From Autoworld Magazine: 5th paragraph
THE QUATTRO SYSTEM
AUBURN HILLS, Mich.-For many people the words Audi and quattro are inseparable. This has been the case since 1982 when the first all-wheel drive Audi quattro was introduced to the North American markets. Now called the Ur-quattro (original quattro) by the enthusiasts who still covet these cars, the vehicle. set about rewriting the rule book on high-performance automobiles. On the road, quattro brought all-season capability to a class of cars that were previously a fair-weather indulgence. On the race track, quattro proved time and again that all-wheel drive traction could beat the unharnessed horsepower of rear-wheel drive competitors--in fair weather and foul.
A brief recounting of Audi's quattro racing success would include the 1983 World Rally Driver's Championship, the Driver's and Manufacturers Championships in 1984, the 1987 Safari Rally in Kenya, and the U.S. Pikes Peak Hill Climb Championships in 1985, 1986 and 1987. In 1988, the production-car based Audi 200 quattros swept the Trans-Am championship for both drivers and manufacturers against purpose-built race cars, while the Audi V8 quattros took the German Touring Car Championship in 1990 and 1991. Proving its merit once again in 1996, in all seven countries where Audi lined up on the grid (Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Australia, Belgium, South Africa and Spain), it won the Super Touring Car title with the Audi A4 quattro. They even enjoyed a one-two finish in the Touring Car Grand Prix to complete the 1996 season. So successful, in fact, has been the quattro system that from 1998 onwards, the World Motor Sport Association (FIA) has forbidden four-wheel drive in their events as an "unfair advantage.
Now entering its eighteenth year on the roads of North America, quattro continues to set new standards--in active safety and all-weather performance. Quattro is a full-time all-wheel drive system that- is constantly at work putting power to the pavement through all four wheels. Available from Audi's all-aluminum luxury flagship, the A8 4.2, to the affordable A4 1.8 T sports sedan, quattro is a proven concept, not a rarity. It is accessible, not exotic. And most of all, it brings a sense of control and security to the driver like nothing else.
Audi's experience with all-wheel drive results in the fourth generation of the quattro, system at a time when other companies are still on square one. The key to quattro has always been to vary power distribution to all four wheels, all of the time, at any speed. The latest addition is Electronic Differential Locking (EDL) which operates on both the front and rear differentials. This feature detects and limits wheel spin and redistributes the drive torque from side-to-side to take advantage of available traction. This traction enhancing overlay to quattro's basic strength operates automatically and unobtrusively at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. Combined with the front-to-rear power distribution capability of the TORSENV (TORque SENsing) center differential that distributes up to 66 percent of the traction to whichever axle has the most traction.
The fourth generation of quattro is so capable that a single wheel with reasonable traction is sufficient to get the car underway.
Many manufacturers are beginning to offer some form of all-wheel drive in their vehicles because they recognize the inherent benefits of it, a conclusion which Audi reached long ago. Audi's quattro tradition enables its technology to be generally more efficient in terms of packaging when compared to other all-wheel drive systems. Specifically, these advantages include no ride height penalty, less added weight, less extra space required for the system, and lower parasitic drag than other all-wheel drive systems. All of this is made possible by the basic drivetrain configuration and the design of the quattro system.
Compared to the "disabling" technology of some traction control systems-where engine power is reduced until wheel spin is under control-quattro is an "enabling" technology. The traction seeking capability of quattro, reads the road, putting the power to the pavement and reducing wheel spin even as it begins.
In recent years the addition of models with automatic transmissions and the *TORSEN is a registered trademark of ZEXEL-GLEASON USA, INC. change to a stand-alone option policy have made quattro accessible to an ever wider range of Audi owners. For 1998 through August, over 80 percent of all Audis sold in the U.S., and more than 90 percent in Canada, were equipped with the quattro all-wheel drive system.
Among luxury car manufacturers, only Audi offers the incomparable quattro allwheel drive system.
Copyright © 1985-2001 Auto World / VIS. All rights reserved. *Values are subjective opinions based on the Staff of NABA / VIS and recent market conditions. National Automobile Bankers Associates / Vehicle Information Services is not responsible for actual or claimed deviation. Copyright 2001 NABA/VIS. Auto World a service of VIS. 561-394-0610.