the power of four

What is quattro?

quattro: (noun) the Italian word meaning four.

More importantly, the word referring to the seat planting, dirt road gripping, permanent all wheel drive system of rally legend engineered and produced by Audi AG.

Vorsprung Durch Badass

Audi began over 30 years ago producing all wheel drive cars, the first of these was the Audi Ur-Quattro. The name literally means “first of it’s kind” “four” (Ur-Quattro), translating to: this was the first production car equipped with a permanent all wheel drive system. It was also the first turbocharged AWD car you could purchase from the factory. This created the perfect vehicle platform for the world of rally racing, and that, is where the legend began.

How quattro works.

It began as a permanent four wheel drive system that used a center differential to connect the front and rear axles, allowing equal power to all four wheels all the time. This essentially created twice the traction of a standard two wheel drive car, giving the vehicle much better stability and grip on dirt, snow, and other slippery surfaces. It was this reason that Audi’s quattro system was so successful among rally car racing.

Today, the system is quite a bit more advanced but shares the same basic concept. In, fact there are multiple versions of the quattro system that are designed specifically to fit different types of Audi vehicles; one system, multiple uses. For instance, the A4 has a quattro system that is mostly front wheel biased (the front two wheels pull the car forward). Under normal driving this system is essentially front wheel drive, however if it detects the car is losing traction, it has the ability to send 50% of the power to the rear wheels, reestablishing full traction of the vehicle. With Audi’s sportier platforms, they feature a 40–60 ratio of power to the front and rear axles, respectively. The system can change this at any time when it detects traction loss, and apply the power to the appropriate wheels to restore stability. They also feature a crown center differential, used to allow lateral torque vectoring. This means that when taking a turn, the inside wheels brake automatically while more power is sent to the outside wheels. This allows more grip and less understeer through the turn. Basically, the car corrects the problems our vehicles encounter in low traction situations such as rain or dirt. The engineering of these combined components are what has made quattro the amazing all wheel drive system it is today.

For the visual learners out there like myself

So what makes quattro so cool?

Here ya go…

but seriously…

It means that your car has traction all the time, in any road situation! This is cool because you can drive down a curvy dirt road, through the middle of a forest, in the rain, up a hill, at 90 mph, and still have control of the vehicle! And as crazy as it seems, professional rally car drivers do this all the time and do so successfully, and under control (control may be a strong word) thanks to the development of the all wheel drive system. Not only is quattro fun and great for racing environments, but it keeps you safe in everyday driving! Four wheels working together to keep your car from losing traction, keeping you planted to the road. That’s what all wheel drive is all about, and that, is what quattro does best.

On the left: Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid ; On the right: Audi Ur-Quattro
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