2001 allroad New Car Test Drive
Audi has chosen to dub its new vehicle 'allroad' without an initial capital letter. But that's the least of what makes this new turbocharged all-wheel-drive wagon different. It is one slippery machine to pigeonhole.
Want 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.
Want 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.
Want 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 both on dry roads and those with slippery surfaces. Yet 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 different 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.
One model is available; the allroad quattro wagon starts at $41,900.
Audi allroad comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A $1000 option brings the five-speed automatic with Tiptronic. With the 'Tip' selected a degree of manual control of the gears is permitted. (A second set of controls on the steering wheel allows fingertip shifting.) A number of individual options-a Premium Bose sound system for instance, a sunroof and a special rear-facing bench seat suitable for children that locks in the cargo space-are available as well as several packages:
The Premium Package ($900) includes Xenon High Intensity Discharge headlights, auto-dimming mirrors both inside and out, memory for both driver and passenger seats and the ability to electrically fold the exterior mirrors close to the car.
A Convenience Package ($800) includes heatable seats (front and rear), the multi-function steering wheel (controls for the radio and Tiptronic) and the HomeLink transmitter (for opening garage doors and turning on houselights remotely). A Warm-Weather Package ($1750) offers a solar sunroof (a sun-powered cooling system for the interior when parked) and sunshades for the rear side windows.
A Guidance Package ($1630) includes the Audi Navigation system (with one map CD) and a rear-facing acoustic parking system.