Mountain Wheels: Stunning Audi A6 Allroad achieves wagon utopia (updated)￼
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the model’s continued availability in the United States.
While I would like to see a world filled with fast, efficient and practically sized vehicles, I am often at odds with the whims of the car-buying public.
Thus, the sleek, attractive and warmly luxurious Audi A6 Allroad wagon is the kind of car I would love to own, given its design, its considerable power and its driving character.
It appears, however, that many drivers seek a largely detached and increasingly weaponized driving experience, in tall and awkward SUVs or full-sized pickups, so what do I know, really?
The elegant and almost full-sized A6 Allroad wagon and its one-size smaller A4 version were recently discontinued in the United Kingdom, but they’re both very much alive in the U.S. and will soon appear as 2024 models. A 2022 model I drove, priced at $81,840, is a testament to that; the 2023 A6 Allroad starts at $67,000.
I very much enjoyed the Allroad’s comfortable scale, with a large passenger compartment and almost SUV-styled storage space in the rear, plus the smooth but capable 335 horsepower from a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. The Allroad is impressively quiet and also got nearly 30 mpg during highway drives.
You can also count on the winter-beating sophistication of Quattro all-wheel drive and an air lift system that provides a modicum of extra clearance for snow travel or light off-roading.
Unlike your standard family SUV, Allroad corners, brakes and travels like a sports car, rather than a tippy shopping cart. It has the same luxurious interior and navigation/video control suite as the Audi SUVs, but the low-to-the-road feeling is exquisite, provided you are someone who actually likes actively driving.
Its low-slung demeanor, with a semi-imposing wall of black grille and animated-at-start head and brake lamps, can very much hold its own in a world of trucks and SUVs, and speed and power is no problem. You do run the risk of being mowed down by Ford Raptors or backed over by lifted F-250s, so I can see how some less-enthused drivers might fear the automobile’s more traditional shape and size.
Like many Audis, it’s a decidedly low-drama affair, with the traditional low-gloss metallic paint job and a sleek interior now almost entirely devoid of hard button controls. A glossy black panel stretches across the cabin, containing the main MMI navigation screen, and below it is an almost too-large second touchscreen, which electronically offers HVAC controls and can be used as a scratchpad for text input. Drive mode select, defroster and hazard lights are haptic controls just below that; that’s pretty much it for cabin features.
All of this sits below a wide, flat stitched-leather dash with pop-up speakers for the spectacular Bang and Olufsen 3D sound system. There’s real hardwood trim, real metal edging to everything and loads of sumptuous leather, including the wide and flat door tops.
Cruising is silent and swift, universally. You’ll need to add fully-dedicated winter tires to get the grip you need on ice, though I managed a trip over a glazed-over Loveland Pass and still had enough mass for competent control on largely grip-free 20-inch all-seasons.
You can manually shift the seven-speed transmission via paddles or by tapping on the console gear shifter, and access power quite instantaneously.
Safety systems have now caught up in much of the automotive world but Audi was still way ahead of the curve a long time ago, and the car still features the loudest parking monitors and the brightest blind-spot warnings in the business, plus adaptive cruise control modes. You can opt for an entirely 3D-generated wraparound parking view on the monitor, as well. The wagon aspect and the A6 platform also means 63.8 cubic feet of storage when you drop the equally luxurious rear seat, or 30 cubic feet with passengers seated.
Andy Stonehouse’s column “Mountain Wheels” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Stonehouse has worked as an editor and writer in Colorado since 1998, focusing on automotive coverage since 2004. He lives in Golden. Contact him at email@example.com.
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