The Audi Allroad quattro 4.2 has certainly left a lasting impression.
Initially it was the 4.2-litre V8 engine that grabbed our undivided
attention. Wonderfully responsive, torquey and downright powerful, it is one of
the most spirited engines on the market. And then there’s the throaty exhaust
snarl that’s, to be blunt, utterly horn.
But as our test drew on, the Allroad V8 shined in many other
Heading out for a weekend away we were impressed by the luggage swallowing
capacity and the long-distance comfort provided for four people. The seats never
become tiring and the Allroad always feels safe and secure, regardless of driving
Yes, this really is a standout machine.
At AUD$108,900 the Allroad V8 is the most expensive version of Audi’s
multi-purpose wagon. Nineteen grand dearer than the twin-turbo V6 model (which
has 184kW and 350Nm), the 4.2 Allroad heads the line-up thanks to a generous
standard features list and, of course, that off-the-leash V8. This is
essentially the same engine as used in the go-fast Audi S4 and S6.
The 4.2-litre DOHC, 40-valve bent-eight is a pure delight. Boasting a high
11.0:1 compression ratio, a two-stage intake manifold, variable inlet cam
timing, direct-fire ignition and the latest Motronic management, it pumps out a
healthy 380Nm of torque from 2700 to 4600 rpm and peaks with 220kW at 6200 rpm.
Compared to, say, the 235kW Holden Adventra, the Audi Allroad isn’t the
gruntiest vehicle in the segment – but it certainly drives every bit as well in
real-world conditions. Throttle response (using throttle-by-wire) is
incredibly strong at all revs and it’s backed by ample torque. This surge of
torque is relentless all the way to the 6500 rpm redline – the rorty exhaust
lets the V8 breath with minimal restriction.
A 5-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift and steering wheel
controls comes standard on the Allroad V8. We love the way the Dynamic Shift
Program (DSP) keeps the transmission in the right ratio in absolutely all
conditions and its willingness to kick down. A sports mode (‘S’) is great for
performance driving, but the up/down-change buttons on the steering wheel aren’t
as effective as the paddles fitted to other high-end Audis.
At 1860kg, the Allroad 4.2 can tear away from a standing start with
Audi claims 7.2-second 0 – 100 km/h performance and our own tests (conducted
in cold conditions) were virtually dead-on. The demonstrated ability to pull
ahead of a late ‘90s Ford Falcon XR6 from a standing start indicates the level
of performance on tap. Oh, and this was achieved with four people and a full load of luggage onboard!
The top speed of the Allroad V8 is listed at 240 km/h - this is despite a
But what about the fuel consumption of this V8 all-wheel-drive wagon?
Squirting through city traffic it’s common to see 20-litres per 100km average
fuel consumption on the trip computer, but over the length of our test - which
was a combination of performance testing, country and city driving – we averaged
This is reasonable overall consumption, but it’s not good enough to get away
with the relatively small 70-litre fuel tank. Using our average fuel consumption
figure, the 70-litre tank provides a touring range of less than 450km. Also,
note that the 4.2-litre V8 needs a minimum of 95RON unleaded fuel – for optimum
performance you should use 98RON fuel.
Driving on the bitumen at high speed, the Allroad’s permanent all-wheel-drive
(with a Torsen centre diff) provides excellent handling stability. In urban
driving, however, the Allroad V8 becomes a lead-tipped understeerer when pushed
far beyond ‘normal’. This is despite the standard ESP (Electronic Stability
The Allroad is not set up for sharp handling. However, point it down a dirt track and it is wonderfully
stable, soaking up corrugations with ease. There’s also enough on-demand ground
clearance to let you venture slightly off the beaten track. At the push of a
button, the Allroad can be raised to provide up to 208mm of ground clearance,
which lets you walk over some relatively rough terrain. In normal conditions,
the 4-position adjustable ride height should be set to a lower setting to
provide improved poise. The ride height is automatically lowered at high speed.
Unlike many other cross-over vehicles, the Allroad isn’t afflicted by the
awkward ride judders that are associated with a high upsprung mass. Audi has
addressed this situation by employing many aluminium components in its 4-link
front and double-wishbone rear suspension systems. The ride is always
The Allroad is guided by power assisted rack and pinion steering that – like
many other Audis – doesn’t provide a great deal of feedback. It does, however,
provide decent steering response and it doesn’t need constant correction on the
The braking department is up to standard thanks to ABS and EBD controlled
four-wheel ventilated discs. The brake pedal in our test vehicle was slightly
soft – but this might be exaggerated by the response of the accelerator...
The Allroad is based on the Audi A6 Avant (wagon) so it feels very
conventional and ‘car like’ inside - but with the benefit of a higher driving
position. There’s adequate accommodation for up to five occupants, although the
Allroad is much more comfortable as a four-seater.
The rear cargo area does not provide an awesome amount of floor space but the
available space is very accessible. There are no problems fitting in a couple of
cases and a pair of soft bags. For even more luggage capacity, the 60/40-split
rear backrest can be folded forward. A ski-port is also fitted.
Nice finishing details include a roll-out cargo blind and cabin divider,
tie-downs, an emergency triangle and a 12-volt power outlet. You also get a
reversible carpet/rubber floor mat. Lift the carpet and look under the cargo
area floor and there’s a space-saver spare wheel. This is a little disappointing
but, then again, Audi never meant the Allroad to be a hard-edged off-roader.
High quality two-tone leather trim covers the seats and door trims and the
4.2 scores a tasteful amount of burr walnut trim. All controls fall to hand
nicely and the gauges are clear and legible, though the speed increments aren’t
ideal for Australian roads. During our trip we were constantly impressed by the
number of useful storage facilities.
The dual-zone digital climate control system is easy to use, as is the trip
computer and cruise control. Note that the Allroad doesn’t get the adaptive
cruise fitted to other high-end models. Multi-way electric adjustable front
seats, an auto-dimming interior mirror, fold-down front and rear armrests and a
grippy leather wheel are also fitted.
The optional Bose audio package fitted to our test vehicle delivered 6-stack
CD capacity with excellent sound clarity and good bass. An anti-theft alarm
comes as standard.
Complementing the solid feel of the chassis are six airbags and the usual
safety features. The only noticeable absence from the Audi features list is
heated seats. There are also no audio controls on the steering wheel.
Clean, simple styling is an Audi hallmark and the Allroad has not been spoilt
by its add-ons. The wheel arch flares, full-length roof racks, aluminium-look
underbody guard and fog lights integrate very well. “Muscular” is the best way
to describe the look. Interestingly, 18-inch alloys come as standard but 17-inch
alloys wearing Pirelli Allroad tyres are offered as an option for those buyers
likely to head off the bitumen regularly. These optional 17s were fitted to our
Unlike some other Audi models, the Allroad wagon offers good all-round
visibility and boasts a fully galvanised body, with the exception of an
aluminium bonnet. The standard Xenon headlights are nothing short of brilliant.
In case you haven’t noticed, we think the Allroad V8 is a mighty impressive vehicle.
With the exception of its tight corner understeer, there’s not much else that
can be criticised. Sure, it does consume a fair amount of fuel when driven in
stop-start conditions and the range is limited, but everything else -
performance, practicality, comfort, build quality and safety – are
Even with its substantial AUD$108,900 price tag we can award the Audi Allroad
4.2 a glowing recommendation. This is one of our favourites.
The Allroad quattro 4.2 was provided for this test by Audi Australia