The allroad was designed with the capability to tackle rough road conditions in mind; its standard adjustable air suspension system can lift the car high enough to provide 208mm (8in) of ground clearance and a low-range mode, absent from other quattro-equipped vehicles, can be selected with the touch of a button. When used in conjunction, the two systems made it possible for the allroad to complete an official Land Rover test-course, thus far it is the only car-based SUV that has been proven capable of doing so in testing.
Conversely, the air suspension can lower the vehicle down to only 142mm (6in) above road level and simultaneously stiffen the spring and damper rates to provide a sporty driving experience much like that of the conventional A6 with the sports suspension. Many owners choose to fit their allroad with a sportier, road oriented tire to emphasize its sporty side, as most owners will never venture onto terrain rough enough to necessitate having a tire specifically designed for off-road conditions.
Audi's 2.7L, twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine with 250PS (247hp/184kW) of power and 350N·m (258lb·ft) of peak torque was available initially, alongside the 2.5L TDI Diesel unit with 132kW (180PS) and 370Nm (273ft·lbf) torque. A variant of the corporate 4.2 V8 gasoline engine, shared with the Audi S4 (B6/B7), was made available in 2003, first in North America and later in other markets, and a less powerful TDI (163bhp) followed in 2004.
Despite this versatility and generally positive word of mouth from owners and magazine reviews, allroad sales failed expectations in the North American market for which it was originally intended. Oddly, most of its sales came from Europe, especially its native Germany. Its somewhat high price, lack of market identity in its segment and Audi's ambiguous advertising seem to have been the primary contributing factors; buyers who tend to normally seek either the more car-like look and ride of station wagons or the larger, less ambiguous styling of sport utility vehicles tended to reject the allroad as being too little like either.