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2017 A4 allroad: Audi's Astute Wagon

By Sue Mead, January 28th, 2017

It seems that every automaker has a crossover in its stable; almost all come with all-wheel-drive. A few have AWD wagons that are crossover-like in their styling and manners.

Manufacturer photo: Combining functional practicality with premium off-road design, the all-new 2017 A4 allroad comes with standard quattro all-wheel drive, adaptive dampers and increased ground clearance compared to the sedan
Manufacturer photo: Combining functional practicality with premium off-road design, the all-new 2017 A4 allroad comes with standard quattro all-wheel drive, adaptive dampers and increased ground clearance compared to the sedan

So, what makes Audi's updated A4 allroad different? We traveled to the state of Wyoming to find out, and drove this iconic wagon through the backcountry environs of an iconic swath of the American west.

It was the perfect locale to try out this turbocharged, tech-filled vehicle that ranks high on cool-factor and has authentic all-weather chops.

All-new for 2017, the Audi A4 has historically been this German automaker's best-selling model thanks to its innovative design and advanced technologies. Now, the sedan lineup adds this new allroad variant that marries luxury, technology, and performance with the spacious cargo capacity and practicality that comes with an off-road-capable wagon body style.

It gets more power and torque but its secret weapon is the new quattro with Ultra Tech system that lets the five-door wagon cruise in front-drive when appropriate for fuel savings, and then transforms it in lickety-split fashion to a traction champ on surfaces that need extra grip, like snow-and-ice slickened roadways, as well as on dirt tracks and over mud and ruts. We experienced all of these during our ride and drive of some 200 miles.

Manufacturer photo: Combining functional practicality with premium off-road design, the all-new 2017 A4 allroad comes with standard quattro all-wheel drive, adaptive dampers and increased ground clearance compared to the sedan

We drove an A4 allroad with a gorgeous Moonlight Blue Metallic exterior and Atlas Beige/granite Gray interior. Among the notable attributes of the newest allroad are its handsomely-styled wagon body with a taller ride height due to its suspension and beefy wheel/tire package along with its comfortable and quiet cockpit. The astute handling capabilities allowed us to select a desired drive mode or let the electronics make the decisions -- letting us enjoy the views of the majestic Teton Mountain range, the magnificent high-country ranches, and the plentiful wildlife in the region.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque (power is up 32 hp and 15 lb.-ft.). It's mated to seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission that brings quick shifts and a laudable acceleration to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Backcountry capability is engineered from the standard quattro, which is aided by an electronic multi-plate clutch and decoupling rear axle differential that help it achieve fully variable torque distribution -- this means the system moves the torque to exactly where it's needed, when it's needed.

A new version of Audi Drive Select expands functionality: in addition to comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual modes found in the sedan, allroad is endowed with an off-road mode that adjusts engine, transmission, and steering performance, and disables Audi pre sense when motoring in this mode.

Outside, the wagon exhibits a more muscular silhouette protected by off-road body cladding and robust underbody protection; there is a new, elegant high-gloss, full-paint option. Audi's trademark Singleframe grille features vertical chrome slats to emphasize the increased ground clearance over its sedan sibling. Powerful wheel arches showcase 18-inch V-spoke design wheels, with contrasting gray finish wrapped by high-profile tires for a more adventurous appearance. Up front are xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights or optional full LED headlights; in back are LED taillights with dynamic turn signals.

Inside the premium-appointed cabin is improved interior space with increased shoulder and rear legroom. Standard features include three-zone automatic climate control, ambient LED lighting, leather seating, and power panoramic sunroof. The available Audi virtual cockpit gets a 12.3-inch digital display that transitions from a classic instrument cluster mode to a panoramic infotainment mode, while an available full-color head-up display projects driving information onto the windshield in the driver's field of vision. Smartphone connectivity comes via standard Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto integration.

Manufacturer photo: Combining functional practicality with premium off-road design, the all-new 2017 A4 allroad comes with standard quattro all-wheel drive, adaptive dampers and increased ground clearance compared to the sedan

The A4 allroad's onboard collection of technology, safety, and convenience features includes standard Audi pre sense city, which can detect vehicles and pedestrians at up to 52 mph and can alert the driver to a potential collision and applies automatic braking to help prevent or minimize an impact.

The 2017 Audi A4 allroad is available in three trims: Premium ($44,000); Premium Plus ($47,000); and Prestige ($51,400); destination and delivery adds $950.

Specifications

Base price $44,000 (as tested: $55,575)
Curb weight 3,825 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type turbocharged 4-cylinder
Epa mileage rating 23 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 15.3 gal.
Horsepower (net) 252 at 5000 rpm
Overall length 187 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 273 at 1600-4500 rpm
Transmission 7-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD midsize wagon
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