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New Audi Rises to the Occasion

November 01, 2000|JOHN O'DELL

Audi's 2001 Allroad Quattro sports-activity wagon hits dealer showrooms Nov. 8, adding a new dimension to the market.

Based on Audi's A6 Avant station wagon, the Allroad, at right, is a different kind of vehicle, a crossover that seems to solve the high-speed stability problem plaguing most regular sport-utility vehicles and SUV-wannabes: It has adjustable suspension that rides at a relatively road-hugging 5.6 inches of clearance at highway speeds but pneumatically pumps up the gap to as much as 8.2 inches when the Allroad leaves the pavement for slow-speed slogging on off-road tracks.

The Allroad comes with Audi's 2.7-liter, 250-horsepower, twin-turbo V-6 for plenty of on-road performance and off-road torque. Audi figures that 90% of buyers will opt for the five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission but offers a six-speed manual as well.

Base price is a stiff $42,450 with manual, but that includes leather, the full-time Quattro all-wheel-drive system, electronic stability control and a host of other goodies. Audi, the luxury arm of Volkswagen of Germany, expects U.S. sales to start at about 500 units a month.

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