All roads open for

new A4

Audi A4 allroad quattro, front
Audi A4 allroad quattro, side
Audi A4 allroad quattro, rear
Audi A4 Avant, side
Audi A4 Avant, rear, action
Audi A4 Avant, interior
Audi A4 Avant, boot

THE heavyweight in the new Audi A4 range is the allroad estate with its rugged looks and all wheel drive system.

At £31,375 it is the cheapest way of getting hold of a new A4 quattro - the saloon version costs £2,000 more - and with raised suspension the allroad is aimed at heavy duties.

Although not a full blown off-roader it can handle rougher than normal conditions and comes with some extra body protection especially underneath and around the wheel arches.

It is designed primarily for rural work and is powered by a two-litre diesel which offers good economy and relatively tax friendly emissions of 159g/km.

Based on the A4 Avant estate - which can be had for £28,775 - it becomes one of no less than 110 variants of the new A4, the eighth generation of Audi's top seller in the UK.

For a vehicle with increased ride height the allroad handles well although its steering can feel slightly neutral through bends.

That is a characteristic of the energy saving electro-mechanical power steering fitted throughout the new A4 range - a trade off which helps improve economy giving the allroad a theoretical average of 46.3mpg.

In real world conditions that figure appears fairly accurate and we managed to achieve 44 to the gallon on a drive mainly through built up areas.

As such the allroad should have a range of around 600 miles and as with all A4s it is now fitted with stop/start technology as a further fuel saving device.

Top speed from the 177ps engine is 134mph and it is capable of 0 to 60 in 8.2 seconds, so it's no slouch - realistically little different to the normal A4 estate.

So is luggage capacity which ranges from 490 to 1,430 litres and its towing ability of almost two tonnes.

Cars like the allroad cater for those who want a practical vehicle offering a little more than a conventional estate and it competes with the likes of the Volvo XC70 and Subaru Outback.

It will also be up against VW's new Passat Allroad and Peugeot's 508 diesel-electric hybrid estate both of which will be on sale in the coming months.

All have four wheel drive but the allroad brings with it the kudos of Audi and inside it is finished to a premium standard.

In terms of onboard technology the new A4 models are a step up from the previous generation and now feature a simplified multi-media system and the ability to hook the car up to the Internet, turning it into a mobile WiFi hotspot.

All new A4s are also fitted with a driver fatigue monitor and options include anti-collision systems and lane departure warnings and blind spot alerts.

With diesels now being the predominant engine in the A4 - there are six of them available in the range - average emissions have been cut by more than 20 per cent compared to the previous models.

Audi is also backing up its standard warranty on the A4 with a service and maintenance package which extends the guarantee to five years and 90,000 miles and includes all routine work for three years as well as the first MOT.

It's available on the saloon, Avant and allroad for £34 a month and can be extended to include new tyres for an extra £18 a month. For the high performance S4 saloon and estate the package is more expensive, costing £44 or £66 a month to include tyres.

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