Celebrate 40 Years of Quattro — Legacy of All-Wheel Drive

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Audi Quattro, the car and all-wheel drive system that changed the brand forever. Ever since the Audi Ur Quattro made its initial debut, the brand has been known for developing high-performance, all-wheel drive machines, proving that four-wheel drive wasn’t just for trucks. Now, forty years later, the Audi brand has an entire fleet of performance cars with Quattro at the center of all of them.


Back when it was first introduced, Audi’s Quattro system was bulky and durable, thanks to a center Torsen differential and a locking rear differential. It could get the original Audi Ur Quattro rally car through some of the most treacherous terrain the WRC could throw at it. On the road, it was as safe and secure as a bank vault, even in the worst of conditions.

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Since then, it’s evolved quite a bit but it’s still as stable and secure as ever. In fact, it’s better than before. Clever electronics, traction control systems and high-tech electronically-locking differentials have made modern Quattro systems not only safer and more secure but, more importantly, more fun. Cars like the Audi RS6 Avant and Audi S8 are both immensely stable at speed and in bad weather but also up their fun-factor.


For instance, the RS6’s Quattro system will throw more power to the rear axle when you’re trying to have some fun through corners. But when you want to slow things down and drive more sensibly, it will do that, too.

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Upping the ante even further is Audi’s new electric Quattro system, developed for the e-tron SUV. While Audi’s electric Quattro isn’t really any different, mechanically, from any other all-wheel drive electric car’s, it’s Audi’s know-how and experience in rally racing that makes it different from the rest. Audi has developed an electric all-wheel drive system that can split and vary torque between the wheels in a manner that’s far superior to most of its competitors. Just take a look at how much more capable the Audi e-tron is on track than a Tesla Model X, despite the latter boasting far more power.


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Over the last forty years, Audi has continued to be a pioneer in the world of all-wheel drive and is still the industry leader in many ways. With electric Quattro, it’s likely that Audi can continue that legacy moving forward.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.