Overview: Audi A6 Allroad
The third generation of Audi’s A6 Allroad has surfaced. It’s available with four engine options: a directly-fuelled all-alloy 2995cc petrol V6 of 310PS and 440Nm; two 2967cc V6 TDIs with variable turbocharger nozzle geometry, offering either 204PS and 450Nm or 245PS and 580Nm; and a twin-turbocharged version of the TDI, known as the BiTDI, with 313PS and 650Nm. The petrol-powered three-litre TFSI uses a mechanically-driven supercharger with two intercoolers, one for each bank; there’s also a flap on each side to trim the intake airflow.
As we would expect, Audi is claiming substantial reductions in fuel consumption compared with the previous Allroad, with much of the improvements down to thermal management, stop-start systems and weight-saving.
Drive is to all wheels, by way of two slightly different Quattro transmissions — the BiTDI uses its own unique system to cope with this variant’s substantial torque. Adaptive air suspension is standard, offering four ride-heights.
Like the saloon and conventional Avant estate, the A6 Allroad is built using lightweight materials quite widely: aluminium components make up roughly 20 per cent. of its body, while total vehicle mass has been reduced by up to around 70kg compared with the previous model.
The three single-blower diesels drive through Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; the BiTDI uses ZF’s eight-speed 8HP automatic transmission.
The latest incarnation of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system normally divides torque 40:60 front-to-rear — a much preferable arrangement to the original eighties Quattro’s 60:40 split, which delivered pretty heavy understeer. The body rises or lowers automatically on its four-level air springs according to the driving conditions.
Electromechanical power steering has been adopted. An optional ‘dynamic’ steering system adjusts the steering ratio to the road speed. This can be combined with an optional sport differential that can rapidly vary torque distribution between the rear wheels.
Inside, satellite navigation is standard, along with the Audi parking system plus, cruise control, Bluetooth mobile phone preparation, light and rain sensors and the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system. The Multi Media Interface (MMI) is linked to a 16cm retractable colour display.
Audi Drive Select allows the driver to adjust the operating characteristics of the electroc power steering, the air suspension, the accelerator, the automatic transmission, the automatic air conditioning and the lighting. It offers five modes: Comfort, Dynamic, Automatic, Individual and Efficiency. When the optional sport differential, dynamic steering and adaptive cruise control systems are fitted, these can also be fine-tuned using the Drive Select system.
Technophiles can indulge themselves by specifying the Mobile Phone Preparation (High) option with Audi connect. This brings online services to the car using UMTS (3G), including Google Earth mapping, Google Street View, the Audi traffic information online function — which uses mobile phone signals to pinpoint traffic congestion or accident blackspots in real time — and Audi music stream web radio. It also creates a Wi-Fi hotspot inside the car.
The list of safety-related systems includes radar-based adaptive cruise control, an active lane assist lane departure warning system, blind spot detection and night vision using thermal imaging.