You like the contemporary, urban style of Audi’s A4 Avant wagon. You’re concerned, however, that you might get stuck for lack of ground clearance, scratch your bumper on a steep incline, or even tear off your oil pan as you climb over rocks and boulders during off-road excursions. Nope, can't risk it—time to go shop for a burly off-roader.
Audi has found a solution to this sliver-thin gap in its product lineup with the Allroad Quattro models. They have been available as part of the last and current A6 range—the first-gen A6-based Allroad was sold in the U.S.—and now the concept has migrated to the A4 lineup. With the advent of the Q5 and Q7 crossovers, however, the automaker killed the A6 Allroad Quattro in the U.S., and this A4 isn’t for us, either. Or so Audi says.
Power and Efficiency from the 2.0-liter
We tested the version of the A4 Allroad that would most likely be offered in the States: the gasoline-powered, 211-hp, 2.0-liter TFSI, which is positioned between 170-hp, 2.0-liter and 240-hp, 3.0-liter TDI turbo-diesels. It’s the same engine available in U.S.-market A4 sedans and wagons; in Europe, it comes with either a six-speed manual transmission or Audi's seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic automated manual gearbox. We drove the conventional manual, complete with a new, fuel-saving stop/start system. Further engine and transmission choices are conceivable, as Audi's mind-blowing European powertrain lineup for the A4 consists of six gasoline engines, five diesel powerplants, and four transmission choices, as well as front- and all-wheel drive.
The four-cylinder TFSI engine fulfills its everyday tasks with ease, including domination of the passing lane. There is very little turbo lag and the engine pulls strongly from low rpm. We won't complain about the numbers: Audi says the A4 Allroad reaches 60 mph in the mid-six-second range and reaches a top speed of more than 140 mph. And the engine even sounds pretty good, with a sporty undertone you rarely find in four-cylinder mills. Still, it wouldn't be our engine of choice for spirited driving on two-lane roads with lots of shifting and revving at redline. The torque curve drops sharply around 4000 rpm, and beyond that point, the engine reneges on its promise of relentless power from 1500 rpm on up. So it’s no Honda S2000 engine, but it needn't be in this type of vehicle. The TFSI gives a clear indication of where mainstream gasoline engine technology is headed.