Audi A6 Allroad 55 TFSI Quattro Sport 5dr S tronic [C+S Pack]
Because the A6 Allroad is diesel-only, and because it sells in smaller numbers than Audi’s hordes of SUVs, there’s a slight sense that this car hasn’t had a lot of investment lavished on it this time around. A few niggles, that threaten spoiling a likeable package.
The ride, for example. All Allroads come with air suspension as standard, so the car can hunker down lower when cruising – like a normal A6 Avant – or jack itself up to scramble out of the muddy festival car park or rutted campsite. All very sensible and useful. Problem is, even on the standard 19-inch wheels, the ride is a touch jarring over our roads.
It’s certainly happiest on motorways, where the car takes compressions professionally, but when you’re escaping the town or perhaps on an unloved part of the network – and let’s face it, this thing is supposed to suit a rural mindset – then the car simply isn’t absorbent enough. You feel the bumps as much as you hear them as the heavy wheels clatter across imperfections. As a result it’s best to leave everything in Comfort mode, as the car does relax noticeably and the caveat of more body roll is well worth it.
The other issue lurks within the powertrain. Audi supplies the Allroad with diesel power only, coming courtesy of a V6-turbodiesel engine with either 228bhp and 368lb ft or a meatier 282bhp and 453lb ft. In Audi’s nonsensical badging mayhem, the entry level car is badged ’45 TDI’ and the gruntier one ’50 TDI’ No, neither do we.
Anyway, because there’s only one engine and only two power levels, Audi’s seen sense to only offer one gearbox. An open-gated dogleg manual. Hah, only kidding. It’s Audi’s eight-speed automatic. Which we’ve tended to prefer to Audi’s recent S-tronic DCT efforts as it’s smoother.
Here, it isn’t. It hesitates and panics and hunts for gears, the changes aren’t swift or smooth enough and a hybrid-assisted engine with over 450lb ft of torque ends up feeling reedy and underpowered because the gearbox has an uncanny superpower to avoid the rich torque band and leave the engine either lagging or overrevving. So, the usually refined Audi V6 gets hot under the collar and intrusively boomy. Over time, you’ll learn to drive around the gearbox’s latency and not snag the kickdown tripwire, but it’s not as good as it should be. Or as good as it used to be. Or, frankly, as good as a Mercedes-E-Class All-Terrain.
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