AUDI A4 ALLROAD: whistling up the lederhosen of the opposition

1224018_Audi A4 Allroad_056SAYING Audi’s A4 range has been part of a German blitzkrieg of the UK premium sector would be something of an under-statement.

The big three Hermanns (Audi/BMW/Mercedes Benz) account for a whoppingly large portion of the classy sector of the market, so when one makes a move the others take note.

And rightly so because the all new A4 – with its focus set on comfort and technology in equal measure – is a car to seriously consider if you’re in the £30,000 plus buying bracket.

1223618_Audi A4 Allroad_004What we have here in the A4 Allroad quattro is a very stylish car with four wheel drive go anywhere capabilities, and the ideal machine if you’re not inclined to buy a big SUV with its trademark high and large body.

And on roads where most cars suspension would be crashing around like a drawer full of cutlery, the Audi literally floats through the sweeps and dips in the road.

It’s one of those cars that almost gives you a feeling of invincibility. Then pretty quickly you remember that you are actually just one lucky bloke with a loyal and supportive wife, well sorted kids and a couple of dogs that dish out the affection when they want something. Like feeding, or a walk.

1320925_quattro rel A4 allroad 1Here is a manufacturer that is still spending billions of euros every year on product development and shows no sign of cutting back. And some of that sack of euros must be being continually spent on perfecting the build quality, fit and finish of every new Audi because this model in particular is hard to fault.

Where this latest version really blows up the lederhosen of the opposition is in the way it now drives. It might well be a bit softer and a bit more comfortable but it now also gives you something back. A big smile on your face because it’s such an easy car to live with.

1223591_Audi A4 Allroad_001Now, for a biggish estate it has quite a low, sleek profile, erring on the conservative side – so much so that getting in is almost a step down (because the seats are now mounted lower) but it’s well worth it once you’re in.

The A4 is impeccably well built – just look at the quality of the paintwork, even in areas that you don’t normally see, and the sheer quality of the interior. Switches that operate with a reassuring click, high grade plastics and fabrics. A true premium built car brimming with the latest technology.

The A4 moniker was first used in 1995 (before that it was the Audi 80 for all you historians) and if you look back at the interior of that car and compare it with the latest it’s mind bogglingly impressive how far they – and indeed we in general – have come in just 20 years.

200242_068425100_1240243014There is now an enormous mount of information at your fingertips, via the centrally mounted touchscreen, the Virtual Cockpit option and its user friendly 12.3 inch hi-res display and via the many buttons on the steering wheel.
You know yourself when you’re in a traffic jam denser than an uncharted region of the Amazonian rain forest, but the Google map display on the TFT screen in front of you can clearly show you the extent of the suffering for other road users and hence give you a more accurate insight into how long you’ll be held up.

It feels well connected to the road, with steering that is so precise and light yet still manages to convey decent feedback about what the front wheels are up to.

And all the exterior work has helped to make noise in the cabin almost a thing of the past. Accelerate hard and there’s not a lot of wind or engine noise to note, accentuating the prestige feel of the Allroad.

FOR: Audi quality, style, lots of kit.
AGAINST: £1350 park assistance pack but no reversing camera

FASTFACTS: Audi A4 Allroad quattro Sport; £41,295; 1968cc turbocharged diesel, 190ps, 400Nm; seven speed dual clutch transmission; top speed 136mph, 0-62mph 7.8secs; fuel (17 inch wheels) – urban 51.4, extra urban 61.4, combined 57.6; CO2 128g/km; will it fit the garage? 4750/1842/1493 (l/w/h).

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