Modifications to Audis SUV-like wagon are modest for the 2003 model year. The prewiring for a CD changer and steering-wheel controls for the Tiptronic transmission have been removed. A passenger-side seat memory is no longer offered as a standard feature. LATCH child-safety seat lower anchors and tethers are equipped for both outer rear seating positions, but an interior monitoring system has been decoupled from the alarm.
Though it is essentially an A6 Avant made to look like a sport utility vehicle, Audi claims that the Allroad Quattro delivers better on-road ride and handling qualities than regular SUV models. The Allroad Quattro competes against such upscale rivals as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, car-based SUVs like the BMW X5 and Lexus RX 300, and all-wheel-drive (AWD) wagons such as the Volvo V70.
To create the Allroad Quattro, Audi began with an A6 Avant and added larger gray bumpers, wheel-arch trim and bodyside cladding. Developers reached beyond paint and plastic components by installing unique 17-inch tires with tread thats said to be suited for offroad travel. An electronic air suspension adjusts ground clearance to four levels, from a maximum of 8.2 inches for offroad excursions to a minimum of 5.6 inches for highway cruising. At its greatest height, the Allroad Quattro has more clearance than some car-based SUVs, including the BMW X5.
Five passengers fit in the Allroad Quattro with its standard seating. The wagon features Cricket leather-upholstered sport front bucket seats and a three-place, 60/40-split, folding rear bench. A two-place rear-facing third seat is optional. Designed for children, the third seat folds into the cargo floor when its not in use, and it can be removed completely. Cargo volume measures 36.4 cubic feet with the rear seat up and 73.2 cubic feet when its folded down.
The walnut-trimmed interior includes an eight-speaker 140-watt sound system that has both cassette and six-CD players. The Radio Broadcast Display System shows station call letters and other information, and the stereo volume changes based on vehicle speed. Both front seats have a 12-way power adjustment feature. Options include a glass sunroof, Bose sound, a navigation system, a version of GMs OnStar communication system, and heated front and rear seats.
Under the Hood
Using twin turbochargers, the 2.7-liter V-6 engine generates 250 horsepower. It mates with either a six-speed-manual gearbox or a five-speed-automatic transmission with a Tiptronic manual-selection provision and a Sport mode. Audis permanently engaged quattro AWD system distributes power among the four wheels to maintain peak traction.
Antilock brakes, Audis Electronic Stabilization Program, side curtain-type airbags and side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard. Rear-seat side-impact airbags are offered as optional equipment.
Like all Audis, the Allroad Quattro is solidly built, civilized and refined its a serious vehicle that lacks nothing of consequence. This beautiful road machine brandishes taut, extra-precise handling skills, as well as satisfying ride comfort and sterling performance. The Allroad Quattro stays firmly planted through demanding curves, and it hugs the pavement with passion.
A bounty of gauges and switches are lushly orange-lit at night, which is quite a sight. One test wagon with the automatic transmission suffered a touchy gas pedal, but this could have been an aberration.