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Audi allroad Tires and Wheels
The tires are supposed to be a compromise offering some off road capabilities, some all season capabilities and a nod to the fact that the allroad is after all based on a German sport sedan/avant (the A6). The best of all worlds, at least that was the original idea -- the worst of all worlds in practical terms.
In stock form the allroad really does have a pretty capable sporty sedan-like vehicle lurking just beneath the surface. The easiest, quickest way to uncover this aspect is simple: new tires.
The tires must closely conform to the geometry of the OE tires if you wish to do a replacement with some "upside potential" (upside performance that is).
Depending on where you live you will either want to do All Season tires which pretend to have some winter capabilities (and in truth they have some) or 3 season tires (with dedicated winter tires for your local's climate).
The single most popular tire for the OEM wheels for the allroad appears to be Michelin Pilot Sport All/Season's in "plus zero" size 245 x 50 x 17".
The geometry is preserved by this size. Indeed this size is virtually perfect for the car and its factory OE wheels -- in my opinion it is an "11" on a scale of 1 - 10 for fitment and performance.
If you don't need all seasons, you can look for tires in this size that are termed UHP (ultra high performance) or MAX (maximum performance). The above mentioned Pilot Sport A/S are a hybrid tire in that they are both UHP and all season. As far as I know there are no MAX and all season rated tires available.
The UPH and MAX tires (A/S or 3 season) will improve the turn-in and overal responsiveness of the allroad -- even if everything else is 100% bone stock.
Note: UHP and MAX tires rarely are good for more than 20,000 miles and UHP A/S tires if driven in a 4 season climate 1,500 miles/month will really only have one good winter in them, even if they are not otherwise worn out -- it just goes with the territory. UHP and MAX tires do what they do (so well) because they have sticky tread -- sticky tread is, more or less, "soft" and gives great dry and wet traction at the expense of tread life.
A longer lasting, harder tire will be a mismatch for the allroad's suspension and capabilities.
So, plus zero - absolutely yes. 245 x 50 x 17" is THE way to go. Even greater improvements in the handling dept can be had by going plus 1 which means NEW WHEELS and 245 x 45 x 18" tires (this is the allroad 4.2 set up, FYI and there are 18" wheels available from Audi for the 2.7T and 18" wheels that will fit the allroad from many many other vendors too.)
Now, having had the Pilot Sport A/S's, I can say they are excellent tires and only a fair value. Now with 1 year under my belt, I can say that the tires ARE great but frankly overpriced by about $50 to $75 per tire based on what you could buy if you educate yourself at www.tirerack.com and www.tires.com.
My current set up and the one I wished I had done from day one is:
Factory OEM wheels and tires (Goodyear) for 10 winter weeks; 18" x 8.5" wheels and 245 x 45 x 18" UHP 3 season tires for the other 42 weeks. The handling with the 18"s took another major step up.
Now with respect to the suspension. My dealer used the on board allroad comupter to lower the air suspension by -12mm -- my #2 setting is about like #1 on stock set up that is. After they did this they performed an all-wheel alignment. The result is a somewhat stiffer ride but an improvement in cornering as the car is both lower and stiffer. Body roll is still an issue with such a set up: Plus sized tires and lowered suspension, that is.
However for about $200 which includes labor, you can have your dealer order A6 sport rear anti-swaybar and bushing and replace the stock allroad 15mm swaybar with the sport swaybar which is 20% thicker or 18mm. The roll or "lean" into curves is substantially reduced and the ride is not compromised.
I have no reason to believe that this will harm the vehicle or void my warranty. All the "mods" I have made, tires, wheels, lowering and swaybar have been done at the dealer with dealer approved and/or supplied parts.
Finally for another $90, I had the factory BPV's (turbo by-pass-valves) replaced with Sport BPV's, the result, smoother power, slightly stronger power and a vrooooommmmm sound kinda like the THX movie trailer as you accelerate through 6000RPM.
The whole car, and mine is a 6spd, feels stronger, sportier, more capable overall.
If you have $375 and want to go to the ultimate you can get FRONT AND REAR sway bars from www.h-sport.com that will even more totally transform the car's handling by making it corner under almost all circumstances perfectly flat.
It is, however, stiffer with the h-sport set up but since the springs and shocks are stock the ride, for most people's tastes actually is improved since virtually all remaining wallow is banished from the vehicle. Unfortunately, for me, the cost of the h-sport's since I already have the PSK rear only anti-swaybar is hard to justify since I have only 23 months remaining on my lease.
Now, chipping the engine is another matter, and it is one of hot debate and potential cost if you have a mod (chip) unfriendly dealer. Personally only the tiptronic versions need such a mod as they are, IMHO, castrated at birth by the programming and gear ratios of the tiptronic -- which as you may know imparts both a slower acceleration capability and a "hesitation" that has been dubbed "tip-lag." If you are shopping for an allroad and must have a tiptronic, go with the 4.2 -- just remember that a 6spd 2.7T is quicker than a $6,000 more expensive 4.2 tip.
Drive it like you live!