With a sad and heavy heart, after six years and eight months and 46.5K miles clocked on the odometer, I must bid a fond farewell to my lovely 2011 Sprint Blue Audi S5. In its place, I have picked up a 2017 Audi A4 allroad quattro; but, it isn’t any ordinary allroad. More in that later.
As far as why I’m letting go of my S5, it came down to a couple of reasons. While I was driving it a lot less now that I work from home, I still needed something that was easier to haul gear around. I also wanted something that was more comfortable and livable if/when I have a daily commute again. Between ever worsening traffic, the rather thirsty V8 and a left leg that’s no longer fond of dealing with a clutch pedal, it was time to move away from a manual transmission.
The idea of getting the allroad was planted when Audi announced it back on January 2016 and seeing photos of it on display at the various auto shows. I had also had a couple of chances to drive the new B9 A4 sedan. That summer, I also got to ride in the new allroad, and, a few weeks later, a full test drive. The more aggressive design of the B9 allroad, compared to the B8.5, and the peppier 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four mated to a seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch transmission, sold me on the B9 allroad.
Even though I knew that the A5 and S5 Sportback would be brought over to the US, there are a couple of reasons I didn’t opt for either. While the Sportback looks beautiful, it is still a bit compromised when it comes to utility and it doesn’t quite have the same pull on me versus the allroad.
Since neither the standard Audi blue paint options, Scuba Blue and Moonlight Blue, were ones that I cared for, I knew I had to go down the Audi exclusive paint option. I originally started a pool of about a dozen candidates; which, I later narrowed down to three Audi blues: Nogaro, Ara and Kingfisher.
At the end of the day, both Nogaro and Kingfisher fell into the too dark and too light categories. Ever since Audi started using Ara Blue Crystal Effect on their renderings, concept cars and cars on display at various auto shows, I feel madly in love with the color. That said, renderings and harsh auto show lighting don’t always show how well a certain paint color and finish would look in the real world. It was seeing an Ara Blue Audi R8 V10 plus in person at Audi Expo 2016 absolutely sealed the deal for me; especially, seeing how it looks both in the bright sun and as the sun started to set.
Although in some lights, Ara Blue can look pretty close to Sprint Blue; but, it doesn’t have the same teal pearl effect that can be quite pronounced on Sprint. Even if it were available on exclusive orders, I wouldn’t go with the full paint option. I just love the allroad-specific cladding. I kept the decision to go with Ara Blue a bit of a secret, with only a handful of close friends (and the brand specialist that I would order the allroad through, of course) knowing what route I chose.
As soon as the order guide for the 2017 A4 allroad was leaked out, I rushed down to Audi Wilsonville and worked with Josh Jeffery, to work out the details of and put in my order. The allroad order was submitted in July and the exclusive paint order was approved not long afterwards. In November, I received a production update on the allroad stating that it would be slated for production the week of February 17, 2017.
After waiting for over seven months, my allroad arrived ahead schedule. After filling out the required paperwork and signing away my soul, I picked up my allroad on March 26, 2017. The allroad was ordered in Prestige trim, with both Warm and Cold Weather packages. I also opted for the Driver Assistance package and picked out an interior with Nougat Brown and Gray Oak natural wood inlays. The seats are sports seats with ventilation, due to the Inclusion of the Warm Weather package.
I have some additional plans for the allroad to make sure that the gorgeous Ara Blue paint finish gets perfected and protected against the paint destroying things like bird droppings, sap and road grime. Although I don’t have any other immediate plans to tweak the allroad right now, the idea of intake and exhaust, and possibly a tune, might be in store in a few years.
I want to thank Josh and the gang at Audi Wilsonville for making the ordering and purchasing of the allroad pain-free, and for keeping me up-to-date throughout the production and transit process. Additional photos of my new allroad are available on Flickr.