Audi A6 Allroad 2021 review – one may never need any other car

Audi may be in the midst of an explosion of new models, including its electric cars and more SUV derivatives, but for those more traditional, the Audi A6 Allroad is still there to show its new stablemates a thing or two about what a luxury SUV could be. And what it should be.

The allure lies in adding powerful capability to what is already a highly polished, well-rounded package. But while the Allroad is still around, its alternatives remain limited, keeping three engine options in two trim levels. Its main elements, however, remain focused on the use of a pseudo-off-road kit like finer wheel spoke extensions, stiffer bumpers front and rear, and a retuned chassis, including some custom options not otherwise available on the A6 Avants. .

These start with the standard Allroad air suspension, which is actually the main factor that differentiates it from the regular A6 Avants. The system is adaptive, adjusting the specific ride height depending on speed, but in “off-road” mode, the body will rise by up to 45mm when traveling at less than 22 mph. The livery and extended fenders are more for width, although the Allroad’s true off-road capability is better suited to a school-grass parking lot than the Rubicon Trail.

The A6 Allroad is available in the UK with three engine options – all six-cylinder and all-smooth start. The two most popular options are diesel engines, which despite being a dirty word today, remain the most appropriate choice due to their impressive efficiency and refinement.

Available in 242bhp 45TDI and 283bhp 50TDI configurations, both paired with quattro all-wheel drive, but the lower variant features a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox compared to the eight-speed torque converter of the 1950s. This transmission change is due to the latter’s higher torque rating, which sits at 457 lb-ft over a wide torque range that runs from 1,750 rpm to 3,400 rpm. There’s also a 334-hp turbocharged V6 petrol option, which is actually the fastest option, hitting 62 mph in 5.5 seconds, while the diesels do it in 6.2 seconds and 5.8 seconds for the 45TDI and 50TDI engines respectively.

If you’ve had the (bad) luck driving a fast production electric car, or one of the SUV’s that were released to the market to fill one of the many smaller outlets, you’ll notice right away that the A6 Allroad looks like its evolution has been worked on over a sustained period. Every aspect of it, from the nearly impossibly wide suspension system to the precise movement of the gear selector, feels lively and looks and calibrates great.

That feeling of superior quality is reflected in the Allroad’s riding, as long-range travel and isolation from all-terrain bumps is great, but not at the expense of body control. All versions include standard adaptive dampers, giving it a great spread of versatility, and it easily finds a good balance between comfort and control. One caveat to ride quality, to mind, Vorsprung models run on standard 21-inch wheels, so they do suffer from some shakiness, but not to the point of being deal-breaker. And most importantly, the speeds increase and the body does not start to move in the sea like most SUVs, retaining a sense of complete control.

The steering is well weighted and very precise, if it lacks the final feel, which is far more reassuring than the ultra-light racks found on competition Mers and BMWs. Vorsprung models also include rear axle steering, which feels well-calibrated and helps with maneuverability at low speeds.

On the move, diesels start with a silent rumble, rather than rumble, and are nearly silent on the go thanks to a combination of impressive powertrain isolation and cabin sound shutdown. The high-powered diesel engine is particularly impressive, with the torque converter plugging the hole after the shortest stops while the turbines are awake. While acceleration is easy and not properly fast, Audi retains its twin-turbo diesel sledgehammer for overseas markets.

The upside to this is the relatively comfortable 50TDI turbo that produces some really impressive economic numbers, with the diesel doing a quick job of highway speeds while still locking in at 50 mpg. Across town, the number isn’t nearly as impressive, but if your driving depends largely on the city, diesel is probably not the best solution anyway.

It all adds up to an excellent family car. The Allroad is spacious, versatile, luxurious and backed by some exquisitely executed engineering. It drives a lot better than most SUVs, it’s not overly big and it has the right image. EVs may grab most of the headlines, but for now Allroad’s appeal still runs deep.

Prices and competitors

Allroad isn’t an inexpensive proposition, with prices starting at £55,000 for the entry level 45TDI. The more powerful diesel is an extra £3,000, with the 55TFSI petrol costing an extra £3,000 again.

As with most Audi models in the UK, there are a few individual options, rather than separate packages and trim levels. In Allroad’s case, the base-level sportier models are still well-equipped, with leather trim, Matrix LED headlights and 19-inch wheels to name a few, but the Vorsprung models (not pictured) include pretty much every option, plus more. From the evil see black detailing, gloss black bow extensions and 21-inch wheels. Despite this, it will cost you a premium of around £16,500 on Sport models.

For competitors, Mercedes will sell you an E-Class All-Terrain, which takes a similar path to standard E-Class property in its execution. Merc’s in-line six diesel is more impressive, but the rest of the package isn’t quite as round, with a sleek interior and a less polished driving experience. Typical alternatives to SUVs are numerous and their cost is quite similar, with the current crop leading the BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.

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