Mountain Wheels: Stunning Audi A6 Allroad makes its final appearance |

Mountain Wheels: Stunning Audi A6 Allroad makes its final appearance

With size, scale and driving dynamics entirely unlike your typical SUV, the low-slung and powerful Audi A6 Allroad is a wonderful – and short-lived – option.
Andy Stonehouse/Mountain Wheels

I would like to see a world filled with fast, efficient and practically sized vehicles, but I am often at odds with the whims of the car-buying public. So, you’ll have to indulge me on this one.

The sleek, attractive and warmly luxurious Audi A6 Allroad wagon is the kind of vehicle I would love to own, given its design, considerable power and driving character.

It appears, however, that most drivers favor a largely detached and increasingly weaponized driving experience, by way of tall and awkward SUVs or full-sized pickups, so what do I know, really?

To drive this point home even more, the elegant and almost full-sized A6 Allroad wagon and its one-size smaller A4 version have actually been discontinued, owing to absolutely minuscule sales — the 2022 model I drove, priced at $81,840, appears in limited numbers as a 2023 model, and then is kaput for North America.

I very much enjoyed the comfortable scale, with a large passenger compartment and almost SUV-styled storage space in the rear, plus the smooth but capable 335 horsepower form a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. It’s impressively quiet and also got nearly 30 mpg during highway drives.

But, again … unless you are talking about a Subaru Outback, a wagon that desperately wishes it was an Allroad, but has gradually gained more and more SUV-worthy size and mass, nobody but car journalists and weirdos are interested in wagons. So there you go.

Should you fall into one of those categories, and also act fast, the A6 Allroad is a dream come true, with 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 a Q7 or 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 SUVs, but the low-to-the-road feeling is exquisite, provided you are someone who actually likes driving.

Its low-slung character, 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 Raptors or backed over by lifted F-250s, so I can see how many less-enthused drivers might fear the automobile’s 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 heating ventilating and air conditioning 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 fully-dedicated winter tires to get the grip you need on ice, though I managed a trip over a largely icy Loveland Pass a few weeks back and still had enough mass for competent control on largely my useless 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.

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