Four-wheel drive technology has been around since ages, and in case you are wondering what is a four-wheel or an all-wheel drive system – well, it’s basically a technology that can power each of the car’s wheels as per programmed by that particular system. Though, don’t think of Audi quattro as one specific technology – it’s more a methodology or way of thinking that extends throughout the Audi range. It gives drivers traction when they need it most, improving performance in all with Audi’s revolutionary all-wheel drive system.Ever since the early 1980s, when Audi chassis engineer Jörg Bensinger applied his pioneering all-wheel drive technology to the original Audi Quattro (a car that would later go on to win four World Rally Championships), Audi has been pioneering the development and refinement of all-wheel drive. Today quattro provides benefits across the driving spectrum: from safety and ride quality, to high-performance and all-terrain capability.
Three distinct types of quattro technology penetrate Audi’s current catalog of models:
Hydraulic Multi-plate Clutch quattro, which primarily utilises the front wheels in ideal conditions but can send up to 50 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear when extra traction is needed. This solution is currently available on the Audi A3, Q3, and TT.
Self-locking Centre Differential quattro, on the other hand, is the most common type of all-wheel drive technology across the Audi range. It’s designed for lengthways-fitted engines – such as the Audi A6 or Q7 – and powers the drivetrain asymmetrically, sensing torque across all four wheels and delivering power to where it’s needed most.
The one that’s available on sportier models such as Audi’s high-performance R8, delivers all-wheel drive to predominantly rear-wheel driven set-ups via the Viscous Coupling system. Additional power is transferred to the front wheels when it’s needed for difficult bends or in adverse conditions.