By on January 11, 2016

Dynamic photo,  Colour: Glacier White

Thirty-four millimeters of ground clearance. That’s what separates a standard A4 Avant wagon (which we can’t get here in the States) with the new Audi A4 Allroad quattro. That, and a bunch of plastic lower-body cladding.

Apparently, American consumers can’t handle the low step-in of the standard Avant.

Audi A4 allroad quattro

The flared wheel arches are what we’ve come to expect from any Allroad variant, and look quite handsome. Audi has changed up the corporate grille for the Allroad, as well, with chrome vertical slats rather than the horizontal strakes found on the sedan.

Audi A4 allroad quattro

At least for the European market, a wide range of gasoline and TDI engines are offered. No word on what we will get Stateside, though the 2-liter gas turbo and 272 horsepower, 3-liter V-6 are fair bets.

 

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46 Comments on “NAIAS 2016: Audi A4 Allroad Quattro is a Model Built on Millimeters...”


  • avatar
    callmeishmael

    Because there’s nothing sadder than seeing an Audi high-centered in the middle of the Mojave.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Honestly I’m kind of surprised that we still get the A4 Allroad, but we don’t get the A5 Sportback. I see A7s all the time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a B8 gen A4 Allroad in the wild, which was supposed to be the replacement for the C5 gen A6 based Allroad we got until 2005. I used to see those original Allroads, but a smaller, less capable, less powerful replacement car jacked up on steel springs instead of the original air springs I don’t think was a good replacement, and I think people just moved on to E wagons or 5 Tourings instead, or maybe the occasional Q7.

    The A5 Sportback seems like it would make a lot more sense for our market, and it’s certainly MUCH better looking.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      My understanding is that the rear roofline of the A5 Sportback is too low to pass US safety tests, and a redesign would have cost more than it was worth.

      Shame, as I quite like the A5 Sportback and am a total sucker for the A7 – but the A7 is a tad pricey.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Before I looked up a pic, I thoguht the A5 Sportback would be a two door shooting brake, like a modern Jensen Interceptor.

        I haz a sad.

      • 0 avatar
        Davekaybsc

        Yeah I think the A5 SB is gorgeous. Much more attractive and interesting than the standard B8 A4, and it doesn’t have the droop in the rear that the A7 does. Hopefully Audi will bring over the upcoming B9 gen. Would be smart considering BMW already has the 4 series Gran Coupe on sale here.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      No 5 Series Touring in the US, but the current 3-series Touring is so big it doesn’t really matter.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      I see B8 Allroads all the time in Massachusetts. But this area tends to go Euro-heavy and wagon-heavy, at least compared to the rest of the country.

  • avatar
    sproc

    “No word on what we will get Stateside, though the 2-liter gas turbo and 272 horsepower, 3-liter V-6 are fair bets.”

    Why would they offer a NA V-6 that makes barely more power than the latest 2.0T models? I couldn’t imagine they’d bother making an S4 Allroad.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      The 272 HP V6 is the turbodiesel 3.0. And no, we won’t see that engine in the US. IF we get a diesel it will almost certainly be the 190 HP 2.0 TDI.

      The former was the TDI engine destined for the new Q7 before the whole diesel scandal broke.

      At the moment the only 3.0L V6 destined for the US is the all new TT one in the next S4 (~360 HP IIRC).

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    As a denizen of the North East US with a long, steep, curved, and nigh-on-unplowable gravel driveway, I can say that there are times when some cladding and another 34mm of ground clearance would have made for a much more pleasant winter day.

    I’d still like an A7 more, though.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I often wonder what people do with pea gravel driveways in the winter. You just leave it and drive over the snow?

      • 0 avatar
        wagonsonly

        We’ve learned to scrape off the top layer (either with a plow or a judicious upward angle on the snowblower) and lay sand on the roadbed once the driveway is clear, particularly after the snow has been compacted and has frozen.

        A 1500-foot-long driveway got us a great deal on our house (it’s on a main road, but far enough away so that we don’t hear much traffic), but there are compromises inherent in that privacy. Three tenths of a mile of dirt and gravel, a small bridge, and shared land rights are, ah, interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        I’ve got nothing as fancy as pea gravel; it’s one step up from dirt. But it’s unplowable due to the tightness and angle, so I either snowblow it down to an inch or so, or just drive over it. 90 percent of the time Blizzaks and fwd do fine but during the other 10 percent, one wheel drive can strand us, so I’m among the few with a legitimate desire for AWD.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Not generally a big fan of stilt cars myself, but with current tire tech, the few places you need awd, particularly awd as sophisticated as quattro, you very often need added ground clearance as well. I’d go so far as to suspect added ground clearance is often more important than power to the rear wheels, assuming Blizzaks and similar. When everyone else drive pickup trucks, in many parts of the US, the plow guys don’t even roll out of bed in the morning at less than 6 inches.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I own an older A6 wagon (Not the Allroad, just a regular C5 Avant), and I’ve never had ground clearance issues. The older allroad had an air suspension for those cases though. If they could make a reliable one, that would be the way to go!

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Say what you like, but I thoroughly enjoy getting inside my Odyssey with its higher seating position. And I’m in my early thirties, can’t imagine when you’re 60.

  • avatar
    gyang

    Bring this to Canada

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    And it’ll be $46,000, or in other words about $10K too expensive. Given the Allroad is CUV though, it’s always had the vertical slats, save for the A6 version we got here. The later A6 version for the Euro market got vertical slats too.

    I like the red accent lights, and am glad they continue that trend. It needs wood trim though, no metal. But WTF is the screen doing sticking out way up there? How distracting. And it never goes away.

    15.5′ long, it’s really not very big.

  • avatar
    oleksandros

    Both the Allroad and the standard Avant are hugely popular cars here, Audi being the 8th most sold brand in all of 2015 and I would guesstimate a good half of them being A4 Avants. Why the US misses out on this while getting the equivalent BMW and I would assume Merc versions is beyond me.

    On the other hand, the Murano gaining high praise around here was pulled from the UK market due to poor sales and I can’t say for certain I’ve ever seen one in the wild here where I live in Norway. Strange all over.

    • 0 avatar
      Davekaybsc

      Audi is on pretty much equal footing with BMW and M-B in terms of sales in Europe, but that’s not the case here at all. I think it was a combination of horrific quality and reliability in the early years, combined with the 60 Minutes hit piece.

      Because they sell so many fewer cars than BMW and M-B, and it costs so much to homologate each model for sale here, we only get the volume stuff, and even then, many options and such aren’t offered such as adaptive suspensions, sport seats, etc.

      BMW can afford to bring over 800 slightly different variants of the 3 series because they sell so many more cars overall.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        And yet I am not so sure I believe this is true. Too many industry people have said things on the record like Cadillac saying the break even on the CTS-V wagon being only a couple dozen cars. I really find it hard to believe that 34mm in ride height and some added plastic make the Allroad different enough to have to separately certify it.

        I think it is very simply that most people who would buy a regular Avant are perfectly happy to buy the Allroad instead, for quite a bit more money. Money that is pure profit, since the added cost of the Allroad to produce is about $1.50. Any sales they losing are more than made up for by those added profits. Exact same reason we don’t get various existing wagon versions of cars we get as sedans here – the automakers can sell the CUV version for way more money.

        I really think BMW and MB have a little backroom deal in play. MB sells the E-wagon here but not the C-wagon, BMW sells the 3 but not the 5. Everyone goes home happy.

        • 0 avatar
          oleksandros

          Yes I’m sure the profit margins on allroads of all colours and stripes are higher than the base models. Slap some plastic on there, add some height and if you have a decent awd system then throw that in there too and you’re going to get more for your product. VW discovered this a while ago and I must say new Passat wagon all done up rough looks alright. The Octavia is getting the treatment too. Its all the rage in VAG-land it seems.

          Shame about the c class, it’s a pretty thing and the W204 in particular.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          krhodes1 wrote: “I really find it hard to believe that 34mm in ride height and some added plastic make the Allroad different enough to have to separately certify it.”

          Isn’t the tall version classified as a “truck” and the short one classified as a “car” for CAFE?

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Try to park a standard Avant in the USA and odds are very good you’ll hang its underside on a curb or parking space buffer. Not good for the Avant nor your pocketbook.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      And yet somehow people manage to park the A4 sedan with no issues. If it was all about the added height, why aren’t jacked up sedans popular? Americans love sedans, Americans love wagons on stilts, so why don’t Americans love sedans on stilts?

      Ultimately, I don’t care anymore. I have my proper RWD, 6spd stick, sporting station wagon and I plan to keep it until I am old and gray. This sort of silliness with the Allroad is great for my wallet, removes all temptation to buy another one.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Yeah, I don’t understand how the parking blocks in the US would affect Audi wagon sales but not Audi sedan sales.

        • 0 avatar
          tnk479

          Nearly everyone buys the parking radar and it makes it easy to never hit anything while parking.

          BMW has a button just to the left of the transmission selector and you just push it as you’re pulling in and that turns on park mode. I’m sure Audi offers the same.

    • 0 avatar
      b534202

      I love seeing people land their entire front overhang onto the sidewalk when they park. Bonus if it makes a scraping noise.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Audi follow the playbook of Subaru with the Outback and Legacy wagon. Yet the author, is he new, just makes snide comments.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Not only don’t we like low step in, but we can’t use a clutch and we love black plastic around our wheel wells. Well everyone but me, but don’t worry about it Audi, I can’t afford you any more.

  • avatar
    Paddan

    I honestly don’t understand what people see in Audi. They are fancied up VWs that last about as long. I owned a new 6 speed Allroad in 2003, my wife had an 80 in the late ’80s and she had an A4 too. None of them were great cars by any measure including mechanically. The new ones are overpriced IMHO. Seeing older ones are like finding hens teeth.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      I see tons of decade+ old Audis in NE.

      How can it be a fancied up VW when it’s built on a platform shared with 0 VW models?

      • 0 avatar
        Paddan

        Really? What about MQB and engines? And historically shared platforms? I don’t see a ton of Audis in the Northeast much older than 10 years old. I’m talking about 20-30 year old ones. Forget about 40-45 year old 100 LS, Super 90 and Fox models.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          This car is on MLB, not MQB. The only Audis on MQB are the A3 and TT (and Q3 will move to it with a redesign presumably as its currently on the predecessor to MQB).

  • avatar
    George B

    Does the extra 34 mm of ground clearance let Audi sell the A4 Allroad as a truck instead of a car? If I remember correctly, some combination of height and cargo area was enough to qualify for more favorable fuel economy regulations in the US.

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