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The secret diary of a motoring journalist aged 39¾'ish


4th May 2020

Don’t be fooled by the Sport in the name of this Audi A4 Allroad. IT’s not sporty and I’m a little confused why Audi has bothered to apply this tag to a car that sits higher than a standard Avant estate model. Also, it just doesn’t do the Allroad any justice as it’s easily one of the most comfortable, smooth-riding models in the German firm’s line-up. So, forget the Sport bit.
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Today is spent pottering on some local roads that look like they’ve taken a barrage from a tank battery. Not a problem for the Allroad, though, as its suspension is gleefully supple and makes me wonder why anyone would choose the standard Avant with its much firmer ride. Much of the Allroad’s deftness on these roads is due to the 23mm extra height it has over the Avant, allowing for thicker-walled tyres that help absorption of bumps.
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This may be the least powerful Allroad in the A4 range, but it still packs 190hp and the 2.0-litre turbodiesel of the 40 TDI model can hit 62mph from rest in 7.9 seconds. That’s quick enough for most needs and, more importantly, the trip computer is showing very decent average economy of 43.4mpg. That’s pretty much bang on the claimed lower combined figure and impressive given all of my driving has been on rural roads so far.
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This morning is a chance for the Allroad to show a little of its all-wheel drive credentials. A few years back, I upset some in the Audi press office by saying a previous generation Allroad couldn’t cope with a wet grassy slope, which was true as I tried it and the car failed. No issues with this latest Allroad, which canters up a similar knoll to pick up a bale of hay and shows the A4 can do the country set lifestyle properly.
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Another test of the A4’s boot today as I have several trips involving different numbers, ages and sizes of children. I won’t bore you with the details and logistics, but what does matter is the Allroad’s boot is more than able to swallow a sizeable kiddie seat and leave space for the various sports bags and bits of kit that accompany said children. If the Pied Piper of Hamelin needs a vehicle recommendation, the A4 Allroad is it.
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The Allroad has grown on me very quickly as a superb all-round family car and a good slice of this is down to the seven-speed auto ’box. It may lack the eighth gear of the 50 TDI model, but you won’t notice it and the 2.0-litre engine is ideally mated to this transmission. The gearbox mooches from one ratio to the next, up or down, smoothly and unfussily to match the overall appeal of the Allroad.
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A quick bit of spec study this morning shows this A4 Allroad comes in at £42,440 with the metallic blue paint the only option. For a car this well kitted out, that seems decent value and lease deals won’t break the bank, and nor will running costs. For a car that is so effortlessly classy, refined and more comfortable than any other A4, it’s hard to look beyond the Allroad as the model to have in this range.
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