quattro. No, it’s not an error. That’s the name of Audi’s famous all-wheel-drive system, and it starts with a small ‘q’.
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Why you ask? Well, that is to distinguish the system from the original Quattro, ‘Ur-Quattro’, which was the original rallying machine -cum- production car, which was first shown to the world in 1980, during the Geneva Motor Show.
Ur-Quattro (produced till 1991)
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‘quattro’ means four in Italian. A German company using Italian? That gets me too. Nonetheless, we see that lower cased ‘quattro’ placed prominently on the grill of almost all the Audis ranging from the Q3s to the RSs and the R8, leaving aside the TT and other smaller siblings.
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But why on every grill? It is to commemorate the olden times when Audi conquered the rallying era. Just like what the Ford GT did in the Le Mans. But for fewer years.
Rallying involved running the production ready cars, in that era (the 1980s), against the clock and each other from point A to point B. All of the companies or individuals ran only the two wheel drive systems at that time. And Quattro undoubtedly revolutionized the whole rally scene. It was the car to beat on all domains: Snow, mud, Ice, gravel. Justifying the dominance of four circles
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Audi Ur-Quattro conquered the rally stage for two years, pushing the FISA (ex-FIA), to create a whole new category altogether.
Some history no?
This all-wheel-drive system trickled down to the road going cars as we can see today. And they are quite efficient and effective.
The system relies on the much-preferred (for me) mechanical system. It ‘senses the torque’ at each wheel, and according to the traction available, divides the power to the front and rear wheels. The center differential is thus called a ‘Torsen Differential’. Some people do know how to play with words.
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Since the system is mechanical, there is null lag and is quite simple and lightweight compared to the relatively complex transfer case. All in all, it is surely one of the best all-wheel drive systems out there and was one of the main reasons to bring the four-wheeled ideology into the mainstream.
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Many companies have since then caught up to the system with their xDrives and 4Matics, urging Audi to incorporate electronics and torque vectoring, making the drives more and more advanced.
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Do check out http://www.geekymotorists.com/ for more…