Surprise Package

Tow Test: Audi Allroad Quattro

July 1, 2002

The Audi Allroad Quattro probably doesn’t spring to mind when your thoughts turn to towing medium-size boats. Compared to the burly SUVs plying today’s highways, this sport wagon seems downright petite. Plus, with but six cylinders and 2.7 liters of piston displacement, it’s hard to imagine the Allroad has the muscle to tow a boat.

But looks can be deceiving. The fact is, the Allroad has more power than any Ford Explorer. It packs a 3,300-pound tow rating, and after testing the Allroad with 2,360 pounds worth of Checkmate runabout and trailer in tow, I can assure you that this machine is a prize fighter in pinstripes.

Twin turbos, one large intercooler, and 30 valves (three intake, two exhaust per cylinder) under the hood pump the V-6’s output up to 250 hp. A full-time all-wheel-drive system with three locking differentials ensures that no traction is squandered on slippery launch ramps. The five-speed automatic transmission has a deep-ratio first gear so this machine scoots to 60 mph in only 7.7 seconds (unladen) and hauls its load up steep grades with no low-range assistance needed.


An exotic air suspension lifts the body 2.6″ up from its highway-cruising position for extra ground clearance. Special tires engineered in a cooperative effort between Pirelli and Goodyear provide excellent grip whether you’re hammering around a mountain bend or clawing your way across a stream. Aluminum sill guards deflect rocks as you scramble off-road.

The Allroad is one of the first successful attempts at adding truck capabilities to conventional car design. Called “crossovers,” these vehicles are intended for buyers who want a truck’s versatility without its rough ride and handling. The Allroad’s demeanor isn’t as polished as that of the Audi A6 Avant from which it springs, but it’s more pleasant to drive than any pickup or SUV on the planet.

The Allroad’s rear seats split and fold to double the size of the cargo hold. A removable rear-facing kids’ seat is optional. A GPS-based navigation system is available to help copilots find the way back home.

MODEL Audi Allroad Quattro
Engine twin turbo DOHC 2.7-liter V-6
Net hp/rpm 250/5800
Net torque (ft-lb/rpm) 258/5800
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Suspension Front control arms, air springs
Suspension Rear control arms, air springs
Brakes (front/rear) disc/disc standard 4-wheel ABS
Tires Goodyear Wrangler F1 Allroad, 225/55HR-17
Wheelbase (in.) 108.5
Length (in.) 189.4
Width (in.) 76.1
Height (in.) 62.7
Curb weight (lbs.) 4,260
Towing capacity (lbs. max.) 3,300
Cargo capacity (max. cu. ft.) 73
Fuel capacity (gal.) 18.5
0-60 mph acceleration (without/with 2,360-lb. towed load, sec.) 7.7/11.5
60-0 mph stopping distance (without/with 2,360-lb. towed load, ft.) 131/181
Observed towing fuel economy (mpg avg.) 11
Price (as tested) $49,480

LAST WORD. At last! A genuine tow machine that’s not a truck.


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