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Old 08-23-2006, 10:18 AM   #1
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Location: Bergen, Norway
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Default Audi A6 Allroad 2.7TDi Quattro

I was at my dealer the other day to get a quotation on the familyís hard worker, a `99 Seat Alahambra 1.9 TDi. Itís been used pretty rough and has almost 200.000kms on the clock, so I was curious to what they would offer. The reason why my dealer is giving a quote is that weíre using it as part-payment for a new Audi Q7 3.0 TDi S-Line. The dealer told me it would take about 2 hours for them to go through the car, and he wondered if I would like to borrow a car in the meantime. You should have seen my eyes when he threw me the keys to a brand spanking new fully specked 2007 A6 Allroad.

Many people in the worlds car industry have predicted that the glory-days of the luxury SUV is about to end. A lot of analytics also seem to think that Europeans and Americans are starting to get a negative attitude towards gas guzzling large SUVís that take up most of the road, and because of their size can be a potential danger to other road users and pedestrians. If this is true Audi was too late in the market with their new flagship, the Q7.

The new Allroad on the other hand, could show to be a bullís-eye. The Allroad isnít as loud-mouthed as a full grown SUV, but it has the qualities. It has four wheel drive and high ground-clearance. This gives it good drivability in rough terrain, snowy roads, and probably most important, it can climb big curbs. Many of the car-analytics predict this kind of vehicle, the crossover, to increase in popularity in the future.

Audi may have miss timed the launch of the Q7, but in the crossover segment, it was pretty early. The first generation Allroad came as early as 2000. This is the second generation, and Iíll try to look at the differences and similarities between the old Allroad, and the new A6. An important difference between the 1st gen. and the 2nd, is the name. As the old one was only called Allroad, the new one is called A6 Allroad. This may seem like an unimportant detail, but it tells a lot about Audiís thought-process. The first time they launched an Allroad, Audi didnít have a tall 4x4. Then it was important to separate the A6 and the Allroad, so that the Allroad would look like a proper option to a large SUV. Hence the name Allroad, and hence the great effort Audi did in giving it good rough terrain capabilities. Today Audi have a SUV to compete with BMW X5, Range Rover, Volvo XC90, and Mercedes-Benz ML. So because this part of the line-up is covered by the Q7, the new Allroad getís a new mission. To attract customers that wants the same rough-terrain capabilities without having to identify with the luxury SUVís. This meant that Audi didnít have to go overboard in designing a completely new car when the new Allroad was under development. All that was needed was higher ground clearance and a discrete modified design. So what did Audi actually do?

First of all, Audi have given the Allroad air-suspension as standard. This gives the owner a choice between five settings, from ďdynamicĒ to ďliftĒ. Lift gives the Allroad 18.5cm (7.3in) of ground clearance. In dynamic, it is lowered to 12.5cm (4.9in), which is only 0.7cm over a normal A6 without air-suspension. In dynamic setting it is hard to feel the difference from the A6 to the Allroad. Is has the same sporty handling with little leaning in turns, but it is also very comfortable. This is in complete contrast to the Volvo XC70 which is a lot softer and less sporty than its origin, the V70.

Except from the extra high ground-clearance in the air suspension settings, it is very little that separates the Allroad from a normal A6. The interior is pretty much the same, and besides some new floor mats, some new seat covers they look identically. On the outside on the other hand, there is a lot to look at compared to the normal A6. The first you notice is the aluminium skid-sheets under each bumper. You see that the grille has gotten the vertical chrome bars first seen on the new S models. I donít know if it is because of the skid-plate which uses a lot of space in the grille that Audi hasnít fitted their radar guided cruise control. This is a real shame in a car this expensive, especially when so many new cars have this fitted. Even though Iíve listed a lot of differences between the Allroad and the A6, they share most of the parts. Among others they share bonnet, rear and front lights, rear hatch, windows, etc. You would then presume that the price difference wouldnít be that big?

All the Allroad engines offered now are pretty powerful, but with a starting price of nearly NOK 700.000,- ($115.000,-) the Allroad will not be available to as many as the A6. The Allroad is first introduces with two petrol engines and two diesel engines. The cheapest one is a 2.7 TDi with commonrail technology and variable turbine geometry. This gives it 180hp and 380Nm. This can oddly enough only be delivered with Audiís tiptronic. Price: NOK 679.000,- For this price you get a 493 by 186cm big station wagon with air suspension and four wheel drive. The 4x4 is Audis well proven mechanical torsen differential based solution which delivers 50 percent of the power to the back and 50 percent to the front. Many believed until the Allroad launch, that it would get the new 40/60 split as the new S4, RS4, S6, S8 and Q7 has gotten.
In addition to this you get 8 airbags, rear and front belt-tighteners and ESP. The ESP is like in the Q7, you can not turn it off, but you can hold the button in, and get a more ďliberalĒ off-road setting.
You also get the normal cruisecontrol, MMI (without NAVI), rainsensor, multifunction steeringwheel, dual zone air-condition, and í17 wheels.

If you compare this level of extras which are included in the Allroad, when you spec the normal A6 with the same, you end up with a price difference of only NOK 9.000,- ($1.500) This is mostly because of the air suspension which will set you back NOK 23.000,-. ($3.800) Its direct competitor the Volvo XC70 is NOK 70.000,- ($12.000,-) cheaper. This includes the Volvo D5 engine (185hp-400Nm), and the equipment level called Momentum. It is worth mentioning that you get a quite smaller car, and no air suspension. Then maybe NOK 70.000,- isnít that bad?

What about big brother Q7? The Q7 can only be delivered with the 3.0TDi engine. If you choose this in the Allroad you end up with a price of NOK 789.000,- ($129.000) the Q7 is then only NOK 58.000,- ($9.500) over at NOK 847.000,- ($138.500,-) But you then donít get the air suspension in the Q7. The small difference is however worth mentioning.
The 3.0 TDI engine is a really great engine, but with a price difference of NOK 110.000,- ($18.000) there is no way the extra power over the 2.7TDi is justified. I donít think the petrol options will be chosen by a lot of customers. The3.2FSI is a well proven and good engine, and some customers might choose this one, but the 4.2FSI gives the Allroad a startingprice of almost NOK 1.200.000,- ($196.000.-) This is only because of the ridiculous levels of taxes we have in Norway. If you live in a country without these prices, go for the 3.0TDi or the 4.2FSI. They are both great engines, and give the Allroad that little extra star in the overall assessment.

"Driving the R8 is like smearing honey into Keira Knightly!" - Jeremy Clarkson
"In principle, this car is too fast for my thoughts!" (Walter RŲhrl about the 600+hp Audi S1 Sport)
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Old 08-24-2006, 10:20 AM   #2
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Location: Lugano, Switzerland
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Thanks for the review. I never liked the previous model Allroad but the new one is much better!
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