2017 Audi A6 Allroad – $114,700
(4 / 5)
Take a regular wagon, lift it, add capable suspension, all-wheel-drive and heavy-duty tyres and you more or less have the recipe for the Audi A6 Allroad.
It’s not an SUV, but it’s much more than a wagon – it’s the perfect example of what a crossover is.
It can be driven with confidence on an unsealed road, but it doesn’t lose composure in the city.
And until the E-Class All-Terrain came along, the Allroad had this niche all to itself.
Who does it appeal to?
It’s a unique customer who doesn’t want the SUV like everyone else, still wants practicality but needs to hit a rough dirt track now and then.
A jack-of-all-trades? Let’s find out.
Step inside, please
Open the doors and you’ll find it’s unchanged from the standard A6, but that is no bad thing.
Audi knows how to make a motor car properly, so you’ll find precision build throughout, with segment-leading soft-touch plastics and beautifully finished metal accents.
It’s a proper five seater, with good legroom and headroom – three adults across the back seat is a cinch.
There’s also an Allroad-specific new matte wood veneer to imbue a sense of warmth.
Then there’s the tech. The sat-nav has overlayed Google Earth imagery over the maps meaning it’s easy to look ahead or around the car for new and interesting places to discover.
The centre of the instrument panel also gets the same images – very cool.
The boot (electrically operated, of course) gives you 565 litres normally and if you drop the back seat you’ll also get 1680 litres.
Okay, so it’s nice inside – you’d expect as much for the price. The real question is how does it drive, and more importantly, does it live up to its name of covering all roads?
An Allroad on all roads
Kakadu in the Northern Territory has plenty of dirt, so our first test was to see how it handled at speed.
On an unsealed road, covering ground this rapidly would normally lead to a disaster.
Any bump or pothole would send you into a tree – not a great idea.
But the A6 Allroad’s suspension and stability control are both working beautifully, keeping the tyres pressed firmly into the gravel, and actively stopping any sideways slip.
The next step was to hit the ESC button just once so that the stability control triggers its off-road programme.
It allows more play on dirt, so the wheels can slip to maintain momentum in deeper sand. Moving onto the soft shoulders was no issue – it simply churned away and got out.
Time to head onto the sealed roads. The ride becomes is a little jittery, probably due to the air suspension and large wheels – coil sprung cars always have better initial compliance.
Dynamic mode becomes too firm and then in comfort mode it floats too much. The best mode, funnily enough, is Allroad which strikes a good balance between float and firmness.
In this mode, the suspension is height adjustable, and gives you 185mm of ground clearance – enough for a few interesting excursions off road.
The active lane assist works mostly well when it’s straight road but if the bend tightens too much it refuses to work. Give it a generation or two to improve.
The A6 Allroad scores a 160kW/500Nm 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 which is a gem.
It’s smooth, quiet, and with its seven-speed auto it keeps the engine in the thick band of torque, making overtaking easy.
And, almost unbelievably, it only uses 5.6L/100km of fuel.
Part of the efficiency comes from the coasting mode, which decouples the engine from the gearbox when you release the accelerator in Efficiency mode, keeping momentum but with no drivetrain drag.
And it’s safe, right?
While the A6 Allroad hasn’t been tested individually, its A6 Avant stablemate has received a five star crash rating, so you’d expect a similar result.
But you get a huge standard safety suite – ABS, EBD, EBS, traction control and stability control, active lane assist, blind spot monitoring and rear collision alert.
Six airbags – front, front side and full-length curtain – keep everyone safe in a crash.
Can you take the Audi A6 Allroad off road?
Yes, but not quite as far as other crossroads. With 185mm of clearance, it’s fine for the beach or flat, rocky trails, but it doesn’t have the ramp over or approach and departure angles to tackle anything more than beginner tracks.
If you don’t want an SUV but need plenty of space, then the A6 Allroad may be just right for you.
With a breadth of ability that covers city and country, the practicality and taller stance than a standard wagon means it’s easier to get in and out of.
But it’s more expensive than the equally capable and more spacious Audi Q7 – it’s the price you pay for being a bit different.
A6 Allroad specifications
3.0 litre diesel turbo V6
160kW @ 3250-4500rpm / 500Nm @ 1250-3000rpm
Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
0-100km/h – 7.3 seconds
Fuel consumption (listed): 5.6 l/100km