Ein Fest für die Sinne: Audi mit Quattro-Technologie.
© AUDI AG
By Markus Höscheler
Ingolstadt, Innsbruck – With so much traction, Audi could understandably easily take off: The four-ring brand has been promoting its Quattro all-wheel drive in various series vehicles for four decades with overwhelming success – almost eleven million cars have been equipped with this system (in various technological varieties) sold worldwide since 1980. For most customers it was evidently very tempting to buy pioneering technology that guaranteed them a high level of driving safety and even unexpectedly high levels of driving pleasure.
The success story began with the Audi quattro, presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980, which promised new all-wheel drive technology for large-scale production: light, compact, relatively efficient and, above all, low-tension (in contrast to the systems that were widespread at the time). Initially, there was the vehicle with a manually lockable center differential, later followed by the self-locking center differential with a basic torque distribution of 50:50 (front axle to rear axle).
Not always easy to calculate
That was already good, but not yet good enough in the eyes of the Audi engineers – because the driving behavior of the Audi Quattro was not always easy to calculate – and so the technicians further developed the system and later decided on a rear-oriented configuration that Increased predictability – tendencies to oversteer could be more easily distinguished from tendencies towards understeer.
The Ingolstadt-based company also increasingly devoted itself to the issue of fuel consumption – they ultimately designed Quattro Ultra, which only engages all-wheel drive when required (controlled by sensors and control units), otherwise it prefers front-wheel drive for low consumption. According to Audi, a vehicle with ultra technology uses only 0.2 liters more fuel per 100 kilometers than a pure front-wheel drive vehicle.
A new challenge for Audi is the changeover to alternative drives. Here, the purely electric e-tron vehicles, which are powered by several electric motors, come into question. The manufacturer consequently speaks of Quattro 2.0. In the standard e-tron, for example, one electric motor drives the front axle and a second drives the rear axle. Depending on the driving situation, it is possible that only one electric motor is in operation and the second electric motor is only used when slip occurs.
The system in the e-tron S, which works with three electric motors, is a little more complex. Here one unit is assigned to the front axle, with two engines separately supplying the rear wheels. With electronic torque vectoring, however, the torque level can be varied for each wheel, for example to ensure high cornering dynamics.