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TOP-NOTCH TRAVELER: Audi’s 2018 A4 Allroad 2.0T quattro combines superb engineering, luxury, cutting-edge tech and sporty comportment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Audi, Volkswagen’s luxury brand, keeps charting up sales records month after month.

The expanding company also continues to rack up accolades for its various products, including its compact A4 Allroad 2.0T quattro wagon. And after a week in the 2018 model, it’s obvious why automotive types are so enamored of this vehicle.

In this era of crossovers and SUVs, the Allroad strikes a balance between those and standard wagons. No hardcore off-roader, its slightly raised suspension (1.3 inches more ground clearance than an A4 sedan) permits confident passage through several inches of snow or some light dirt road duty. Thank Audi’s long-vaunted and newly redesigned quattro all-wheel-drive system for the Allroad’s uncanny ability to maintain grip under various conditions.

The new design works in conjunction with the Audi Drive Select suspension, featuring adjustable dampers that permit the driver to select from comfort, dynamic, or off-road settings, or to create a unique combination.

Also meriting mention is the Allroad’s superb seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Never once did the gearbox even hint at indecision as to which gear was necessary to meet the driver’s demands, whether in auto mode or using steering column-mounted shift paddles to snap off gear changes. Simply remarkable.

The cabin is created out of top-notch materials used in typically superb Audi design and execution. Cutting-edge tech content, paired with numerous comfort conveniences (although many of them optional), lift the Allroad above many of its competitors.

One fascinating feature is the so-called virtual cockpit, a full-color LCD instrument cluster with multiple configurations including a Google Earth map bracketed by smaller tach and speedo gauges.

The A4’s turbo four-cylinder provides plenty of smooth power to motivate the 3,800-pound wagon with real vigor, while still providing excellent fuel economy.

Adding potent brakes, sharp steering, smooth highway ride and the aforementioned grip, the aptly named Audi Allroad makes a fabulous family all-weather tourer, top-notch in nearly every respect.