2013 Audi allroad

BEAVER CREEK, Col. — Truth be told, the Germans may make questionable decisions when it comes to picking fights…but they sure do know their stuff when it comes to manufacturing motor cars. I was reminded of this recently in Colorado to review a variety of Audi’s 2013 models. Germany lays claim to some of the finest-engineered vehicles in the world, a distinction that says something when one weights its competition throughout the rest of the non-European world. Case in point is the all-new 2013 Audi allroad.

At first glance one might be tempted to call the new allroad (lower case lettering is Audi’s) a station wagon — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Basically it is but it sure doesn’t resemble any thinking person’s vision of a family truckster. The allroad has been missing from America’s shores for seven years and the new model screams volumes that Audi’s designers and engineers weren’t sitting around the biergarten chugging brews and eating sausages.

Design-wise the new allroad returns with a vengeance. It sports an exclusive Singleframe grille with angled upper corners, new headlamp design with freshened LED lighting that’s available with xenon-plus, circular fog lamps, enlarged side mirrors with optional power folding and stainless steel skid plates and side sills. The side has a beautiful sculpted appearance that highlights every design nuance.

From the rear it has matte finished lower bumpers and wheel arches and stylistic wrap-around tail lamps (LED set is optional). Its twin-integrated circular dual exhausts aren’t just for decoration. It trumpets the power that flows through it via Audi’s powertrain. It is a 2.0L DOHC direct-injection I-4 engine — voted the world’s best engine in its class five times in a row by the UK’s “International Engine of the Year” awards — that features innovative thermal management to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. It puts out 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

It’s mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and Audi’s legendary quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Performance was flawless, even though at times my driving partner and I were at altitudes above 12,000 feet. Even limited opportunities to pass posed no angst.

Exclusive to Audi is its Drive Select system that provides advanced control of the vehicle’s adaptive suspension, transmission shifting, power steering assist and engine response. In essence it allows drivers to configure their vehicle’s drive characteristics exactly to their liking with their choice of Comfort, Auto, Dynamic or Individual settings.

What good is an Audi without a luxury-laden interior? I don’t know, because the allroad has one, beginning with standard leather seating surfaces, leather shift knob, fully automatic dual zone climate control w/separate air distribution controls for driver and front passenger, two cup holders in front and two in back (the rear seat has a fold down center armrest), a bottle holder in each door, deep-tinted two-panel panorama sunroof with power sunshade, plenty of room and an almost eerie cabin silence.

The 2013 allroad has 27 cubic feet of cargo space and 50 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded down (make sure to opt for the power tailgate, it will save you from a lot of dropped packages). It sits on 18-inch tires and wheels with 19-inch optional. 

Safety items abound as one would expect from a European vehicle. There are enough air bags to open a store, hydraulic brake assist, impact protection, pinch protection for all windows, electromechanical parking brake, electronic stability control, ABS and a host of other items.

Curb weight is 3,891 pounds. EPA mileage estimates mirror a vehicle that’s much smaller and a lot less powerful: 20 mpg highway, 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. MSRP is acceptable for this segment: $39,600 for the Premium trim; $42,900 for the Premium Plus; and $48,800 for the Prestige.

— Al Vinikour