W

Will Audi e-tron Cars Move the Brand Toward Rear-Wheel Drive?

Just recently, an Audi Sport exec went on record stating that the performance brand had no intention of building anymore rear-wheel drive cars, following the success of the Audi R8 RWD. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any other standard rear-wheel drive Audis in the future. In fact, with the introduction of more Audi e-tron models, there’s a good chance that rear-wheel drive becomes a bigger part of the brand.

 

Traditionally, Audi has been a front-wheel drive-based brand. Since its acquisition by the Volkswagen Group, Audi has built almost all of its cars on front-wheel drive architectures. However, with all-electric architectures, such as the VW Group’s MEB platform, they have the flexibility to be either front or rear-driven. In the case of the Audi Q4 e-tron, which is built on said MEB platform, it is rear-wheel drive.

 

While Quattro all-wheel drive will always be a massive part of Audi’s brand ethos, even with electric cars (Audi calls it electric Quattro), it seems as if the brand’s two-wheel drive versions will drive the rear-wheels first.

 

As of right now, there’s no word as to whether or not any future Audi e-tron models will be rear-wheel drive first, with an optional second motor at the front axle to provide that aforementioned electric Quattro. However, it seems that the trend of the industry is to make EVs RWD-based. Even Honda, a traditionally front-wheel drive carmaker made its Honda E rear-wheel drive. So it stands to reason that Audi will do the same.

 

We’ve reached out to Audi and are awaiting comment to see if there are plans to make all future Audi e-tron products rear-wheel drive and what sort of benefits there are for doing so.

 

However, if that is the case, and Audi will be making its two-wheel drive versions of its EVs rear-wheel drive, then will the brand begin to make a massive shift away from front-wheel drive? EVs are the future of the automobile and they’re going to begin replacing internal combustion engines soon enough. So could we start to see Audi’s become less front-driven and, in turn, front-heavy?

 

This could usher in a new era of Audi handling. For decades, understeer has plagued all fast Audis, due to their front-heavy nature, which is caused by a combination of front-drive chassis and Quattro all-wheel drive. That understeer has caused Audis to fall behind its other German rivals in terms of handling dynamics, track times and enthusiast admiration. The switch to EVs could cure all of that, simply by moving the preferred axle to the back.

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.