Audi Allroad Quattro a New Crossover

By Aukofer, Frank | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 23, 2001 | Go to article overview

Audi Allroad Quattro a New Crossover


Aukofer, Frank, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


In the beginning, there were cars and trucks. They begat sport utility vehicles. And now they, in turn, have given birth to crossover vehicles.

Crossovers are neither fish nor fowl, neither car nor truck, nor even SUV. First in the current crop was the Subaru Outback, an all-wheel-drive station wagon that is basically a jacked-up Legacy wagon.

Now comes Audi with its allroad quattro - yes, the company prefers lower-case letters - which is something more than a jacked-up station wagon, and also quite a bit more expensive.

The intention was to give us a vehicle with all the performance, luxury touches and precision handling of a high-bucks German sedan or wagon, along with all-wheel drive and the capability - should you dare - to travel off-road. Audi accomplished this with ingenuity.

At the heart of this unusual system is a pneumatic suspension system that can be adjusted manually or automatically to four different ride heights.

At its lowest setting, the allroad quattro has 5.6 inches of clearance between the suspension system and the pavement. That's for on-road driving at high speeds. From there, it can be raised to 6.6 inches, 7.6 inches and, finally, to 8.2 inches for off-roading.

The last setting gives the allroad quattro over an inch more of road clearance than the BMW X5, which is a taller, more mainstream sport utility vehicle.

Theoretically, this means that you can go bouncing around the boondocks in your allroad quattro. The truth is, few people short of the filthy rich would ever do such a thing. That's because, like the BMW X5, the allroad quattro is a substantial investment.

The base price is a hefty $42,475 and, with a few options like a power sunroof, an upgraded stereo system and a memory system for the front seats and outside mirrors, the test allroad quattro topped out at $47,850.

That's not the sort of machine you'd want to get scratched, much less banged up on a rocky trail through the woods. More likely, the allroad quattro will be called upon for runs to Nordstrom or Saks.

But that doesn't detract from its capabilities. …

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