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By Jim Flammang
September 26, 2003
Vehicle Overview Modifications to Audis SUV-like wagon were modest for 2003. The Allroad Quattro 2.7T model sees no changes for the 2004 model year, but a new 4.2 edition has been added to the lineup. Equipped with a 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 engine and a five-speed Tiptronic transmission, the new model has side curtain-type airbags, a four-position pneumatic suspension, low-beam xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights and five-spoke 18-inch wheels. Either Sirius or XM satellite radio can be installed.
Though its essentially an A6 Avant wagon made to look roughly 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 SUV rivals as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, car-based SUVs like the BMW X5 and Lexus RX 330, and all-wheel-drive wagons such as the Volvo V70 and XC70.
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. Riding a 108.5-inch wheelbase, the Allroad Quattro is 189.4 inches long overall.
Five people fit inside 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 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. Options include a glass sunroof, Bose sound, a navigation system, and heated front and rear seats.
Under the Hood
Using twin turbochargers, the 2.7-liter V-6 engine generates 250 hp. 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. A 300-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 engine is also offered. Audis permanently engaged quattro all-wheel-drive 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 optional. LATCH child-safety seat lower anchors and tethers are installed for the outer rear seating positions.
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.