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Allroad relishes many personalities
The Allroad’s ground clearance can easily be raised and lowered depending on road conditions.

If there's one thing going for the A6 Allroad, it's that it's certainly unique.

As a high-performance-capable station wagon with SUV-like space and some unsealed-road credentials, it's not quite an SUV, not quite a white-knuckle performance car (at least when talking about its diesel variants), not a full off-roader, not an ultra-premium cruiser.

But it's also close enough to all of those things to make it a ripping, if pricey, all-rounder of a vehicle.

The key to the Allroad's adaptability is the ease in which one can switch between its various personality traits. Comfort, dynamic, auto, all-road, efficient and personalised drive modes can be selected with a push of a button and the turn of a dial.

You'll be more than well-served should you choose the auto mode, which takes a middle-of-the-road approach to suspension, drive height, engine performance and steering response, but there's a lot to be said for changing between modes for different conditions.

Engage the comfort mode and you'll be hard-pressed to find a softer, quieter ride. It is quite sublime on longer road trips.

Meanwhile, flicking to efficient mode in peak hour made a difference of about 1L/100km in overall fuel consumption on my 15-20-minute work commute.

But really, as the Allroad's identity is based on being a tougher version of the A6 Avant wagon, its capabilities off the autobahns is of key interest.

Understandably, Audi clearly isn't expecting this to be taken on hardcore off-road tracks, but rather has applied the same thinking as Subaru has with its Liberty X range and taken it to more luxurious levels: provide a car that is great on the road while also capable when needed to drive on unsealed roads of varying quality.

And the Allroad accomplishes all it can really do without being a SUV: it has increased ground clearance which one can easily raise and lower depending on road conditions, the all-wheel-drive system offers greater control on gravel and the 58 Newton metres of torque available means it'll tow just about anything.

One thing it does have in SUV- like numbers is space. The interior is huge and if you're willing to pack the cargo area up to the ceiling, you'll have a whopping 1680 litres at your disposal - more than a Mitsubishi Outlander with the rear seats down.

No doubt you may be wondering: why not just buy an SUV? It's a fair question, especially when considering price.

But the Allroad is still very much a delight to drive. The diesel variant's 180kW may not excite some, but it's toey enough and, while it's understandably not as nimble as a smaller car, its handling is still up to scratch when cornering.

And when you buy an Audi with a price tag above a hundred grand, you're going to getting a significant level of luxury.

The Allroad has 20-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, a fantastic media centre and a suitably plush interior.

VERDICT
It’s expensive, but the Allroad can do pretty much everything one would want of it, and do it in comfort and style.

AUDI A6 ALLROAD
Model: TDI Quattro
Price: $117,900
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Outputs: 180kW/580Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed S-tronic automatic
Thirst: 6.3L/100km
Safety: Five stars

COMPETITORS
BMW 5 SERIES GRAN TURISMO
Model: 530d
Price: $104,100
Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesel
Outputs: 190kW/560Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Thirst: 5.8L/100km
Safety: Five stars

MERCEDES E-CLASS ESTATE
Model: E250 CDI Avantgarde
Price: $108,150
Engine: 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Outputs: 150kW/500Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Thirst: 5.6L/100km
Safety: Five stars

LEXUS RX450H
Model: Sports Luxury
Price: $100,900
Engine: 3.5-litre V6 hybrid
Outputs: 220kW/317Nm
Transmission: CVT
Thirst: 6.3L/100km
Safety: Not yet rated