Allroad at home on Dartmoor
AUDI chose challenging Devon country lanes and narrow roads across Dartmoor for motoring journalists to put the new A6 Allroad through its paces ahead of its appearance in the showrooms last weekend.
Agility in these conditions is a must which despite its increase in size the lighter A6 Allroad now has but with a little more bodyroll than the A6 Avant estate due to the increased ground clearance.
Also needed, and provided, was impressive responsiveness of the engine and seamless gear changes, overall surefooted quattro all-wheel drive cornering grip, sharp and trustworthy steering accuracy and powerful brakes.
All these requirements the new A6 Allroad has with only the steering giving less feedback than is ideal.
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The quattro system impressed me as always and it didn't appear to dull the engine's performance.
Having four wheel drive in conjunction with the adaptive air suspension, which also has a mode to raise the estate, allows for considerable off-road driving capability and the new hill descent control is a useful addition.
The estate is not a heavyweight 4x4 but it can easily cope with hilly farm tracks, slippery slipways and of course the worst of our UK road surfaces, especially when they are flooded or covered in ice and snow.
Prices range from £45,020 to £49,445 with 86 per cent of UK buyers opting for the 3.0-litre TDI diesel 245ps version costing £44,690. There is the choice of four engine options, all 3.0-litre, V6 units.
Three are diesel units with the choice of 204ps, 245ps and the new BiTDI 313ps. All engines are mated with multi-speed automatic transmissions with quattro all wheel drive. Top speed of the expected best seller is 147mph, zero to 62mph takes 6.6 seconds and officially it will average 44mpg although my enthusiastic test drive over those challenging Dartmoor roads returned 34mpg. That figure can easily be improved upon on in more usual driving conditions on motorways or even busy roads.
There is no doubt the A6 Allroad is a niche model but it is more versatile than a traditional A6 Avant estate and less daunting to drive in traffic than a large Q7 SUV.