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Audi debuts estate-of-the-art A4 Allroad

  • Updated Audi A4 Allroad wades in with flared arches and raised ride height
  • Powerful and efficient engines available including a new 2-litre, 148bhp diesel
  • Premium off-road estate could be all the company car you need

More niche-plugger than mud-plugger, the new Audi A4 Allroad offers the tougher stance and ride height of an off-road vehicle with the additional practicality of an estate body.

As well as a taller ride you also get flared wheel arches and Quattro all-wheel drive to help find grip on slippery roads and muddy campsites.

Available with a choice of diesel and petrol engines plus a weight loss of up to 90kg, this new model, unveiled officially at the Detroit Motor Show this week, could well be the multi-purpose company car you've been looking for.

Off-road styling with on-road comfort

Setting the allroad apart from the standard A4 Avant are a set of wide arches and a special rear bumper, in either matt grey or body colour paint, while the rear diffuser is silver. Up front there are sharp looking headlights plus specific bumper and air intakes.

Automatic air-con with touch-sensitive switches is fitted as standard, plus you can have a screen up to 8.3-inches across controlled by the rotary MMI controller.

There’s a 505-litre boot that can be expanded to 1,510 litres by dropping the rear seats, plus the tailgate and luggage compartment cover are powered. The former can be opened by waving your foot under the rear bumper.

You can also tow up to 2,100kg with the optional trailer hitch, which deploys from underneath the car electronically.

One of our favourite features in other Audi cars, the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit  is available as an option, as is an interior lighting package with 30 different shades.

All the driver assistance and safety systems found in the standard A4 are available in the Allroad too, including adaptive cruise control that assists with acceleration, braking and steering under 40mph, plus the trailer manoeuvre assistant, which allows you to steer a car and trailer using the MMI controller.

Engines offer improved performance and efficiency

There’s a choice of powertrains between 148bhp and 268bhp, while CO2 emissions have been reduced by up to 21g/km in the case of the 2-litre TDI with 188bhp.

A new stop/start system can detect red traffic lights and deactivate the engine as you approach, at speeds below 4mph.

Of most interest to a fleet driver is the new 148bhp, 2-litre TDI engine which offers 320Nm and low CO2 emissions (these haven’t been released yet, but the same unit produces 104g/km in the A4 Avant).

If you want a bit more power then there is always the 2-litre diesel with 188bhp and 400Nm of torque, which promises 57.7mpg and 128g/km of CO2 when fitted with a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox.

Topping of the diesel tree are a pair of 3-litre engines with either 215bhp or 268bhp. The most powerful version sprints from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds and produces 139g/km of CO2.

What’s it like off-road?

It's not going to scare a Land Rover Defender but the vital statistic seem promising.

You get Quattro all-wheel drive as standard and there’s a choice of six-speed manual, seven-speed S tronic and eight-speed tiptronic automatic gearboxes.

The mechanical all-wheel drive system is paired with an updated wheel-selective torque control system, which is active on any surface, and helps send power to the wheel with the most grip.

There is an increase in ride height of 23mm, and combined with larger wheels (17-inch as standard) you get an additional 34mm of ground clearance.

Optional damper control measures the movements of all four wheels, plus lateral and longitudinal acceleration, and adapts the suspension to offer greater handling and comfort.

Helping you see your way down dark country lanes are a set of xenon lights, or optional matrix LED units.

Pick the latter and you get dynamic indicators that scroll in the direction of intended travel, and a clever traffic sign glare reduction system that stops you being dazzled by reflections.

The Audi A4 Allroad is due on sale later this year, pricing and specification details will be released closer to the time.