What's more, it'll do all this in any weather, in total comfort and with some style. This model though, improves the concept further, with sleeker style, extra space, high-tech cleverness and greater efficiency. It is, in short, a smarter choice for those who need occasional off road traction and all-weather capability.
The allroad was an Audi A6 Avant estate with clever air suspension for limited off road ability and a little more styling attitude. This A6 allroad, in contrast, remains a largely unique proposition, copied in concept by more compact rivals but never bettered in execution. While other SUV-style all-wheel drive estates offer a higher ride height, this one does the job properly, with an air suspension system able to raise the car height enough to give it real off road ability.
Such has always been the A6 allroad’s appeal, the car of choice for the clever few who realise they don’t need a hulking great off roader. With a powerful range of more efficient 3. 0-litre V6 engines and enough high technology to satisfy the most committed technophobe. Yet the reasons you might want one of these remain just the same.
Air suspension. That’s what an A6 allroad is all about. That’s what differentiates it from an ordinary A6 Avant. The air suspension settings can be controlled via the Audi drive select system and can be switched between five different on road modes, according to your driving situation.
There’s ‘Dynamic’ for press-on driving and ‘Comfort’ for laid-back highway trips, but having played with these, you’ll probably leave things in the ‘Auto’ setting, which uses a series of sensors to attempt to gauge the best mode for any given condition and can even automatically drop the car for more efficient high speed cruising. That’ll be one of the ways that the dedicated ‘Efficiency’ setting helps to lower your running costs and global footprint, focusing, as it does, all the electronic systems on improving fuel consumption. And you might like to try the ‘Individual’ mode, which allows you to choose the favoured parts of other settings for your ideal set-up.
So it's possible to set this Allroad up to be a fairly soft, high-riding thing or a nicely hunkered down vehicle that thanks to its torque vectoring system, really doesn't corner too badly.
Ah yes, power. Here, there’s all the choice you could want - providing that’s a 3. 0-litre turbocharged V6 of some kind. Like the petrol variant and the lower-powered diesel, drive is transmitted to the tarmac via a super-smooth twin-clutch seven-speed S tronic gearbox.
The 3. 0 BiTDI variant is the A6 allroad flagship, an engine featuring two series-connected chargers that together generate so much torque that Audi has had to fit a sturdier 8-speed automatic gearbox to cope. At any speed, the merest touch on the throttle is enough to hurl nearly two tonnes of Vorsprung durch tecknic purposefully towards the horizon, accompanied by a brilliant roar amplified by the sound actuator that some enthusiast at Ingolstadt decided should be placed in the exhaust.
Inside where the front seats are now further apart, it's much as you'd find in a conventional A6 Avant – which is certainly no bad thing. The build quality is typically impeccable, from the leather work on the seats to the attention to detail of the damped handles and covers. The piano black trim parts have even been treated with a UV-resistant coating to keep them from fading in fierce sunlight. Most of the minor controls are gathered on and around the steering wheel and it's all surprisingly easy to use given the complexity of this car's systems. The MMI infotainment system improves in its user friendliness with each generation and now features this pop-up screen which is bigger, clearer and allows for a sleeker dashboard profile than before.
British roads are routinely rated as the worst in Western Europe so an all-wheel drive estate car with elevated ride height that’s right for the rough, efficient to operate and beautiful to ride in seems to be the perfect car for well-heeled British families.
There are other biggish, plush estates that offer limited off road ability of course, but without the clever air suspension that really makes this car work in that respect, these can seem very pretentious and contrived. If you want to make a sensible lifestyle statement, then I can’t think of a better way to do it.