kW of power and a whopping 450Nm of torque, it offers instant response anywhere in the rev range. Nevertheless, thanks to an extremely sophisticated injection system with superfine atomisation of fuel, economy should be right up there. (Audi claims just under 9L/100km.)
The gearbox is a six-speed automatic that can be used manually for sporty driving, or when it needs to be held in gear, for example when travelling over icy or snow-covered roads. The match between the engine and transmission is superb.
Seating is a similar quality, with plenty of lateral support for enthusiastic driving, yet comfortable enough to allow long stints behind the wheel without producing aches or inducing fatigue. Likewise, the dash readout is eminently legible, housed in a pod that’s almost sculpture.
Our test drive route took in a lot of dirt roads, and there was no ingress of dust at all – something that says a lot for the car’s structural integrity, and is another plus for country buyers. As is permanent four-wheel drive – the famous quattro system that was initially proved by rally aces such as Stig Blomqvist and Walter Rörhl back in the 1980s. Basically, the centre diff is a Torsen type that locks up whenever it detects slip, apportioning torque to the axle that most needs it. In combination with Audi’s E(lectronic) S(tability) P(rogramme), which again detects slippage on any wheel and automatically applies the ABS brakes to regain traction, it makes the Allroad an absolute wizard on dirt – even punted deliberately hard into corners to induce instability, the car merely shrugs and puts you back on the straight and narrow. You’d need to be doing something incredibly silly to have an ‘off’!

This story excerpt is from Issue #54

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2007