By on November 5, 2011

Though the original A6-based Audi Allroad was designed for the US market, it hit the market at the height of SUV mania, and as a result never sold more than 6,357 units per year (in 2001, its second year on the market). By the end of 2005, Audi pulled the “Avant Outback” from the US where it was replaced by the hulking Q7 SUV, but the brand did develop a new version for Europe, which debuted in 2006. In many ways, this evolution mirrors the Subaru Outback’s shift from jacked-up wagon to full-blown CUV, and reflects America’s growing preference for unique-bodied car-based crossovers. And with a Q5 already on sale in the US, and a Q3 on its way, it seems unlikely that Audi will bring this smaller, A4-based Allroad to the US. But fashion being what it is, doesn’t it seem likely that the pendulum will eventually swing back, and that air-suspension-equipped wagons will once again enjoy a moment of vogue? And if anything is going to bring about such a fad, isn’t it this freshly facelifted A4 Allroad?

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14 Comments on “Are You Ready For: The Return Of The Allroad?...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I long for the day, I know it is coming, when the generation of children raised in the late 90′s and aught’s reject SUVs for the mom-mobiles that they are. Then, when they need room for their children they will scorn the lame SUV, and instead choose the hip new vehicle. Kind of like a hatchback, only with four doors and a steeper backlight. I believe the British call it an “estate”.

  • avatar
    A Caving Ape

    I came within inches of buying one of these recently. The miles were relatively low, and it was one of the (i assume) dozen models in the entire country that had a stick shift!

    What stopped me was the weight (4200lb), horror stories about the air suspension, and the fact that I don’t really need off road ability often enough to justify it.

  • avatar
    eThink

    I really wonder who is going to buy this allroad?

    Based on discussion on multiple Audi forums, current A6-based allroad and current A6 Avant owners have expressed no interest in this A4-based allroad.

    “Conquest” sales of current Subaru Outback and Volvo V70 / XC70 owners? Highly unlikely as this vehicle is significantly smaller in carrying capacity and more expensive than both of these vehicles.

    As a current and long-time Audi A6 Avant owner, I was really looking forward to the C7 A6 Avant. I was extremely disappointed in Audi’s plan to not import any A6-based Avants to North America after 2011.

    Audi seems to believe that Americans only want SUVs. Many Audi Avant owners were shocked and dismayed at Audi’s initial SUV offering the Q7. This car lack’s the design elegance and grace that Audi’s have been known for.

    My own choices for a European sports wagon in North America are now limited to:

    - Volvo XC/70
    - Mercedes E-Class

    I was seriously considering and was looking forward to the new Saab 9-5x Sports Wagon. However, Saab has announced that they plan to only offer the new 9-5x Wagon in North America with a 4 cylinder Turbo. A full-sized, $50,000+, European vehicle with a 4 cylinder engine? This is not for me.

    It looks like I will keep my C5 Audi Avant for a few more years.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I’d like to see sales of the All-Road in context with sales of the Q7, Q5, and A6 Avant. 6,357 units sound tiny, but it depends on the sales results of other similar models in their line-up.

    In that respect, I wouldn’t mind seeing sales results of the XC70 vs the XC90, the 5-series wagon vs the X5, and the E-Class wagon vs the ML and GL. My guess is that if we had the data, we would probably see that Americans really do prefer SUV’s and CUV’s over wagons and tall wagons.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Many Americans do prefer SUVs (for now). But those of us who prefer wagons will not settle for anything else, and will PAY for the priviledge. BMW found this out when they killed the 5-series wagon – those buyers did NOT buy X5s, they bought MB E-class wagons instead!

    What really needs to change are our assinine certification laws. There is no reason that every different body style has to go through the entire process seperately, making it ludicrously expensive to sell niche variations. If the sedan with 3.0L engine is certified for emissions, so should the wagon with the same engine.

    I am not a fan of the Outback style wagons – seem utterly pointless to me. Better than an actual SUV that is never, ever taken offroad, but still pointless. I drive wagons because they drive the same as sedans but are more useful. My 328i Touring is equally at home on an autocross course or hauling a bunch of computers to a client site. It actually has better wieght distribution than the sedan, and the back seat is easier to get in and out of thanks to the squarer door opening.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    This is a terrifc looking vehicle, but the sad truth is that I probably won’t be making enough to justify buying it new from Audi.

    In the meantime I will admire the pictures and hope that Audi is able to keep the weight near 4000 lbs. It would also be nice if they drop the overly complicated adjustable air suspension. No one who buys this is going to do any serious offroading with it.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    I understand that the A4 Allroad WILL be coming to the US as a 2013 model. What remains to be seen is whether Audi can smarten up about the car. If they bring it over with a 2.0T and the base level automatic, then I think the car will fail. If they bring it over with the new 272 HP 3.0T or the 3.0 TDI motors with at least the DSG tranny (would rather have a stick), then at last they can position it in between the garden variety A4 and the S4 without stepping on the Q5′s toes,

  • avatar

    Since buying a last-gen Outback, this has become my favourite genre of car. Which is why it is so sad that we only have one legitimate form of it left in North America: the XC70. There are others, like the 9-3x…but good luck finding one of those, and good luck with the depreciation, replacement parts, service, etc.

    The Outback lost this in its last design. Gone is the still smallish body, the two-tone paint job, any general air of backwoodsey athleticism. But we’ve all talked about that already…

    Why do I like them?
    1. Its a wagon, but even more useful.
    2. I find most normal cars scrape pretty easily on lots of curbs/entry/exits, and hang up on snow. A bit of clearance helps.
    3. Only a bit of cost to the handling dynamics…the Outback surprises with its abilities.
    4. Sometimes (as with the A4 Avant), wagons can look too low and long to be in proportion, this styling can help.
    5. Its a wagon! With hiking boots.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    This car doesn’t have an air suspension, the A6 based version does. The A4 Allroad is just like the Outback – taller springs. I do know a guy who downsized from a C6 A6 to a B8 A4, but I can’t imagine there are too many like him. I do think most A6 Allroad and A6 Avant owners are going to be looking at either the E350 4Matic wagon or the A7, depending on their cargo needs.

    I think with the A4 Allroad, Audi is after young professionals growing out of their Foresters and CR-Vs. People new to the brand, not existing Avant owners. That’s probably the idea anyway, who knows if it will work.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    With a stick and a diesel, it’d be worth considering for a road-tripmobile..

  • avatar
    ChesterChi

    Jeff Bezos used to drive an A6 Allroad. One of the few people who can afford to fix and maintain an Audi after the warranty expires.

  • avatar
    PeugeotHound

    I owned the A6-based allroad; drove it off the showroom floor in September 2001. It was the perfect Colorado car, where I live. I kept it 9 years, about 4 years longer than I should have. I replaced the air suspension THREE times. Engine camshaft seals, rebuilt torque converter, rebuilt transmission, multiple component failures that included two turn signal relays, ABS components and on and on. I love European cars. I’ve owned Peugeots, Volvos, Saabs and Audis. The allroad drove me over the edge. Now, my only European cars are weekend vehicles: a ’97 Porsche 911 and an ’82 Alfa Romeo GTV-6. My daily driver: an Acura.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    I loved the All-Road, great interior and exterior. My wake -up call was when one I was considering buying had a transmission failure on the lot of the dealer when I was pulling out for a test drive. That warned me off.

    • 0 avatar
      eThink

      In 2004, I chose to buy an A6 Avant 3.0L Quattro instead of an allroad with the 4.2 V8. My research on the allroad had shown owner reports of:

      - Problems with the air-suspension systems
      - Problems with the twin turbos (2.7L V6)
      - Excessive tire wear (15-20,000 mile expectancy)

      I purchased the A6 Avant 3.0L Quattro; this car does NOT have a turbo-charged engine or the air-suspension system. I took delivery in June 24, 2004. Service for this car was covered by Audi for the first 4years / 50,000 miles.

      At 4 years and 48, 000, I purchased an extended warranty from Audi for another 4 years / 50,000 miles. For the past three years I have used a local “indy” shop http://www.cartalk.com/ct/mechx/shop.jsp?id=25411 to care for my car.

      Between 50,000 and 81,000 miles, the car has required the following service:

      Regular Maintenance:

      1. Oil Change every 6,000 miles (Mobil 1 synthetic oil)
      2. Techron Fuel Injector cleaners every 7,000 miles
      3. Front and Rear Brakes at 48,000 miles
      4. Automatic Transmission Flush and Filter at 75,000 miles
      5. New Tires at 35,000 and 68,000 miles
      6. Alignment and “Road Force” Balance ever year
      7. Replacement wiper blades
      8. Replaced 1 rear light bulb

      Repair Service:

      1. Replacement lighting switch (warranty item)
      2. Replacement Headlight washer pump (warranty item)
      3. Replacement brake switch (warranty item)
      4. Replaced 1 CV joint boot

      In the next 5,000 miles I expect to do the following service items:

      1. Timing Belt Service
      2. Water Pump Replacement
      3. Front Brakes
      4. Valve cover gaskets
      5. Battery

      When I purchased my Audi, I was aware that ownership required maintenance. I am very pleased with my mechanic and I am glad that I have the Audi extended warranty.

      My around town mileage is ~18 mpg; my highway mileage is between 23-24 mpg. I run the car on 87 octane fuel.

      My wife owns a 2002 Audi A4 3.0 Quattro with 6-speed manual transmission. She has had a similar ownership experience based on a similar maintenance program. Her car still has the original clutch at 110,000 miles.

      We are both please with these Audi’s. We take good care of them and they have taken good care of us.


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