2003 allroad New Car Test Drive
The Audi allroad quattro comes close to being all things to all people.
Need a sedan? The allroad is luxurious. Comfortable leather seats give it corner-office elegance thanks to the tone-on-tone interior with warm wood trim and aluminum accents. The bi-turbo V6 engine is quiet, smooth and responsive, and puts out 250 horsepower. A car of this quality provides a true touring experience.
Need a station wagon? The allroad carries a flexible mix of people and their effects. A lift-up back opens on the cargo space, netted to hold objects in place, with room left for five people.
Need an SUV? The allroad will transport you as the name suggests over anything that makes lines on maps and many that do not. Interstates, secondary highways, twisting country lanes, and backcountry dirt roads are no problem. Even rough, rocky routes to remote fishing spots or hunting blinds are within its capability. Its full-time all-wheel drive is the venerable and venerated Audi quattro system that maximizes traction potential on dry roads and slippery surfaces.
The foundation of the allroad's versatility in so many differing conditions is its variable ground clearance. A pneumatic suspension system, electronically controlled, allows a choice of four ride heights. Choose the one suitable for sports sedan handling on winding roads and straightaway security on high-speed highways. Or select the highest setting for deep snow or rock-strewn, rutted roads. There's also an automatic load leveling system that's handy when carrying as many as seven people.
One model is available; the allroad quattro wagon starts at $39,900.
Standard equipment includes a six-speed manual transmission. A $1050 option brings the five-speed automatic with Tiptronic, which permits a degree of manual control of the gears. (A second set of controls on the steering wheel allows fingertip shifting.)
Rear side airbags ($350) are an option.
A number of individual options are available, as are several option packages: a Premium Bose sound system ($750) for instance, a sunroof ($1000) and a removable rear-facing bench seat ($750) that locks into the cargo space for children. Heated front and rear seats ($550) are available as is the Audi Navigation System ($1350). But be aware that adding such options and option packages can be expensive. Our test version allroad was priced at nearly $50,000.
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