Audi quattro Technology




More than 30 years ago, Audi quattro® became the first permanent all-wheel drive system designed for on-pavement use. In doing so, it blazed a path for the rest of the automotive industry. Today Audi quattro® continues to set the standard for all-wheel drive systems.

The traction advantage of Audi quattro® is as apparent today as it was then. The first time quattro® made an appearance at a timed event, it completed the course 30 minutes ahead of the next fastest car. That would have been quite a victory, were it competing. It was there simply to test the system and to warn onlookers that racecars would be following.

When Audi introduced quattro® at the World Rally Championship, the result was an astounding 24 wins over the next 4 years. quattro® dominated the WRC, Pikes Peak hill climb, IMSA-GTO and TransAm series until it was later deemed an unfair advantage and banned from road racing altogether.

This unfair advantage is devised around a center differential that shifts power to the axle with the most traction. The system has been refined continually over the years, and depending on model, is set up in one of five different ways.

  • The R8 sports car's unique mid-engine requires a proprietary version of quattro® utilizing a viscous coupling that can send between 15 and 30 percent of the engine's power to the front wheels.
  • Audi vehicles with a transversely mounted engine configuration, such as the A3 and the TT, include a version of quattro® that features a 4th generation electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch that normally sends 85 percent of the engine's power to the front wheels. With the help of an advanced control module, the system anticipates and helps prevent wheel spin, sending up to 100 percent of the engine's power to the rear axle as needed.
  • In Audi vehicles with a front longitudinal engine configuration, quattro® is a mechanical system with a self-locking center differential and continuously variable torque distribution. The system can send up to 60 percent of the power to the front axle and up to 80 percent of power to the rear axle, as needed. Thanks to a 40:60 rear default torque bias, the latest version of quattro® offers more balanced handling than it ever has before.
  • Models with the front longitudinal drivetrain configuration and the Audi S tronic® dual-clutch transmission feature a faster acting, next generation crown gear center differential that is also more compact and lighter in weight. While the default torque bias is the same, the crown gear can send up to 70 percent of power to the front axle or up to 85 percent of power to the rear axle.
  • Certain models with the front longitudinal drivetrains have a newly developed Sports differential standard or available as an option. The system can divert power between the right and left rear wheels to combat oversteer or understeer, further enhancing traction and agility. This effect can be increased or decreased via the vehicle's drive select controls.

Audi quattro®. The traction to confidently use more of the engine's power, more often.  Learn More