New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

A4 gets a lift, now goes Allroad

2009-02-15 16:38
Audi’s A4 range is about to become even more sensible, with a raised body A4 Allroad quattro set for public debut at the Geneva motor show in three weeks time.

Though its lacks the original A6 Allroad’s low-range capability, or even the current version’s air-suspension, A4 Allroad should acquit itself in low grade off-road terrain, though the design majors on traction security in all conditions. New springs raise ground clearance to 180mm, which is still well shy of a Subaru Forester’s 220mm, but workable none the less.

Clever ESP

As the name implies, A4 Allroad quattro features permanent four-wheel drive, split in a 40:60 torque ratio between the front and rear axles in normal driving. If conditions demand, up to 65% of the drive can be directed to the front axle, or 85% to the rear.

Audi has even fashioned a new Offroad Detection (ORD) system into the ESP, enabling the stability systems to react with a little less restraint when attempting to traverse broken, or traction challenging terrain.

LED embedded front lights optional, standard 17-inch alloys gorgeous though. All-round stainless steel bash plates blend well with Audi's exotic alloy material design obsession.

Perhaps the most heartening feature of the A4 Allroad, as gleaned from the preview images, is the lack of silly SUV styling embellishments.

To complement the contemporary, oversized Audi front grille there’s a bigger bumper featuring larger air-intakes and chrome surrounds for the foglights.

A profile view shows off the flared wheel arches, whilst both sets of bumpers and side sills can be equipped with optional stainless-steel bash plates for extra off-road protection – which looks a lot better than typical, tacky black plastic SUV mouldings. 

Diesel power with DCT

Powering the A4 Allroad will be three engine options – all turbocharged.

The two compression ignition engines will appeal to European buyers and fleet managers, the smallest being a 2.0 TDI producing 125kW and 350Nm, whilst those yearning for more power can opt for a 3.0 V6 TDI packing 175kW and 500Nm.

Buyers who prefer petrol power have option on the 2.0 TFSI engine, which mirrors the torque output of the 2l diesel, yet produces more power at 155kW. The two smaller engines drive through a six-speed manual transmission as standard.

The 3.0 TDI diesel is mated to a dual-clutch transmission driving through seven ratios – quite an achievement for Audi, getting an all-wheel drive DCT transmission to cope with 500Nm…

When the A4 Allroad goes on sale in Europe towards the end of the second quarter, buyers keen on customising their vehicles can work their way through a litany of options.

Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, a wonderfully scratchable two-part panoramic glass roof, electric tailgate and a 14-speaker, 505w Bang and Olufsen speaker system, are all there to be ticked in the order form option column.

In a rapidly rationalising market, where traditional estate utility is quietly usurping SUV silliness, A4 Allroad would appear to make a lot more sense than a Q5.

Ground clearance 180mm versus standard A4's 106mm, track 20mm wider too. All-wheel drive system's ESP now features off-road biased parameters. Lockable centre-diff would have been the ultimate though...


There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.