Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018) Review

Written by David Ross

heycar ratingVersatile and comfortable big estate
  • 2012
  • Estate
  • Petrol, Diesel

Quick overview


  • Refined and smooth ride
  • Strong and powerful 3.0 TDI engines
  • Top quality interior and big boot


  • Modest off-road ability
  • Petrol is thirsty and, not surprisingly, rare on the used market
  • More expensive than a standard A6 Avant

Overall verdict on the Audi A6 Allroad

"In this Audi A6 Allroad review we are looking at semi-crossover that carved itself quite a successful niche. When the first generation A6 Allroad arrived it had virtually no competitors, and although this third generation car is now surrounded by rivals it still gets the recipe just right. It's as easy to use as the regular A6 Avant but looks tougher, is comfortable and has just enough off-road ability to suit the needs of the green welly brigade."

Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018) Review: Exterior front three quarter photo of the Audi A6 Allroad

To make sure it has a suitably rugged look, the A6 Allroad has extended side sills, stainless steel underbody guards front and back while the wheel arches, bumpers and sills are painted in black. It's pretty discreet but there was the option to get the black trim body-coloured as an option for an even more subtle appearance.

The A6 Allroad is simply more than just a jacked up Audi A6 Avant though. It comes with adaptive air suspension so you can actually adjust the ground clearance, lowering it by 15mm at high speeds or raising it by 35mm when needed. 

And at low speeds you can even raise it a further 10mm for anything trickier such as deeply rutted tracks. To reinforce the off-road element, there's a hill descent assist function which holds the speed at between 6mph and 12mph on steep slopes.

On the road the A6 Allroad feels just like a standard A6 with the same good roadholding, impressive body control and nicely weighted steering. The air suspension also means the ride is impeccable with superb insulation from bumps and potholes making it incredibly refined and quiet in the cabin.

There is one petrol version of the A6 Allroad, powered by a 3.0 TFSI petrol engine, while the others all use the 3.0 TDI diesel engine but with varying power outputs. Unsurprisingly not many people choose the TFSI as it's thirsty compared to the TDI. On top of that the diesels are much better suited to a big estate like the A6 Allroad when it comes to everyday performance.

There's not much in the way of competition in the beefed up four-wheel drive premium estate market. The Volvo XC70 is the most obvious but that's starting to show it's age. There’s the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain but that wasn’t launched until 2017. There are of course cheaper alternatives like the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and Skoda Octavia Scout but these arguably aren't in the same league as the A6 Allroad.

Audi described the A6 Allroad as the 'most versatile premium four-wheel drive estate car available today' and there's no doubt it ticks lots of boxes. It's a versatile high quality car that offers great performance and can cope with tricky conditions. 

True you can go for an A6 Avant with quattro four-wheel drive but the Allroad offers more. There's the image too. This is a car that's designed for outdoorsy people who drive to the Alps to go skiing when they aren't busy towing their horsebox to equestrian events. It's all about a high-end 'lifestyle' and this is where the A6 Allroad is unrivalled.

If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Audi A6 Allroad review.

Comfort and design: Audi A6 Allroad interior

"Inside the A6 Allroad it's identical to the rest of the A6 range so you get a top quality cabin that's spacious, comfortable and has real attention to detail. All models get a good level of standard kit too including a 6.5-inch colour screen than neatly slides out of the dash top."

Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018) Review: Interior close up photo of the Audi A6 Allroad dashboard

There's a huge amount of adjustment in the steering column and seats so it's easy to get the right driving position no matter what size or shape you are. The seats are supportive too which you really notice on extended journeys - something the A6 Allroad is perfect for.

The boot is usefully large with 565 litres of load space and there's hardly any load lip so getting heavy things out is easy. Plus the squared off sides are useful if you're moving big and boxy items. 

The rear seats don't fold down quite flat but there is a clever luggage fixing system available which includes a solid bar and an adjustable strap that can be moved along two rails in the boot floor.

Handling and ride quality: What is the used Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018) like to drive?

"The entry level TDI is the 204PS version which in the standard Audi A6 model only comes as a front-wheel drive model with a multitronic CVT gearbox. It's very different with the S tronic gearbox fitted and feels more responsive, however the 245PS version is considerably quicker and with an extra 130Nm torque you can really tell the difference, especially when it comes to overtaking."

Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018) Review: Exterior rear three quarter photo of the Audi A6 Allroad

Indeed, the 245PS model is effortlessly quick, refined and makes a great motorway cruiser. But the stand out model in the new A6 Allroad range is the BiTDI. As the name suggests it's fitted with twin-turbochargers which boost the power of the V6 diesel to 313PS along with an immense 650Nm of torque. 

To put that into context an Audi R8 V10 has 540Nm. On paper it looks rapid - 0-62mph takes just 5.6 seconds - and remember this is still a big estate car. All that torque means the BiTDI can't be fitted with the S tronic gearbox so Audi has used the eight-speed Tiptronic from the Audi A8.

In terms of performance the BiTDI stands head and shoulders above any other diesel in the Audi range with huge amounts of low down grunt and incredible response. There's no waiting around for a turbo to kick in - the power comes on song instantly and propels you along effortlessly as the scenery goes all blurry. 

It feels suitably sporty too and that's helped by an exhaust actuator. This is a speaker that makes the exhaust sound less like a diesel and more like a V8 petrol. It may seem like a gimmick but it works incredibly well and means the BiTDI has the sound - both inside the cabin and from the outside - to go with its performance.

Of course it's a given that the A6 Allroad comes with quattro four-wheel drive as standard but it also has torque vectoring, a system that's becoming more common on powerful cars. It's all complicated stuff but basically this slightly brakes an inside wheel as you go round a corner which means sharper handling and more agility through bends. It also means you don't need as much steering input.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a used Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018) cost to run?

"Being a high-end estate designed for towing, there’s no smaller 2.0 TDI engines in the A6 Allroad range so if you want outright economy look elsewhere. The 204PS version is the most efficient so you should see around 42mpg in real world driving."

Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018) Review: Exterior front three quarter photo of the Audi A6 Allroad on the road

The rest of the engines hover around the 37mpg to 40mpg mark which is more than acceptable for a big 3.0 TDI in a four-wheel drive car. The excellent BiTDI still averages more than 37mpg which is impressive considering the performance and pace it offers. It means you can do more than 600 miles on one fill up thanks to its 73 litre fuel tank.

If you do find a petrol (and they are like hen’s teeth on the used market as it was discontinued in 2012 shortly after launch) you’ll be looking at mid 20's for mpg.

How much should you be paying for a used Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018)?

"The A6 Allroad holds its value better than a standard A6 Avant, but then it should do, given the not inconsiderable premium it carried when new"

Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018) Review: Interior close up photo of the Audi A6 Allroad rear seats

Early models are now around the £15k mark and that’s for cars with reasonable miles on the clock, although the 3.0 TDI is pretty bulletproof so don’t be put off by cars with higher mileages.

A budget of between £20,000 and £22,000 will give you a better choice of A6 Allroad but like most big cars of this ilk, it’s not a car to buy if you want to be running something on a budget. It’s expensive to service while things like new tyres aren’t cheap.

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