It’s that time of year again here in the States. I’ve just posted Audi of America’s itemized model year updates to Fourtitude. These mark the annual list of changes in packaging and pricing and herald changes like black optics kits for most models, liberal use of S line trim and a few more notable goings on. Reviewing the list, there is one change I wish Audi of America would have made, and didn’t… nor will they I expect. That change would be to let the allroad more the rally-bred wagon it was devised to be the first time around.
The story I’ve always heard about the original allroad or, as I call it, the “ur allroad” is that then Audi AG chief Franz Josef Paefgen was vehemently anti-SUV. When tasked with adding an SUV to the Audi lineup, Paefgen instead chose to show off the allroad concept. That car later hit the market years ahead of the Q7 and did so with some serious performance chops via the same 2.7 T as the S4 and a manual transmission as well.! Today’s market analysis would say the car was all wrong, but sometimes “all wrong” also suggests “legendary.”
After the C5 was retired, the allroad left the U.S, replaced by crossover offerings like the Q7 and the Q5. In fact, the A6 Avant disappeared after the C6 era and even the A4 Avant was in jeopardy. Given off road wagon equivalents always seem to do better in the American market than more plainly packaged equivalents, Audi swapped the A4 Avant for an A4 allroad with 2.0 TFSI and 8-speed Tiptronic as the only drivetrain choice.
Don’t get me wrong, the car is a solid offering. Audi will remind you this new car is both faster, lighter and more fuel efficient than the ur allroad, and the B8 has grown to nearly the same size as the C5. All things are equal right?
The ur allroad was a high performance car. Measures of high performance have changed in the years since it was in production, so simply equaling its former pace isn’t exactly the benchmark when an S6 is sub 4 second from 0-60 mph. As an admitted performance addict, the A4 allroad leaves me wanting a bit more.
Simply put, the more powerful A6 allroad isn’t a possibility for America. Budgets for federalization of the Avant went to the A7 Sportback and sales improved markedly. The A4 Avant though, that’s still here. At the same time, there are also many who vocally lament the departure of the S4 Avant from these shores following the end of the B7 lifecycle.
Where am I going with this? In short, I wish Audi and Audi of America would devise a high-performance A4 allroad. What I understand of the American federalization process is that this wouldn’t be that expensive, and it would sell many more examples than the small numbers projected for the RS 4 Avant when Audi considered it last year.
This would be my formula for an allroad quattro Sport with legitimate albeit sub-RS performance chops. Take the A4 allroad and add the 350 hp version of the 3.0 TFSI from the SQ5 with either 7-speed S tronic or 6-speed manual transmission and also paired with the Audi’s torque-vectoring rear Sport Differential. Add S4 or even RS 4 cross-drilled brakes. Give the car the 19-inch RS 5 winter wheel design that’s already optional and make it standard. Optionally, maybe even offer the 20-inch deep dish rotor wheel from the RS 5 in matte black to match the cladding. The RS 5 shares the allroad’s track dimensions and RS 5 customers won’t miss the rotors anyway since since they’ve got the new split 5-spoke from the RS 4 Avant. As for suspension, go for European SQ5 spec with Audi Drive Select since the American SQ5 will have to be taller yet in order to pass muster as a ‘truck’ in the eyes of the feds.
Inside, give the car S4/SQ5 sport seats with Alcantara centers and ‘quattro’ script logo stamped into the leather. It’d need the fat 3-spoke sport steering wheel from the S4 (maybe with ‘quattro’ script badge where the ‘S4’ badge would be and layered black wood (SQ5) orcarbon fiber trim (S4) and also piano black dash face surface just like the R S4.
Outside, I’d keep it simple. Give it the larger rear roof spoiler from Audi Original Zubehor or the RS 4. Polished silver mirrors form the S4 would match the allroad cladding nicely and special colors like Samoa Orange, Daytona Grey, Sepang Blue or the like would help set it off as a very special model.
Finally, sell the car in low numbers in order to drive up demand. These would be as special to their owners as RS models are to those who by them.
Alas, it’s probably too late for such an A4 allroad quattro Sport. The B9 is just around the corner. Part of the 2014 announcements was news of all A4s receiving S line bumpers. This signals the car is in its twilight. It’s a shame though, I think Audi could make many ardent and enthusiastic former allroad and S4 Avant customers quite happy by building such a car.
So what do you think? Do you like our idea for an allroad quattro Sport or would you do it differently? Let us know in our allroad forum linked below.