Flying into Denver amidst a barrage of devastating wildfires reminded me that I really have been slacking on my doomsday preparations. Not to make light of the widespread destruction on the ground below me, but I was arriving to spend time behind the wheel of the all-new Audi Allroad. Back during the Super Bowl, the four-ringed brand reassured us all that their latest headlight technology is more detrimental to vampires than a trunk full of garlic. Could their latest all-purpose vehicle be an effective transport for the zombie invasion or a devastating seismic event? Why wait until December to find out, right?
Anyone who remembers the previous armor-clad battle wagon may be shocked at the new, svelte Allroad. That’s because the most notable difference between iterations is the platform on which it’s built. This time around, Audi has opted to bulk up a rare (rare at least for the US) wagon version of its A4, rather than the big brother A6. Hung up on the “W word”? Here’s a tip to help deal with your insecurities: the Europeans call ‘em avants. (It’s kind of like hipsters referring to their man-purses as satchels, only it’s actually quite acceptable nomenclature in the automotive world.) Truth be told, the downsizing actually does wonders for the Allroad’s overall image, transforming it from weekend camper’s getaway car to a spearheading, aggressive, “Tough Mudder” of a ride – and that’s just its game face.
Mobile Command Center
Under the pitch of its hardtop tent, the Allroad’s interior is notably, a bit less rugged. If the Bear Grylls image is what you’re chasing, you’re better off in a Wrangler. But if you’re like most modern souls who still need to keep connected during your rock scramble or kayak outing, its handsomely trimmed cabin – with aluminum and soft-touch accents – is like a well-groomed Sherpa at your beckoning. In addition to the usual smartphone support and navigation options, the Allroad is available with Audi Connectä – an always-on Internet link that allows the car to become a mobile hot-spot for up to eight WiFi equipped devices.
OMG Zombies, drive!
But does it move? It would be downright silly to think that something called the Allroad wouldn’t come equipped with quattro – one of the most time-proven all-wheel-drive systems on the market. But in addition to providing four-corner traction in the roughest of climactic conditions, the Allroad does seem equipped for even more tough terrain. Its slightly hiked-up posture allows you to peep the car’s stainless steel underbody protection – a prerequisite for any post-apocalyptic getaway. And just in case you have to power over broken pavement or some mindless flesh-eater, the ample torque – 258 lb.-ft. to be exact – will afford you the luxury of doing so with ease. On the barren straights, the turbo 2.0’s 211 horses are some 40 short of its predecessor, but given that it’s a smaller, lighter car, the power is more than ample and ends up feeling comparable to the former.
So what if the whole Mayan thing doesn’t end up popping off in full rapture? You’ll still have copped transportation that can handle whatever guts and grime your monster-free lifestyle can throw at it. Muddled up or shined to perfection, its one wagon – er, avant – you won’t want to remain stationary in for long.