Audi A6 Allroad true all-rounder

Audi's A6 Allroad will do almost everything you could ever want and more, says Matt Kimberley, PA motoring writer

Believe it or not, the A6 Allroad is the model Audi's very wealthiest customers go for. Since its first incarnation it's always done everything they want, from towing and basic off-road work to comfortable cruising carrying five people and their luggage.

There's a new Allroad out now, though, and while Audi says it's the best yet, the discerning clientele will have the final say in how well it ultimately sells. There's quite a lot to think about with the new range.

On the face of it it's much the same, built solely in the Avant estate body style with flared plastic wheel-arch extensions and skirting to ward scrapes away from the paintwork. But things under the bonnet have changed a little since the last model.

On top of near-compulsory entry-level four-cylinder petrol and diesel options there are three versions of Audi's very highly-rated V6 diesel. The single-turbo 201bhp and 242bhp engines are known and loved by thousands of existing large VW Group car owners, but a new range-topper adds something extra – a thumping mid-range wedge of torque, and the name of the powerhouse is the 3.0-litre BiTDI. It's a twin-turbo engine based on the V6 oil-burner but with less turbo lag and quite a lot more shove.

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The Allroad is claimed to be just about the best Audi you can buy – the Audi that ticks most boxes for what makes owning a car a joy.

The quality is very high. Cabin materials feel substantial and thick, while the textures and panel fit are first-rate. A neat touch is that the large colour infotainment screen retracts and slides into the dashboard, keeping the centre console neat and improving security.

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Speaking of the screen, the MMI interface is optional but it provides an easy way of exploring and customising the myriad options within the car's systems, from audio to communications and from suspension to seat belts.

Here lie the only two niggles the car seems to have. For one thing, the MMI wheel turns anti-clockwise to cycle down through a list, when clockwise seems the more intuitive way to do it – but that's hardly a deal-breaker. Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, there are just too many options and settings as you delve deeper and deeper into the menus. A little simplification would be welcome here.

A lot of the most appealing kit is optional and sometimes rather expensive, but Audi believes the sub-1,000 customers a year who will plump for the Allroad won't at all mind adding four-figure options.

The BiTDI really is the engine to have for those looking for the best. It's quick to respond when the eight-speed automatic gearbox is set to Dynamic mode, and the sheer grunt from 1,500rpm to 5,000rpm is monumental. It's a hugely rapid car, but it's the light, free-revving nature and stage-managed noise that make the difference. A sound actuator in the exhaust can be set to create a large petrol V engine-like growl.

Then there's the ride. Our test car had optional 20in wheels, which look great but usually ruin a car's road comfort. But in combination with clever suspension the A6 Allroad floats over most bumps and manages its considerable body weight with astonishing ease. The number of cars that ride this well on wheels this size can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The boot is big with in-built luggage restraints, there's a space-saver spare wheel, the sat-nav is clear and efficient and the available space for rear passengers excellent. The Allroad will even tow up to 2.5 tonnes. It's fabulously talented.

It's almost impossible to criticise this car. The A6 Allroad will do almost everything you could ever want a five-seat car to do, and it'll exceed your expectations every time.

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