The A6 Allroad is the third model to join the new Audi A6 line-up since its launch in April 2011.
Based on the A6 Avant, it's powered by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with a choice of 201, 241 or 308bhp outputs, or a 3.0-litre V6 petrol.
The A6 Allroad sits six centimetres higher than the Avant and its ride height can be raised by a further 18.5cm on the move thanks to an adjustable air-suspension system that's standard across the range.
A 4x4-style bodykit with contrasting bumpers, wheelarches and sills (these can be colour-coded at extra cost) further differentiates the Allroad, plus there's a steel underbody guard and some aluminium roof rails.
The Audi A6 Allroad is based on the A6 Avant
Together with permanent quattro four-wheel drive and a 2500kg towing limit, Audi hopes this will be enough to tempt people away from high-end SUVs.
Prices start at £43,150 for the 201bhp diesel and rise to £49,445 for the twin-turbo 308bhp BiTDI.
What's the 2012 Audi A6 Allroad like to drive?
The new A6 Allroad copes well with the UK's battered roads, provided you avoid the optional 20-inch alloys, which make the ride overly firm.
Air suspension is standard; ride height is higher than A6 Avant's
On standard 18-inch or optional 19-inch wheels the Allroad's air suspension soaks up most bumps with ease, while body control is generally impressive.
It's only when you select the highest 'Allroad' suspension setting that you begin to feel the car's considerable weight shifting around in corners; 'Efficiency', 'Automatic' and 'Comfort' settings fill you with far more confidence.
The final setting is 'Dynamic', which speeds up the steering for quicker turn-in and a sportier feel. Unfortunately, it also adds weight to the steering that can become tiresome.
Four-wheel drive is standard; choice of three diesel engines and one petrol
The BiTDI isn't short of performance – 0-62mph is seen off in 5.6 seconds – and tweaks to the exhaust mean it sounds great. However, it's an expensive car to buy.
A better bet is the entry-level 201bhp diesel model, which offers plenty of pace along with a respectable 46.3mpg and 159g/km of CO2. That said, we'd spend the extra £1540 to get the superior flexibility of the 241bhp diesel, even though CO2 creeps up to 165g/km and fuel economy drops to 44.8mpg.
The 3.0-litre petrol Allroad averages a lowly 31.7mpg and emits more than 200g/km of CO2, so it's best avoided.
Whichever model you choose, though, refinement is good; there's just a small amount of wind noise at motorway speeds.
What's the 2012 Audi A6 Allroad like inside?
Other than the various Allroad badges dotted around the place and a unique design of floormats, the A6 Allroad's cabin is identical to the A6 Avant's, which is no bad thing.
Interior is plush; MMI infotainment system can be fiddly to use
The quality of materials and assembly are as excellent as you'd expect of an Audi.
However, the MMI infotainment system takes a bit of getting used to, because the four function buttons grouped around the main control dial relate to different commands depending on the menu you're using at the time.
Up front, there's plenty of space and a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help the driver get comfortable.
Meanwhile, the back is roomy enough for a couple of six-footers, but a large central tunnel makes it awkward for three to sit across the rear bench.
Boot capacity is an impressive 565 litres and it comes with all the neat touches (such as straps and lashing points) that so impress in the Avant.
The 60/40 split rear seats drop down so you can expand the luggage space, but they don't fold down completely flat and are heavy to set back in the upright position.
Should I buy one?
There's no escaping the fact that the A6 Allroad is expensive to buy, but it's a much better car than its closest rival, the Volvo XC70.
Instead, the Allroad's premium feel and go-anywhere ability will put it on the shopping lists of those who would otherwise buy a luxury 4x4.
The Allroad's impressive fuel economy figures and its ability to blast four people over huge distances in comfort make it impossible not to recommend, provided you have the budget.
Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
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