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While its premium brand rivals make moves to try and encroach into Audi's previously unchallenged position as provider of four-wheel drive executive models, none are yet going as far as the VW-owned brand in terms of the Allroad.
The BMW 3-series xDrive and Mercedes-Benz C-class 4Matic are all-wheel drive versions of the regular models, which Audi also offers in the form of the A4 quatttro. However, this A4 Allroad is a more capable off-roader, thanks to the 34mm of increased ground clearance and butch looks that enhance a regular A4 Avant via the addition of a unique radiator grille, bumpers, side sills, and wheel arch cladding. There's also an additional off-road mode added to the Audi Drive Select system.
Emissions drop by 12-16g/km versus the previous-generation A4 Allroad, with the most efficient model in the range being the 190hp 2.0-litre TDI at 132g/km, while the 272hp 3.0-litre - the only model available to test at the launch event - emits 143g/km. The 252hp 2.0 petrol model, at 152g/km, is the first Audi to incorporate the latest efficient all-wheel drive technology, where the 4x4 system is deactivated during normal use but available instantly when required.
On the road, there's a bit more bounce and wallow for the Allroad, which is set up with more of a comfort orientation than the regular estate, although that is more noticeable over crests or on poorer road surfaces than through bends, where it feels like a pretty regular A4.
What about its rivals?
There's not really a rival for this top-end powertrain among the likes of the Volvo V60 Cross Country, VW Passat Alltrack and Peugeot 508 RXH, which are all more in line with the 2.0-litre diesel Allroad. However, it is worth noting that the 3.0-litre A4 is a BIK band lower than the Volvo, and is only one behind the Passat, despite offering an additional 82hp of power over either. But those cars are thousands of pounds cheaper, which means they are more cost-effective to run, even with the Audi's residual value advantage.
The butch styling cues help lift the A4 Allroad above the level of a regular Avant, and the driving experience, aside from a ride quality that isn't quite as satisfactory as the regular A4, is to a large extent unaltered. The 2.0-litre TDI is in the right ballpark in terms of costs versus rivals, but this top-end model is something of an indulgence purchase.
Audi A4 Allroad 3.0 TDI 272hp Sport auto
Model price range £25,845-£42,395
Residual value 36.4%
Service, maintenance and repair £3109
Vehicle Excise Duty £435
National Insurance £5265
Cost per mile 87.5p
Fuel consumption 52.3mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 143g/km (28%)
BIK 20/40% per month £198/£396
Boot space (min/max) 505/1510 litres
Engine size/power 2967cc/272hp
Allroad package is tempting, but less so at this expensive top-end level
Better off-road capability for very little P11D or efficiency penalty
Floatier ride sensation thanks to increased ride height, high power makes it an expensive option