Review: 2016 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TDI 190

Review: 2016 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TDI 190
Review: 2016 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TDI 190

This is the most sensible version of Audi’s crossover estate – but it’s still hard to see why you’d not spend the money on a proper SUV instead

It’s not unknown for smaller 4x4s to be available in two-wheel drive form at the entry-level end of the range. Way before the term ‘faux-by-four’ was invented, the Nissan X-Trail and Toyota RAV4 were showing the way ahead with 4×2 models – in fact, even the Land Rover Defender was, deep in its history, available in RWD-only form.

2016 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TDI 190 quattro S tronic
★★★★

Audi A4 Allroad

Price £36,010Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, diesel
Power 187bhp @ 3800-4200rpm
Torque 295Ib ft @ 1750-3000rpm
Gearbox seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Kerb weight 1640kg
Top speed 136mph
0-62mph 7.8sec
Economy 57.6mpg
CO2/tax band 128g/km/25%

But a front-wheel-drive version of an all-wheel-drive version of a front-wheel-drive car? That’s just ridiculous.

Not ridiculous enough to stop Audi from offering the A4 Allroad with just the two driven wheels. Which you might think is a bit pointless.

We certainly do. So while it’s normally the case that when we test an entry-level model, we go to the bottom of the range, here we’re pitching in at the bottom of the 4×4 range.

Hence the £36,010 price tag on this, the A4 Allroad 2.0 TDI 190 quattro S tronic auto. That’s getting close to Q5 territory, so maybe the real point of the 4×2 alternative is to make the range look less extravagantly expensive, because losing the front prop will save you a hefty five grand.

As it is, you could spend a load more on the 3.0 TDI and only get another 15bhp, so this 2.0 TDI 190 feels like a smart choice. The bigger engine does it more smoothly, but you won’t be wanting for refinement – it’s quiet and low on vibration, and you could spend your whole life not noticing the auto box changing gear.

Further down the drivetrain, the quattro system brings in the rear wheels when required. In most owners’ hands, this will happen at a wet T-junction or when there’s a quarter of an inch of snow on their drive, and once again you’re unlikely ever to notice it, but if you push the Allroad hard in corners you can feel its balance shifting as the rear wheels intervene.

Despite this, it’s more confidence-inspiring than grin-raising to chuck about. It’s not quite as polished as the regular A4 to steer, and despite not feeling as tautly sprung it starts to fidget on the sort of roads in which Britain specialises.

Audi A4 Allroad

The corollary is that it rides with greater relaxation on the motorway, which is a very SUV kind of thing. On a fast A-road, though, you’re apt to feel it getting light over crests – all of which can be attributed to a suspension lift of coming on for an inch and a half.

Of course, even with this it’s not a fully fledged off-roader. But sloppy tracks with enough grip underneath are meat and drink to it, and on slippery roads it’s in its element. It’s the kind of car that’s very relevant if you live somewhere that gets a lot of troublesome weather – which does include parts of Britain, hard as that might be to believe if you live in a city.

Thus the all-wheel drive element does matter to people buying a car of this nature, which is why we’d expect this cheapest quattro model to be the big seller in the A4 Allroad range. Cheapness is relative, though – and even in the mid-£30k bracket, you’re definitely paying for top-notch build and material quality typical of an Audi’s cabin.

Audi A4 Allroad

Nonetheless, up at the top of the A4 Allroad range you’re only an option or two away from spending the sort of money the rest of the country set will be taking to a Land Rover dealer for a new Discovery 5. You can decide for yourself which you’d sooner be seen in – or indeed, which will give you the sort of driving position you really want when negotiating grotted-up county lanes.

That argument covers all SUVs, of course (and there are plenty of those, even premium ones, at the same sort of price as this cheapest A4 Allroad quattro). But if a car-derived crossover is for you, and you really want it to be an Audi, this is as sensible an option as you’re going to get.

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