As we are in the depths of another snow storm I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss the merits of my car again! I have covered the engine and DSG gearbox in previous posts but now there is another part which is making a real impact at the moment. Audi has always had a reputation for rallying and one of their major developments out of the sport in 1980 was their Quattro technology.
By delivering power only to the wheels that have the most grip means it is one of the most intelligent four-wheel-drive systems currently available. Driving back from the Cotswolds on the weekend I was wondering if it was working as I hadn’t seen any flashy lights on the dash, until I got out of the car and promptly slipped over. I honestly struggled to get back in the car and had driven, at not an insignificant pace, across the country without realising exactly how treacherous it was.
The secret behind Quattro is the Hadlex clutch which moves power between the front and rear axles as required. ESP and other systems then brake each wheel to ensure only those with grip actually spin. It is a similar system deployed on soft roaders from VW and other manufactures, Volvo for one, I know have used this technology extensively with their AWD and XC cars. It is a brilliant piece of technology and one I am surprised more people don’t invest in. Mercedes for example have ‘4matic’ and BMW ‘xdrive’ which are available in all their salon models on the continent but unavailable, for some reason, in the UK.
If as a country we aren’t going to switch to winter tyres during these now wintery months then I believe there is going to be more of a demand for four-wheel-drive in our regular cars. It is incredible what a difference it makes and now will reduce my choice for future cars when I look for a replacement – happily though both the R8 and Bugatti have this system in place as standard.