2016 Audi A4 allroad 2.0 TFSI review
Alex Rae’s launch-based 2016 Audi A4 allroad 2.0 TFSI review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: The new Audi A4 allroad 2.0 TFSI provides a nice compromise between the A4 Avant and bigger Audi SUVs.
2016 Audi A4 allroad 2.0 TFSI
Price – $74,400 (TFSI), $71,400 (TDI) excluding on-road costs Price as tested – $81,563 (excluding on-road costs) Warranty – Unlimited kilometres up to 3 years Engine – TFSI: 2.0-litres, 185kW at 5000-6000rpm and 370Nm at 1600rpm-4500rpm Transmission – Seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission Drive – On-demand All-Wheel Drive Dimensions – Length 4750mm, width 1842mm (excluding mirrors), height 1493mm. Turning circle – 11.6 metres Seats – Five Tare weight – 1580kg GVM – 2170kg Fuel tank – 58L Fuel consumption – 5.4L/100km (TFSI), 6.7L/100 (TDI) Fuel – Petrol (TFSI), Diesel (TDI) Spare – 19-inch runflat Ground clearance – 173mm
What is it?
In Audi’s own line-up, the A4 allroad sits neatly between the A4 Avant wagon and Q5 SUV. It’s 27mm lower than the Q5, but 34mm higher than the A4 Avant, and provides the practicality of a SUV while not feeling too large. Most of all, the A4 allroad provides owners an alternative image to the ‘me too’ SUV crowd.
First launched in Australia in 2012, the A4 allroad is now in its second generation and brings changes to the outside, inside and to the engines. Exterior styling is now in-line with the rest of the A4 range, and the mudguards, skirting and roof rails are still unmistakeably allroad garnishes. Inside the cabin, the infotainment and technology has had an overhaul too, but it’s the introduction of Australia’s first petrol-powered allroad variant and Ultra technology which are the headline grabbers. At launch, the petrol-powered A4 allroad was the only model available for test, with the diesel variant expected to join the petrol model in November this year.
The allroad’s Ultra Technology is Audi’s own on-demand all-wheel drive system, which means that only the front wheels are engaged in most driving conditions. The result in the TFSI is a 0.3L/100km fuel saving, and the resulting 6.7L/100km means the A4 allroad avoids luxury car tax.
What’s it like inside and how practical is it?
The interior design is consistent with the exterior, but functionality and ergonomics have not been sacrificed. Up front, sitting as either passenger or driver, there’s ample space to stretch out and the electric-adjustable seats provide enough adjustment to find a comfortable seating position, with memory settings on the driver’s side. Tilt-and-reach adjustments on the steering wheel help find the perfect seating position and for added convenience all windows feature automatic one-touch up and down action.
For the driver, all controls are easy to reach and the infotainment feels intuitive to use (more on that later), and there’s enough inputs to keep your gadgets charged with one 12V outlet tucked under the main dash and two USB and one auxiliary input under the armrest. The two front cup holders were tested with both bottled water and a regular size coffee cup, perhaps the most important test, and they remained easy to take in and out without popping the lid off the takeaway coffee cup.
While the cabin finish meets the premium feel expected at this price, the optional grey interior can highlight the sometimes edgy joins between hard plastics and soft feel materials, and perhaps will not age as gracefully as the darker option.
Moving to the second row, there’s still a good amount of space for the two side passengers, but sitting three across with two other colleagues (with an average height of 6 feet) the middle seat feels too cramped and the driveline tunnel swallows up the foot well space. That said, you could carry two adults in the rear on longer trips or ferry three children around the suburbs comfortably, although we weren’t able to fit child seats into the backseats, so, don’t quote us on fitting three kids across the back.
In the rear centre console is one 12V outlet and basic climate control, but no USB inputs. The centre rear seat back folds down to present two cup holders and there’s a cargo net on each seat back. While the rear seats are 60:40 split folding, they don’t lie completely flat due to side bolstering on the rear seats.
The boot is both practical and expansive, and at 505 litres is only 25 litres smaller than the Q5, and folding the seats down opens the area up to 1510 litres. The boot can be opened either by the key fob or a push button on the tailgate, but as the kick-to-open feature works consistently well on the allroad, you won’t have to worry about keeping a hand free when carting back your shopping (for reference, simply kick straight into the area under the tailgate, don’t sway from left to right).
Inside the boot are one 12V outlet, LED strip lighting, cargo net and connections and a storage pocket on either side. The false floor lifts to reveal the 19-inch run-flat spare tyre and, in our test car equipped with optional load area rail system, a bevy of connections for the cargo rails that works quite well. The boot is closed via a one-touch button on the inside of the tailgate.
What’s the infotainment like?
The infotainment is based around a centrally mounted 8.3-inch display that is crisp with punchy colours and doesn’t have any glare problems. The system isn’t touch sensitive and requires input from the intuitive dial and button controls around the gearshift. System connectivity is via Apple Carplay, Android Auto or Bluetooth, and while a lack of iPhone meant Carplay wasn’t tested, Android Auto worked well, and we’ll test connectivity more extensively in our week-long review.
Sat-nav worked well without a hiccup on the 160km road loop, which included sections of country gravel roads, and a sim-card can be inserted to provide Google Maps data overlays.
In the dash a 7.0-inch screen sits between the analogue dials, and displays navigation and trip data, however the optional $2200 virtual cockpit package replaces the analogue displays with a high-resolution 12.3-inch LCD screen that is simply brilliant. With virtual cockpit the fuel and temperature gauges remain as physical gauges on either side of the screen though, and feel a little less premium than the data presented on the LCD.
A rear entertainment package is available and, although pricey at $2000 for one or $3600 for two, it does provide a fully detachable 10.1-inch Android powered tablet that attaches to the seat back and can connect to the cars Wi-Fi hotspot, and allows customs apps and an external SD card to be used. Quite simply, the A4 allroad is one of the best cars in the market in terms of infotainment and communications tech.
What’s the performance, ride and handling like?
The A4 allroad runs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces 185kW and 370Nm of torque. The engine is quick – accelerating from 0-100km/h in 6.1sec – but most of all it’s frugal at the bowser, sipping just 6.7L/100km. This is the first time Audi has offered a petrol engine in the allroad variant in Australia.
On sealed road, which was 95% of the test loop, the allroad sailed effortlessly along the highway, and the well-controlled road noise and gentle ride is perfect for kids who need a snooze in the back seat. Improved aero-coustic wing mirrors and well-behaved 18-inch 245/45 Michellin Primacy3 tyres help keep the cabin quiet.
The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (S tronic in Audi-speak) feels refined on the move and shifts smoothly, although it’s a little slow to engage around traffic. As the road began to wind up into the mountains (the A4 allroad was launched in Byron Bay), the ride remained calm, and in Comfort mode the throttle is adjusted so that there’s no hard transition between gear changes.
Moving to Dynamic mode the steering feel is heavier and the gears are held longer, and while the Allroad is not a performance car, the response from the petrol engine is zippy. The steering is sharp with responsive turn-in from the front end, and you’d have to be pushing pretty hard and at the wrong time for the thing to understeer. Indeed, the A4 allroad, on both bitumen and well-graded gravel, offers a neutral stance through corners.
On a short section of gravel, the ‘Ultra Technology’ showed how seamlessly and quickly it works. Ultra Technology is a fancy way of saying the A4 Allroad can shuffle drive from the front to the rear axle by as much as 100% – we’ll go into more detail once we’ve tested it for a week. Even when pushed a little quicker the system keeps the car feeling very neutral with no sense of slip and then grip. And the suspension does a good job of smothering larger potholes with the damping well sorted to deal with corrugations. If you’ve read our review of the A4 quattro you’ll have noticed we remarked on the fact the road-oriented A4 can become a little unsettled across broken surfaces. That’s not the case with the more forgiving A4 allroad.
How safe is it?
Like its competitors the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and Subaru Outback, the A4 allroad receives a five star ANCAP rating. As standard the allroad safety features include active bonnet, eight airbags, attention assistant, autonomous emergency braking, pre sense rear for helping mitigate rear-end collisions, ESC and ABS with brake assist. For increased safety the Assistance Package ‘Tour’ adds active lane assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go including traffic jam assistant, distance indicator and pre-sense front, turn assist, collision avoidance assist, high beam assist and predictive efficiency assistant.
Pricing and range
The A4 allroad 2.0 TFSI is the only variant available now, and pricing starts at $74,400 plus on-road costs. Among the options available are four packages:
- Assistance package tour ($1900): Active lane assistant, adaptive cruise control, turn assist, pre-sense front, collision avoidance and high beam assist.
- Parking assistance package ($950): 360-degree camera and parking assistant.
- Technik package ($2200): Audi virtual cockpit and heads up display.
- Technik package with sunroof ($3900): Audi virtual cockpit and heads up display and tinted panoramic sunroof.
Why would you buy it?
If you’re looking for a compromise between a road-oriented wagon and a higher-riding SUV then the Audi A4 allroad 2.0 TFSI should be on your list. It’s refined, well-built and comfortable. It’s more expensive than key competitors but it’s also better equipped.