Lucire Lucire home page / Fashion / / Volante: travel features and news / Living / Lucire: Insider blog
News headlines / Lucire Reader Forum / Subscribe to the print editions of Lucire
Lucire Community 
Lucire feedback 
Subscribe to the Lucire Insider feed
Subscribe to Lucire

living: autocade


Allroad leads to roamAllroad leads to roam

Audi Allroad Quattro 4.2 FSI, photographed by Douglas Rimington,


Jack Yan is besotted by the 2007 Audi Allroad, a wagon for the gentleman
photographed by Douglas Rimington

Expanded from issue 24 of Lucire


THE TROUBLE with buying an SUV—a Chelsea tractor—in this day and age is sexuality. Yes, you can say to the world, ‘Look how much room I need for my kids. There’s no trouble with my equipment,’ but when the SUV goes on the school run with Dad at the wheel, his homophobic friends (and enemies) will ask, ‘Dude, how come your car is so clean?’

For the Jeep owner, this is anathema. A clean Jeep is tantamount to admitting that you do not have the balls to go off-roading and live the John Wayne Longest Day lifestyle even for a few hours. Men will laugh.

Hence, SUVs are bought and driven by women, for whom cleanliness does not carry a stigma, and the chunky looks do remind them of a man’s pecs.

But we may have come across an SUV (of sorts) which both sexes can keep clean. The Audi Allroad Quattro (Audi says the model words should be spelt all in lowercase, but our proofreaders won’t permit that).

This is what the Americans call a ‘crossover’, a car that is neither off-roader nor station wagon, but somewhere in between. In reality, it is a station wagon with four-wheel drive and cladding. Black cladding, if you haven’t noticed, has made a bigger comeback in the mid-2000s than the days of the Matra–Simca Rancho, probably one of the first ‘crossovers’.

A lusty 350 PS (257 kW) V8 up front means the male driver can stand proud next to Mad Max, and get away from Interceptors when needed. We found the unit powerful and smooth, propelling the rather heavy Allroad forward, even if that meant getting an mpg rating in the teens, or 15·8 l/100 km in newfangled metric. We liked the toys: a radar for reversing, including a diagram on Audi’s intuitive MMI computer system, showing what you were likely to hit. The multi-CD changer makes a lot of sense. The handling is very good, though we were able to make the traction control panic through some quick corners, since we are talking 4·93 m of length.

But the pièce de résistance for the boys is that you can adjust the Allroad’s ride height to one of any five positions (125 to 185 mm). In town, one should keep it low—we tailed a low-riding pick-up truck that thought it was alone in having this feature—while we happily raised it while testing the car at the Belmont National Park.

The high ride height is more than a statement of intent. The Allroad’s Quattro system is capable and the higher ground clearance helps, but it seems happier as a town car—or more a town hot rod.

It’s a strange epithet to give to the Allroad, but at its lowest ride height, it looks sportier than the regular Audi A6 Avant on which it is based. The neighbours become jealous. This will never be a hoon’s car—its bulk sees to that—but it is a vehicle that is everything to everyone.

But why is cleanliness permissible? Largely, we think, because the Allroad takes the mantle of the doctor’s shooting brake. You know—once upon a time, the English city doctor would have a Volvo 245 GL. The Allroad is the modern equivalent (Volvo has some conflict with that statement), a car that the gentleman, not the hoon, can keep clean in his pleasant cul-de-sac. Inside, with the leather seats and wood accents, it had better be clean. As with all Audi interiors, quality is second to none.

The difference from the Volvo days is that in 2007, we are supposedly motivated by the idea of lifestyle, or as this magazine headlines, ‘Life/Style’. One needs a car that suits life and does it with style. We have this notion, especially in Aotearoa, of needing the option to go out to Makara with horsebox in tow or Mt Ruapehu with skis on top. This is why the roads are filled with Subaru Legacy Wagons here, but we maintain that the Subaru Legacy does not impress the neighbours, unless you are a vet working in the country.

And impress you shall. Audi’s original Allroad was a half-hearted attempt at doing an SUV at a time when the Ingolstadters didn’t have an SUV. It priced it semi-cheaply (by Audi standards) to entice those going for more agricultural truck-based SUVs that were all the rage among rich Manhattanites half a decade ago.

But now that Audi has a proper SUV—the Q7—the Allroad has become a lot more of a “statement” car. It’s even pricier than the Q7, on either side of the Tasman. It’s become a niche vehicle, but we argue it shouldn’t be.

There is one final, very compelling reason that the Allroad Quattro is au courant, the car for the late 2000s—at least as far as V8s go.

Back in late 2000, Lucire voted the Audi A4 Avant its Car to Be Seen in, forecasting an SUV backlash. The reasons included its smaller size, range of powerplants and practicality.

Now that the SUV backlash is arguably here—Al Gore-loving Californians are buying Japanese hybrids these days—those who seek the sound of a bent eight might want to hide their passion in a more subtle package.

Not that the Allroad Quattro is that subtle—the chrome-laden single-frame grille contrasts strongly with the blacked-out cladding—but it gives those lovers of big cars and a flexible mode de vie that will not be the first to attract the wrath of the greenie. You can still say, ‘Well, at least it isn’t a Dodge Durango,’ as you go along to Ruapehu. •


Add to | Digg it

Audi Allroad Quattro 4.2 FSI, photographed by Douglas Rimington,



Audi Allroad Quattro 4.2 FSI, photographed by Douglas Rimington,


Audi Allroad Quattro 4.2 FSI, photographed by Douglas Rimington,


Audi Allroad Quattro 4.2 FSI, photographed by Douglas Rimington,


Audi Allroad Quattro 4.2 FSI, photographed by Douglas Rimington,


Photographed by Douglas Rimington





Related articles
Lucire 2004 | The Global Fashion Magazine

Muscles in a suit
The new Audi TT is safe for men—stylish and more masculine than its predecessor, according to Jack Yan
photographed by Douglas Rimington
Expanded from issue 23 of

Lucire 2005 | The Global Fashion Magazine Car to Be Seen in 2007
It’s that time of the year again, when Lucire announces the most stylish cars of the coming year. Our finalists reviewed