Take an SE-spec A4 quattro Avant and raise the ride height by 37millimetres, giving it just 20 millimetres less ground clearance than the more rugged Q5. Then add utilitarian plastic wheel arches and rugged bumpers and you have a car with all the road presence of an SUV, but the silhouette of an executive estate car.
The A4 allroad offers a beautifully built cabin, plus plenty of equipment. We particularly liked the dash mounted colour LCD screen and new eco driving display. Rear seats offer decent leg room, while the boot is spacious. 70:30 Split and fold seats are easy to operate.
The 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine offers 211bhp combined with low fuel consumption. 2.0 and punchy 2.7-litre diesel engines are also offered. Equipped with diesel particulate filters, all A4 engines already comply with the strict Euro 5 emissions standard, while the new 2.0-litre TDI also offers stop and start.
The allroad’s raised ride height allows the suspension more travel, making the ride a softer and more supple. Quite simply it’s the best riding A4 you can buy.
And when you turn off the roads and hit the tracks, the allroad doesn’t disgrace itself either. It’s no proper SUV, but the offroad ESP system, as featured in the Q5, works well at keeping you moving in slippy conditions and it won’t bottom out unless the terrain gets really tricky.
A standard A4 Avant SE costs £26,000, whereas this 2.0-litre TDI allroad costs nearer the £30,000 mark. Audi also expects most customers add around £9,000 worth of options, so don’t expect much change from £40,000 when ordering flagship models… However slow depreciation and reasonable servicing costs mean cost of ownership is not as high as rivals.
Based on the NCAP five star Audi A4, the allroad offers front, side and curtain airbags for all occupants. Add to that the car’s efficient diesel engines, and clean turbo petrol powerplants, and it’s easy to see why Audi says that this is the greenest way of going off road currently on offer.