The New Audi Allsport

Due west of Denver up into the mountains through the Loveland Pass there was little sign of the raging inferno engulfing Colorado Springs and causing postponement the 90th annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb –except for some spectacularly colorful sunsets.

Oddly adjacent to the tragic wildfire news story, the motor press got a refresher course in the rising dominance of the Audi brand — just off its 11 win at the 24 hours of LeMans (the first time ever with a hybrid).

The mountain setting was perfect for the newly re-introduced Audi Allroad. The new $40,000 model is aggressively wider and low-slung than the earlier A6 based Allroad — with signature features like LED headlights, a glitzy front grille design and exquisite interior appointments. A few muscular bulges and the optional cladding are the main exterior differentiation from A4 Avant wagon on which this vehicle is based.

Featuring a 211-horsepower four cylinder with an 8-speed automatic, in sport mode, using the paddle shifters, the Allroad offers both agile roadability and tough duty character.

In cargo space too — the Allroad bests some of the biggest compact luxury crossovers with 27.6 cubic feet behind the five-passenger seating area, and a full 50 when the back seats are folded down.