The History Of AUDI Allroad
The Audi allroad quattro and Audi A6 allroad quattro are mid-size estate/ station wagon executive cars, produced by German automaker Audi since 1999. Based on the Audi A6 Avant, the A6 allroad quattro remains in production for Europe, but not for North America as of December, 2008.
The first generation allroad shares its platform with the second generation "C5" Audi A6 mid-size car / executive car and its rear end is almost identical to the A6 Avant, the station wagon version. The main differences are an advanced air suspension system, larger wheels with all-terrain tires and flared and unpainted bumpers, giving it a distinct appearance and more overall flexibility over varying terrain. Audi's Torsen-based quattro permanent four-wheel drive system is standard equipment for all versions. It is believed that Audi introduced the allroad due to the success of the Subaru Outback, however on a larger platform and with a larger, more powerful engine.
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.
Sales had a slight increase in 2004, due to the availability of the less expensive Diesel engine, but fell again in 2005. Audi stopped production of the allroad in July of that year. Although the model continued to be available for sale throughout 2006 in Europe, there was no 2006 model year for North America.
Audi announced the second generation allroad in the spring of 2005 and released it in the summer of 2006. This new model is called the Audi A6 allroad quattro (unlike the previous version, which was merely called Audi allroad quattro, with no reference to the A6). The car features again adaptive air suspension and new quattro permanent four-wheel drive system. The A6 allroad is powered by a choice of two Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) petrol engines, a 3.2L V6 and a 4.2L V8, and two TDI diesel engines, a 180PS (132kW) 2.7L and a 233PS (171kW) 3.0L. The Tiptronic gearbox is standard on the 4.2 V8 and the 2.7 TDI, but optional on the 3.2 FSI and 3.0 TDI. The new 6-speed Tiptronic transmission system converts high-torque engine power into both sporty performance and operating convenience, with crisp, fast gear changes. Advanced electronics respond efficiently to all driver input in both D (Drive) and S (Sport) programmes, helping to prevent unwanted upshifts when cornering. The five-mode air suspension can be raised by up to 60mm to provide ground clearance of 185mm which is better than the older four-mode. The car features a number of off-road styling cues including larger bumpers and sills.
In some European markets, the new A6 allroad quattro is more expensive than the larger Audi Q7, but air suspension is an expensive option in the Q7. In its native country, Germany, it costs a few hundred euros less than the Q7.
The second generation is currently not available in North America.
To date, the A6 allroad quattro model has received critical acclaim, thanks to a lower price than the larger Q7, an enjoyable driving experience, some off-road credentials and a superb quality cabin.
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