quattro, derived from the Italian word for “four” has been Audi’s trademark all-wheel-drive drivetrain for over the last quarter of a century. However, as quattro is continually refined and with Audi’s new torque- vectoring system(debuting on the 2010 S4) pushing more power to the rear wheels, Audi has strived to provide a more balanced power delivery akin to a rear-wheel-drive car.
Ironically though, with this new push toward pseudo-rear-wheel-drive dynamics, does it change your perspective on the idea of all-wheel-drive in Audis? It’s a legitimate question given Audi’s move toward rear-wheel biased torque splitting. However, Audi’s history lies in the world of all-wheel-drive.
A rear-wheel-drive Audi? More after the jump…
In the late 1970’s, as Audi tried to climb out of it’s conservative shell as a very small, off-shoot German brand. To do so, Audi decided enter the FIA’s Group B with it’s revolutionary all-wheel-drive concept hidden within the original Audi Quattro. The design proved its worth by winning many of the Group B rallies against the likes of the Ford RS200 and Lancia 037. From that point forward, permanent all-wheel-drive permanently found its home within Audi’s line-up while bringing their name to the forefront of motorsport.
So, as the last few decades have marched on, and Audi’s reputation became centered around the idea that quattro and permanent all-wheel-drive have become synonymous with Audi, in fact, these days it seems almost silly to buy one of their cars without quattro all-wheel-drive.
In practically all of the segments in which it competes, Audi finds itself pitted against rear-wheel-drive competition from Lexus, BMW and Mercedes and Ferrari. With cars like the IS350, M3 Coupe, S Class, and F430 the odds certainly seem stacked against all-wheel-drive. In addition to this, and ironically, Audi Sports runs rear-wheel-drive race cars.
That’s right, when you see the new R8 GT3 tearing up the ‘Ring or you see the A4 DTM car at Mugello – you’re actually watching a rear-wheel-drive Audi, in most cases, because permanent all-wheel-drive systems are not permitted under regulations for many series in which Audi competes. So, obviously, Audi knows how to build very successful, potent rear drive cars.
So this begs, the question, with a company who’s history and forthcoming models will be quattro-based to move along its wonderful power plants – what would you think if they built a rear-wheel-drive Audi? Would you buy it?