Absent since 2005, the Audi Allroad nameplate returns as a replacement to the A4 Avant in the 2013 product lineup.
“The Allroad is based on the A4, but it sits on the track of the A5. In Germany, the car is the A4 Allroad, but here in the states it is just the Allroad,” said Mark Fruechtnicht, Product Manager of A & B Segments for Audi of America.
AEI interviewed Fruechtnicht during a media ride-and-drive program in Colorado in late June for the Allroad wagon, A4 sedan, A5 coupe, A5 cabriolet, S4 sedan, S5 coupe, and S5 cabriolet—all of which are B-segment cars.
Compared to the departed Avant, the Allroad is 0.6 in (15 mm) wider and 2.3 in (58 mm) taller. The 110.4-in (2804-mm) wheelbase Allroad rides on 245/45 all-season tires.
“Those differences led engineers to shorten the final drive in the transmission,” Fruechtnicht said. The Allroad’s eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission’s final-drive is 3.076:1.
Allroad’s attributes include stainless steel skid plates and side sills as well as a standard electronic stability control (ESC) system with an off-road mode for the 2013 MY that allows the wheels to slip and then grip before the ESC system engages.
“The Allroad is different from the Avant, but we felt that there wasn’t enough space to offer both nameplates,” Fruechtnicht said.
A midcycle infotainment upgrade means wireless in-vehicle availability.
“The C/D-segment cars already have Audi Connect, but this third-generation MMI (Multi Media Interface) brings Audi Connect to our B-segment vehicles,” said Fruechtnicht.
Audi Connect means the “vehicle is a wireless hotspot. You can connect up to eight WiFi-enabled devices inside the car,” Fruechtnicht said about the factory-installed wireless 3G Internet capability.
The navigation system on B-segment cars uses Audi Connect to provide access to Google Earth maps and searches via voice and data entry commands.
“A street view image is now possible—where Google has that mapped—that allows the driver to see a street level look of the final destination once the vehicle is within a certain distance of the desired destination,” said Fruechtnicht.
B-segment technical enhancements also address safety features.
Audi’s blind-spot-detection system is also available.
“When you change lanes, use the turn signal and the vehicle is traveling at least 19 mph, you will be alerted by flashing lights on the exterior mirrors that another vehicle is in the blind spot,” explained Fruechtnicht.
Adaptive cruise control with city braking is new for 2013 B-segment vehicles. The technology, developed by Audi and Bosch engineers, uses long-range radar to detect an object in front of the vehicle.
If the technology-equipped vehicle is traveling 19 mph (31 km/h) or less and an object is detected, the city braking feature automatically stops the car.
Front-wheel-drive 2013 B-segment vehicles add torque vectoring.
“When the vehicle is cornering, a small amount of braking pressure is automatically applied to the inside wheel. That allows the wheel on the outside to turn faster, which enables the vehicle to corner in an easier manner,” said Fruechtnicht.
All B-segment 2013 vehicles now use electromechanical power steering vs. the former hydraulic power steering.
“That change to electromechanical power steering saves 11 grams of carbon dioxide per mile driven. It also saves about 30 lb of weight in the front of the vehicle, which helps increase by one digit the combined mpg fuel economy,” Fruechtnicht explained.
An mpg improvement also occurred with the switch from a 4.2-L naturally aspirated V8 to a smaller displacement engine.
“The S5 coupe is now using the same supercharged 3.0-L V6 that powers the S4. The V8 had a combined fuel economy of 19 mpg, and that’s been increased to 21 mpg with the 333 hp V6,” said Fruechtnicht.
Audi S4 and S5 performance cars equipped with the S tronic dual-clutch transmission are using a mechanical locking differential that saves 4 lb (1.8 kg) compared to the previous center differential.
Audi’s next all-new vehicle in the B-segment is likely two or more years from entering production.
“Our engineers are relentless and constantly looking for new things and seeing what they can do, so I’m sure you will see a few new technologies in the next generation of B-segment vehicles,” said Fruechtnicht.