2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro Test: This Car Makes It Easy to Catch Wagon Fever
A week in Audi’s tall wagon intensifies our enthusiasm for station wagons. It deserves to succeed.
LOS ANGELES—Certain vehicles infect drivers with a sense of "right-car syndrome," where the model in question is so good at what it's meant to do, it always feels like the correct car for the occasion. Think Porsche 911, Volkswagen GTI, Mazda Miata, and Jeep Wrangler. One week behind the wheel of the 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro supplied that feeling of satisfaction as I navigated the Los Angeles area in a Soho Brown Metallic example of the tall station wagon.
2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro Test: Drive Modes for All Roads
Perhaps the most satisfying, enjoyable feature of the 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro we tested is its adjustable air suspension, controlled via the drive-mode selector toggle buttons on the lower infotainment display. A driver can choose one of six settings listed in order of most off-road capable to most on-road suited: Offroad, Allroad, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual. The standard ride height is 5.5 inches in Auto and Comfort modes, but select Offroad, the highest suspension setting, and the body raises an extra 1.8 inches and traction control is disabled for traversing tricky terrain.
When the A6 Allroad Quattro is tested at its max height of 7.3 inches of ground clearance, Audi limits the top speed to just 21.7 mph. We didn't get a chance to truly play around in this drive mode in serious off-road conditions, but it's nice to tackle L.A. 's unending steep driveways head-on instead of from ridiculous side angles.
Head the other direction on the drive-mode menu and the 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro raises just 1.2 inches in the Allroad setting. Switch to Dynamic and the wagon drops 0.6-inch below its standard ride height, allowing for 4.9 inches of ground clearance; that's 0.2-inch lower than Volkswagen's sporty GTI hatchback. With its flared, body-color-matching wheel arches, the A6 Allroad has a great stance at its lowest. Because Audi didn't intend for the car's overall tuning to be too aggressively sporty, I preferred to drive around during this test in Dynamic for sharper responses and handling.
2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro Test: Drive Time
I drove out to the mountains to test the 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro on a variety of road types. Our test car's 20-inch wheels were wrapped in all-season tires, so I wasn't expecting a performance champion, but in the lowest drive setting it was still fun to navigate the stretches of arcing pavement, provided the corners weren't too sharp; after all it's a pretty long car at 194.4 inches from nose to tail.
The engine, which is the same turbocharged V-6 found in the smaller Audi S cars like the S4 and S5, produces 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque via a seven-speed automatic transmission. That's potent enough to scoot the A6 Allroad off of the line in just 5.0 seconds; I pinned the throttle off the line and let out an "Oof." Quattro sends power to the front wheels first and then to the rear if the system detects a need for extra traction, using the decoupling-capable Ultra version of Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system. Shifts are super smooth and the transmission makes decisive gear changes, always seeming to have power available for a quick getaway.
Steering feel is luxury-car light but tightens up nicely in Dynamic mode, another reason Dynamic was my preferred setting. The wheel provides satisfactory if not amazing feedback, but it is super accurate so it didn't bother me in the slightest, even when driving with enthusiasm. Pedal response and brake feel are reasonable but not amazing. It's easy to maneuver the A6 Allroad anywhere, which leaves mental space for the driver to simply enjoy the sights, as well as music from the standard Bang & Olufsen 3D premium sound system and its spectacular speakers.
2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro Test: A Prestigious Package
In any setting, the 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro is always pleasant to ride in, and it is downright plush in Comfort and Auto modes. The excellent suspension damping and wonderful interior makes driving or riding in Audi's wagon a restorative experience. The A6 Allroad we tested had the Prestige package, available for $4,500 as an option, which turned an otherwise well-equipped car into a near-opulent set of wheels.
The perks of optioning this level of equipment adds Audi's driver's assistance package, extra safety tech, head-up display, multicolor LED lighting, soft-close doors all around, front-seat ventilation, rear sunshades, dual-pane acoustic glass, and heated rear seats. It makes the A6 Allroad's interior an even more quiet, luxurious place in which to crush miles of highway, and enhances its ability to dress up or down with the driver for whatever occasion.
Even without the upgrades, the 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro tested here has a notably spacious interior. Since we're still working from home, I wanted to upgrade my lumbar situation by taking my desk chair from our office; without any need for disassembly of my chair, I flipped the back seats flat and stuffed the whole thing in there with more room to spare than I could believe. Even after we made an REI run, there was so much space remaining that we could have gone for a trip to IKEA and still not have filled the trunk. Audi also included some thoughtful storage bins, like the netted cargo area in the trunk and a second glove compartment to the right of the steering wheel.
2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro Test: Total Satisfaction
The 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro starts at $66,895. Beside the Prestige package, the test car's only other option was the brown paint which added $595 to the total. At $71,990, this 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro competes easily against our former long-term 2019 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription. However, that member of our fleet did not have features such as soft-close doors, despite having a final price of $70,290.
With such comprehensive drive modes, a gorgeous interior, stunning bodywork, and compliant but well-sorted dynamics, there's a load to like about the 2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro. Here's hoping Audi's efforts to rewagonize America, with the help of the high-performance RS6 Avant, pay off. An offering as well-rounded as this deserves to succeed.
2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro Highlights
- Huge trunk, especially with rear seats flipped down
- Potent turbo V-6
- Fast-acting adjustable air suspension
- Great dynamics in any driving situation
- Super-stylish wagon bodywork
2020 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro Specifications
|PRICE||$66,895/$71,990, (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||3.0L turbocharged DOHC 24-valve V-6/335 hp @ 5,200-6,400 rpm, 369 lb-ft @ 1,370-4,500 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD station wagon|
|EPA MILEAGE||20/26 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||194.4 x 74.4 x 58.8 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.0 sec|
|TOP SPEED||155 mph|