Back in the year 2000, the original A6 allroad was introduced merely as a stop-gap until Audi could introduce its Q7 large SUV. Back then, that original A6 allroad was then - and basically is now - an Audi A6 Avant estate with clever air suspension for limited off road ability and a little more styling attitude. A simple enough idea you might think, except that at the time of this brilliantly executed model's launch, no one else had thought of it. Even so, fast-forward a decade or so and you might wonder why this car is still with us - three further generations having made the British market, the MK2 model of 2006, the MK3 model of 2012 and this MK4 design, introduced in 2019. Audi has, after all, long since properly plugged the SUV-shaped gap in its line-up with its various Q-series crossover models.
But almost any brand can sell you an SUV these days. This A6 allroad, in contrast, remains a largely unique proposition, copied in concept by other premium rivals (principally the Volvo V90 Cross Country and the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain) but never bettered in execution. While other SUV-style all-wheel drive estates - including Audi's own smaller A4 allroad - offer nothing more than plastic body cladding and a marginally higher ride height, this one does the job properly, with an air suspension system able to raise the car height enough to give it real off road ability. Such has always been the A6 allroad's appeal, the car of choice for the clever few who realise they don't need a hulking great off roader for the style of sensible SUV-ness. And in fourth generation guise? Well, the recipe's been further refined, with a more powerful range of more efficient 3.0-litre V6 engines and enough high technology to satisfy the most committed technophobe. So much is different. Yet the reasons you might want one of these remain just the same.