Γιορτάζοντας τα 30 χρόνια του συστήματος Quattro, η Audi μαζί με την ανακοίνωση του Α1 Quattrο έδωσε στην δημοσιότητα μερικές νέες φωτογραφίες από τα A7 Sportback, RS3 Sportback, RS5, S4, TT RS Coupe και του θρυλικού Ur-quattro, σε χιονισμένο φόντο. Το σύστημα τετρακίνησης της Αudi, παρουσιάστηκε στις 1 Μαρτίου του 1980 στην έκθεση της Γενεύης πάνω στο Audi quattro και 30 χρόνια μετά η Audi έχει πουλήσει 3.7 εκατομμύρια αυτοκίνητα που διαθέτουν τον εν λόγω σύστημα. Αυτή τη στιγμή, υπάρχουν διαθέσιμες πάνω από 120 εκδόσεις των αυτοκινήτων της που διαθέτουν σύστημα τετρακίνησης, με αρκετά από αυτά να είναι αποκλειστικά διαθέσιμα σε τετρακίνητη έκδοση όπως το RS3. Αναλυτικές πληροφορίες για το σύστημα μπορείτε να βρείτε στο αναλυτικό δελτίο τύπου που ακολουθεί.
[learn_more caption=”Δελτίο Τύπου”]
Audi quattro – the evolution of a successful technology
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is an Audi cornerstone. Now Audi is making it even better – with new models and new technologies. Cars such as the Audi RS 3 and the Audi A1 with quattro drive are either being launched on the market now or will soon be ready for series production. quattro in an electrified powertrain represents a completely new concept for the mobility of the future.
30 years of success – Audi is further expanding quattro technology
More traction, more driving safety, more driving pleasure – the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system has been a successful technology for over 30 years and an Audi cornerstone. Now Audi is making it even better – with new models and new approaches to the technology. The Audi RS 3 is being launched now; the A1 with quattro drive will be ready for series production soon. quattro with electric torque distribution, on the other hand, presents a radical new technology – the quattro drive system for the mobility of the future.
On March 1, 1980, the first Audi quattro debuted at the Geneva Motor Show, heralding the start of a series of triumphs in racing and on the roads that continues to this day. In the more than 30 years since its debut, Audi has produced roughly 3.7 million cars with permanent all-wheel drive. The brand has long been the world’s leading premium manufacturer in this field of technology.
The current model lineup includes more than 120 quattro variants; several models are available exclusively with all-wheel drive. The dynamic S and RS models also play key roles. The Audi RS 3 will be added to the range in just a few weeks, with the A1 with quattro drive to follow.
There is a succession of technologies stretching from the first Audi quattro to the very latest evolutionary stage, the crown-gear center differential. Over the last 30 years, Audi has repeatedly broken new ground with quattro permanent all-wheel drive, including for the models with transverse-mounted engines and for the R8 high-performance sports car with its unique technology layout.
The engineers already have numerous ideas for the future. One of them is the electrical quattro, a hybrid concept in which the front axle is powered by a combustion engine and an electric motor while the rear axle is entirely electrically powered. This technology puts Audi in an outstanding position with regard to the mobility of the future. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system will also continue to add new chapters to its success story in the decades ahead.
The Audi A1 with quattro drive
As announced at the Paris Motor Show back in the fall of 2010, Audi is also bringing the permanent all-wheel drive system to the premium subcompact class. Consistent traction, a high level of driving safety and exciting dynamics – the A1 with quattro drive will be the first car in this segment to power all four wheels.
The youngest member of the large quattro family uses a technology very similar to that used in the A3 and TT model lines. At its core is an electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch located in front of the rear axle for an optimized distribution of weight. Inside is a package of plates that rotate in an oil bath.
During normal driving, the clutch sends most of the engine’s power to the front wheels. If the front axle loses grip, the clutch can instantly transfer torque to the rear axle by forcing the plate packages together. A pressure reservoir helps the electric pump to develop the necessary oil pressure.
The Audi RS 3
Audi is adding a new model to its dynamic RS series: the RS 3 Sportback. It is powered by a five-cylinder turbocharged engine with a displacement of 2.5 liters, an output of 250 kW (340 hp) and torque 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft). A seven-speed S tronic and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system deliver the power to the road. 19-inch wheels and fenders made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) underscore the exceptional position occupied by the Audi RS 3 Sportback.
Audi has a long tradition of powerful five-cylinder engines extending back to the late 1970s. The 2.5-liter unit in the RS 3 redefines the state of the art and was recently named International Engine of the Year by an illustrious panel of automotive journalists.
Developed by quattro GmbH, the RS 3 Sportback rockets to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) from a standing start in 4.6 seconds – the best in its class. Top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h. Weighing just 1,575 kilograms (3,742.28 lb), the compact Audi’s average fuel consumption is just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (25.85 US mpg), which corresponds to 212 g/km (341.18 g/mile) of CO2. A demand-regulated oil pump and a recuperation system that recovers energy during braking play a major role in this efficiency.
The 2.5 TFSI produces its 250 kW (340 hp) from a displacement of 2,480 cc: a specific output of 100.8 kW (137.1 hp) per liter. Its peak torque of 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) is already available at 1,600 rpm and remains constant through 5,300 rpm. The engine elicits goosebumps with its awesome pulling power and the way it eagerly revs up to 6,800 rpm. The throaty roar over the special rhythm of the five-cylinder firing sequence is the classic Audi soundtrack. A sound flap in the exhaust system further intensifies the sound. This flap can be controlled manually via the standard Sport button, which also varies the engine’s throttle response.
Just 49 centimeters (19.29 in) in length, the 2.5 TFSI is very short and weighs only 183 kilograms (403.45 lb). Its crankcase is made of vermicular graphite cast iron, an extremely strong yet lightweight material. Audi is the first carmaker to use this material in a gasoline engine. Perfectly placed reinforcements enhance the block’s loadability. The lightweight construction concept keeps the weight of the Audi RS 3 Sportback low and also offers significant advantages for the distribution of axle loads and thus for the car’s handling.
The large turbocharger generates up to 1.2 bar of boost pressure; the intercooler achieves thermal efficiency above 80 percent. As with all turbocharged gasoline engines from Audi, the 2.5 TFSI combines forced induction with FSI direct fuel injection. The interplay of the two technologies enables a high 10.0:1 compression ratio and correspondingly good efficiency. Flaps in the intake manifold cause the incoming air to rotate. The two camshafts, each of which can be adjusted through 42 degrees of crankshaft angle, also contribute to the formation of a good mixture.
The compact seven-speed S tronic transfers the engine’s power via three shafts – one drive shaft and two output shafts. Like all dual-clutch transmissions, it comprises two partial gearboxes. Shifts are completed within just a few hundredths of a second by changing clutches. Shifts are very comfortable, with no perceptible interruption of power. Seventh gear is tall to reduce fuel consumption. The driver can choose between two automatic modes for the seven-speed S tronic or shift manually using shift paddles on the steering wheel or the selector lever. The launch control system manages full-throttle acceleration from a standing start.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system of the RS 3 Sportback smoothly delivers the power to the road and provides for traction, dynamics and stability. Its central component is an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch mounted on the end of the prop shaft. The multi-plate clutch distributes the torque to the axles as needed.
The rigid body forms the basis for the precise handling abilities of the RS 3 Sportback that stem from its chassis. The four-link rear suspension is mounted on a subframe. Its control arms made of high-strength steel enable the suspension to absorb longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The front suspension is a classic McPherson design and also has a separate subframe. Key components are made of aluminum. The rack-and-pinion steering is highly efficient thanks to its electromechanical drive and features a sportily direct 16.2:1 ratio.
The standard sports suspension lowers the body of the RS 3 Sportback 25 millimeters (0.98 in). The new top model in the A3 line rolls on 19-inch cast aluminum wheels shod with 235/35 tires up front and 225/35 tires at the rear. The internally ventilated brake discs measure 370 millimeters (14.57 in) in diameter at the front and 310 millimeters (12.20 in) at the rear. The front friction rings are drilled for maximum heat dissipation. They are connected by hollow pins to the aluminum brake caps, and four-piston brake calipers clamp down on the rings.
The RS 3 Sportback turns almost reflexively into corners and powers through them in a solid, composed manner, guided with the utmost precision by its sensitive steering. The effortless manageability of the car’s extremely high limit rounds out the character of the powerful compact car.
Exterior and interior
A series of exterior modifications reveal the awesome potential of the new top model of the A3 line at a glance. The front fenders are made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The dynamic flair is carried through to the interior, which sports an all-black color scheme and several RS 3 logos. Audi can supply features such as front bucket seats upon request.
The new top model of the A3 line is the brand’s fourth model now to be assembled at Audi Hungaria in Györ. The RS 3 Sportback rolls off a line there next to the TT Coupé, the TT Roadster and the A3 Cabriolet. Delivery is scheduled to begin in spring 2011.
The Audi Q5 hybrid quattro
The Q5 hybrid quattro is designed as a parallel hybrid – an impressively efficient concept. Its electric motor generates 33 kW and is located directly behind the combustion engine, a 2.0 TFSI with 155 kW (211 hp). Both drives can be engaged and disengaged by means of a clutch according to a complex control logic. They transfer their power to a heavily modified eight-speed tiptronic that does not include a torque converter. The disc-shaped electric motor occupies the space previously occupied by the torque converter.
The Audi Q5 hybrid quattro produces a combined total of 180 kW (245 hp) and 480 Nm (354.03 lb-ft) of torque, enough for sporty performance. Its average consumption of less than 7.0 liters of fuel per 100 km (33.60 US mpg) corresponds to CO2 emissions of less than 160 grams/km (257.50 g/mile). In electric mode the hybrid SUV can cover a distance of up to three kilometers (1.86 miles) at 60 km/h (37.28 mph) and reach a top speed of 100 km/h (62.14 mph).
The electric motor supports the TFSI when accelerating strongly, and acts briefly as a generator to recover energy during braking. The Audi Q5 hybrid quattro can also be powered by the combustion engine alone in addition to hybrid mode operation. The hybrid manager controlling the interplay of the drives makes sure that the TFSI temporarily has a greater load in the low rev range than is required for the drive – the load point is shifted to a higher range, and efficiency improves. The excess torque benefits the electric motor, which now serves as a generator and recharges the battery.
The driver of the Q5 hybrid quattro can choose between three driving modes. Special displays provide status information about the hybrid system. The air conditioning compressor and the power steering have been converted to electric drive. The brake servo also uses an electric vacuum pump.
The high proportion of electric driving achieved by the Audi Q5 hybrid quattro can be attributed primarily to the sophisticated battery cooling system. The lithium-ion battery, which stores 1.3 kWh of usable energy and weighs only 38 kilograms (83.78 lb), is located beneath the cargo compartment floor. Two cooling circuits – a passive circuit and an active circuit that is connected to the main air conditioner – keep the battery within the temperature window required for it to perform to its full potential over a wide range.
Another highlight of the Q5 hybrid quattro is the particularly compact and lightweight power electronics module, which converts the direct current of the battery into three-phase current for the electric motor. All together, the hybrid technology weighs in at less than 130 kilograms (286.60 lb). The powertrain of the Q5 hybrid quattro is also suitable for use in other Audi models with longitudinally mounted engines. These include the Audi A8, the new A6 and the new A6 Avant.
The technology study Audi quattro concept
The first Audi quattro debuted at the Geneva Motor Show more than 30 years ago. Its hot evolution model, the Sport quattro, followed in 1984. In fall 2010, Audi presented a new interpretation of the idea at the Paris Motor Show – the Audi quattro concept.
The purist driving machine borrows many cues from the successful rally vehicles of the 1980s, such as the powerful five-cylinder turbocharged engine and the particularly low vehicle weight. Like the Sport quattro from 1984, the Audi quattro concept is very short. It is just 4.28 meters (14.04 ft) and has a wheelbase of 2.60 meters (8.53 ft). And like its conceptual predecessor, the technology study was created by shortening a production model, in this case the RS 5.
The body of the Audi quattro concept is an Audi Space Frame (ASF) design made primarily of aluminum. Bolt-on parts such as the front apron, the engine hood and the rear hatch are made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) – a structural technique that Audi considers to have great potential. The superstructure weighs just 159 kilograms (350.53 lb). Similar to its predecessor, which also had an innovative lightweight body, the entire vehicle weighs no more than 1,300 kilograms (2,866.01 lb). The power-to-weight ratio is 4.3 kilograms (9.48 lb) per kW, or 3.2 kilograms (7.05 lb) per hp.
The showcar’s lines transform the classic quattro character into a dynamic design language of the future. With no chrome frame, the single-frame grille has a technical and functional character. The LED headlights are flat strips; the vertical air intakes below them hint at the engine’s performance. 20-inch wheels fill the prominently flared wheel wells in the elegantly arched fenders.
The roofline was lowered by roughly four centimeters (1.57 in) compared to the RS 5; the wheelbase was shortened by 15 centimeters (5.91 in) and 20 centimeters (7.87 in) were trimmed from the rear overhang. The muscular C-pillar can be considered a homage to the Sport quattro, whereas the sculpted flanks, the flat rings of lights at the rear and the large diffuser come across as very modern and elegant. The carbon-fiber rear spoiler extends automatically at a certain speed.
Five-cylinder engine with 300 kW (408 hp)
Under the hood with the distinctive air cowl is a classic Audi unit – a turbocharged five-cylinder with gasoline direct injection. The 2.5-liter engine produces 300 kW (408 hp) and 480 Nm (354.03 lb-ft), with the full pulling power continuously available from 1,600 to 5,300 rpm. The Audi quattro concept catapults to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 3.9 seconds from a standing start, yet consumes just 8.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (27.67 US mpg) on average.
A manual six-speed transmission transfers the power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, which is a new evolutionary stage with the crown-gear center differential and torque vectoring.
A sport differential actively distributes the power at the rear axle between the two wheels. All key wheel suspension components are made of aluminum. The brake discs are made of lightweight carbon fiber-ceramic, and the front calipers each have six pistons. The wheels sport 275/30 tires.
Audi’s principle of lightweight construction becomes tangible in the interior. Each of the filigree bucket seats weighs just 18 kilograms (39.68 lb), and accents are provided in the form of large CFRP and leather surfaces. The center tunnel is slender; the instrument cluster is digital, evoking more memories of the 1980s. In racing mode, the driver can have a “prayer book” displayed, which like the navigator in a rally car provides precise information about the route ahead.
The quattro technologies from Audi
Audi introduced the quattro all-wheel drive system in a production vehicle in 1980, kicking off a long-running success story. Today Audi is the world’s leading premium-segment manufacturer of passenger cars with permanent all-wheel drive. Audi currently has four different quattro technologies in its portfolio, providing the ideal solution for each vehicle concept.
The bevel-gear center differential
The superior traction of the Iltis military off-road vehicle during winter test drives in 1977 provided the inspiration for the development of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. A small team under the supervision of Development Director Dr. Ferdinand Piëch designed a sleek, 2+2-seater coupe over a number of development steps. The car was intended as the homologation basis for entry into the Rally World Championship.
The Audi quattro, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in spring 1980, was a sensation. Its permanent all-wheel drive was lightweight, compact and fast-running, thus making it suitable for high speeds.
Like the Iltis technology, the quattro principle did not need the heavy, separate transfer case and weighty auxiliary shaft to the front axle that were the standard at the time. It was the first volume-built permanent all-wheel drive system suitable for fast and sporty cars.
The stroke of genius by Audi was a 263 millimeter (10.35 in) drilled out secondary shaft in the gearbox, through which power flowed in two directions. At the rear end, the hollow shaft drove the housing of the center differential, which was flanged directly to the shaft. Designed with a classic bevel gear layout, it sent 50 percent of the torque to the rear axle via the prop shaft in every driving situation. The other half of the power was transferred to the front axle’s differential along an output shaft rotating inside the hollow shaft.
The bevel-gear center differential eliminated the stresses in the powertrain that arise because the front wheels follow a slightly larger curve than the rear wheels when the vehicle is cornering. The differential allows them to rotate faster. This proved to be something of a handicap on slippery surfaces. The amount of power that could be transferred was limited by the axle with the lesser traction. To remedy this, the driver of the Audi quattro could manually lock both the center and the rear axle differential.
The Torsen differential
With the debut of the Audi 80 quattro in fall 1986, Audi introduced a new center differential – a component that was still strictly mechanical, but highly versatile. The name Torsen was a contraction of the English words “torque” and “sensing.” The Torsen differential had already proved itself in the world of technology as a high-tech rear axle differential; Audi developed it further for use as a center differential.
The innovative feature of the Torsen differential was its arrangement of helical gears with special teeth cut at an angle to the gear axis. The two sun gears on the ends of the drive shafts leading to the front and rear axles are each in mesh with three roller-shaped satellite gears; these are arranged in pairs in a triangle formation around the sun gears and each pair is interconnected via meshing spur gears. If the wheels of one axle cannot transmit the torque supplied, this creates friction in the helical gear train. The helical gears instantly and steplessly transfer the power to the axle with the greater traction.
The standard distribution was still 50:50, but, when needed, up to 75 percent flowed to the axle with the better traction. The Torsen differential locked only when under load. The differential was unlocked as soon as the driver took his or her foot off the gas, thus the ABS was always functional when it was needed. To further improve traction when starting under extreme conditions, the driver could still lock the rear-axle differential electro-pneumatically at the push of a button.
The hydraulic multi-plate clutch
The Torsen differential is an excellent solution for a longitudinal engine and a powertrain that runs in a straight line to the back. Audi chose a completely different technology for the transverse-mounted engines in the compact models – an electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch. It first appeared in 1998 in the TT quattro and the A3 quattro.
The clutch is located at the end of the prop shaft, in front of the rear-axle differential – an installed position that also benefits the vehicle’s axle load distribution. It normally sends the majority of the engine’s power to the front axle. The controller uses a variety of data to analyze the driving conditions and redistributes the power as required.
Inside the clutch is a package of plates that rotate in an oil bath. The metal friction rings are arranged behind one another in pairs – one ring of each pair is rigidly meshed with the housing which rotates with the prop shaft, the other ring with the output shaft to the rear axle differential. The package of plates can be forced together by controlled hydraulic pressure. As the pressure increases, more torque flows steplessly to the rear axle – up to 100 percent in some cases.
Two electric pumps are used to quickly build up the oil pressure, which can reach over 100 bar. In current A3 and TT models, an accumulator that maintains the oil pressure at all times provides for the even faster redistribution of torque, which takes place within just a few milliseconds.
The self-locking center differential
In 2005, Audi ignited the next stage in the evolution of its classic quattro drive system in the second-generation RS 4. The new self-locking center differential, which is active today in many models with a longitudinal engine, remained true to the purely mechanical principle, yet represented significant progress versus the Torsen differential.
Under normal driving conditions, power is distributed 40:60 between the front and rear axles. This asymmetric and dynamic distribution of torque results in sporty handling with a rear end bias. The center differential can divert up to 60 percent of the power to the front and up to 80 percent to the rear, if necessary. If a wheel on one axle should happen to spin, the electronic differential lock EDL controls it by applying the brakes.
The self-locking center differential is configured as a planetary gear. An internal gear encloses a sun gear; rotating between these two elements are roller-shaped planet gears connected to a rotating housing. They distribute the torque asymmetrically – the somewhat larger fraction flows to the rear via the internal gear, which has a larger diameter, and the output shaft connected to it. The smaller fraction is transferred to the smaller sun gear, from where it is sent to the front axle.
If traction is reduced at one of the axles, the helical form of the gears and their oblique splines produce axial forces in the differential. These forces act on friction discs to provide a defined locking torque and to divert the power to the wheels with the better friction values.
The large Q7 SUV uses a special form of the self-locking center differential that is integrated into a transfer case. The sun gear uses a chain to drive an auxiliary shaft that runs past the gearbox to the front axle. The chain is used to transport the oil, eliminating the need for the oil pump normally used. The entire powertrain of the Q7 has shed considerable weight in the latest evolutionary stage. Regardless, the transfer case is very robust. It also allows a high ground clearance, an important trait for off-road use.
The viscous coupling
The R8 high-performance sports car occupies a special position in the Audi range – and this extends to its packaging and its drive system. The mid-mounted engine is arranged longitudinally at the rear of the car in front of the rear axle, with the gearbox right behind it. It also includes an auxiliary drive for a prop shaft running past the engine on the side and up to the front axle.
There a viscous coupling distributes the power between the front axle and the rear axle, which is equipped with a locking differential. Under normal driving conditions, the coupling sends only about 15 percent of the torque to the front axle, giving the R8 the rear bias typical of sports cars. If the rear wheels slip, an additional 15 percent almost immediately flows to the front.
The primary component of the viscous coupling is a package of round clutch discs, alternating between discs with different gearing. One is connected to the prop shaft via the housing; the next disc is connected via the output shaft to the front axle. The clutch plates rotate in a viscous fluid.
If they rotate at greatly different speeds due to a loss of traction at the rear axle, the oil becomes more viscous as a result of its internal friction. By picking up the other clutch disc of each pair, a greater torque is transferred via the drive shaft to the front axle.
The sport differential
The self-locking center differential in the classic quattro powertrain does an excellent job of distributing the power between the axles. To make driving even more dynamic, Audi introduced an additional component in the dynamic S4 sedan in late 2008 that actively splits the torque between the wheels of the rear axle – the sport differential.
The sport differential is a state-of-the-art rear differential. A superposition gear comprising two sun gears and an internal gear was added to both the left and right sides of the classic differential; it rotates ten percent faster than the drive shaft.
A multi-plate clutch in an oil bath and operated by an electrohydraulic actuator provides the power connection between the shaft and the superposition gear. When the clutch closes, it steplessly forces the higher speed of the superposition stage on the gear. Being forced to turn faster results in the additional torque required being drawn off from the wheel on the inside of the curve via the differential. In this way nearly all of the torque can be directed to one wheel. The maximum difference between the wheels is 1,800 Nm (1,327.61 lb-ft).
The sport differential is just as effective while coasting as it is under load. It is electronically controlled and reacts within a few hundredths of a second. Audi developed the software itself. The controller quickly and constantly recalculates the ideal distribution of the forces for each driving situation as a function of the steering angle, yaw angle, lateral acceleration, speed and other information.
Vehicles with conventional axle drives tend to understeer in fast corners. With the sport differential, it is like riding on rails. When turning into or accelerating in a curve, the majority of the torque is directed to the outside wheel, pushing the car into the curve. The system thus nips any tendency toward oversteer or understeer in the bud.
The crown-gear differential
Exactly 30 years after the debut of the first quattro, Audi introduced a new, innovative evolutionary stage of its permanent all-wheel drive system for longitudinal front-mounted engines – the quattro drive with crown-gear differential and torque vectoring.
Inside the new center differential used in the RS 5, the A7 Sportback and the new A6 are two rotating crown gears that owe their name to the crown-like design of their teeth. The rear crown gear drives the propeller shaft to the rear-axle differential while the front crown gear drives the output shaft to the front-axle differential. The crown gears mesh with four rotatable pinion gears. They are arranged at right angles to each other and are driven by the differential’s housing, i.e. by the transmission output shaft.
Under normal driving conditions, the two crown gears rotate at the same speed as the housing. Because of their special geometry, they have specifically unequal lever effects. Normally 60 percent of the engine torque goes to the rear differential and 40 percent to the front differential.
If the torques change because one axle loses grip, different speeds and axial forces occur inside the differential and the adjacent plate packages are pressed against one another. The resulting self-locking effect subsequently diverts the majority of the torque to the axle achieving better traction; up to 85 percent can flow to the rear. Conversely, if the rear axle has less grip, the opposite happens; up to 70 percent of the torque is correspondingly diverted to the front axle.
Thanks to this even wider range of torque distribution, the crown-gear differential surpasses its predecessors to facilitate even better traction. Forces and torques are redistributed utterly consistently and without delay. The mechanical operating principle guarantees maximum efficiency and instantaneous responsiveness. Other strong points of the crown gear differential are its compactness and low weight – at 4.8 kilograms (10.58 lb) it is roughly two kilograms (4.41 lb) lighter than the previous component.
Audi couples the crown-gear differential with an intelligent brake management software solution called torque vectoring. The software can act on each of the four wheels individually, and the new system makes cornering even more precise and dynamic.
When cornering at speed, the software uses the driver’s steering input and desired level of acceleration to calculate the optimal distribution of propulsive power between all four wheels. If it detects that the wheels on the inside of the curve, which are under a reduced load, will soon begin to slip, it marginally brakes these wheels – just slight application of the pads on the disks at minimal pressure is all that it takes.
This action by the differential enables the outside wheels to apply more torque to the road. This assistance is provided smoothly and continuously. The car remains neutral noticeably longer; understeer while turning and accelerating is practically eliminated. Last but not least, the ESP intervenes later and more gently – if any intervention at all is necessary.
The quattro models from Audi
More than 30 years after the introduction of quattro drive, today Audi is the world’s leading premium-segment manufacturer of passenger cars with permanent all-wheel drive. The current model lineup includes more than 120 quattro variants; several models are available exclusively with all-wheel drive. From 1980 through the end of 2010, Audi produced roughly 3.7 million cars with quattro drive. In addition to the volume models, the S and the RS models also play an important role here.
The first Audi with permanent all-wheel drive debuted at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3, 1980. It was simply called the Audi quattro and advertised its rugged character with a new, chiseled body. Its turbocharged five-cylinder engine developed 147 kW (200 hp) and 285 Nm (210.21 lb ft) of torque from 2,144 cc displacement. This made the quattro, which is referred to today as the Ur-quattro (original quattro), a very fast sports car, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 7.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 222 km/h (137.94 mph).
Beginning in 1982, Audi gradually added additional all-wheel drive models to the first quattro. The first TDI with quattro powertrain, the A6 2.5 TDI quattro, followed in 1995. The compact Audi models – the A3 and TT lines – have also been available with permanent all-wheel drive since 1998. Today Audi offers the quattro drive in every model series from the A3 upward.
The Audi Q5
The Audi Q5 features quattro drive as standard. The performance SUV combines the dynamics of a sports sedan with a highly variable interior. The tailgate and the engine hood are made of lightweight aluminum. The body integrates a large proportion of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, which reduce the weight and improve rigidity, vibrations and crash safety.
Interior space is generous, and the luggage compartment’s base capacity of 540 liters (19.07 cubic ft) can be increased to 1,560 liters (55.09 cubic ft) by folding down the rear seat backs. Audi offers a sliding rear bench seat and a folding seat back for the front passenger’s seat as options.
Audi offers the Q5 with a choice of six engines: three gasoline engines and three TDI units. The torque of the gasoline engines is further boosted by the Audi valvelift system, which switches the valve lift in two stages. The Q5 recovers energy during braking regardless of the engine installed. The range begins with the 2.0 TFSI quattro with 132 kW (180 hp) and ends with the 176 kW (240 hp) 3.0 TDI quattro. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the four-cylinder engines; the seven-speed S tronic is available as an option with the most powerful four-cylinder gasoline and TDI engines. The dual-clutch transmission is standard with the 3.2 FSI and the 3.0 TDI.
The chassis also contributes to the sporty character of the Audi Q5. The optional Audi drive select manages the engine’s throttle response, the steering characteristic and the shift points of the S tronic. Audi offers adaptive damper control and dynamic steering as additional system modules. The Audi Q5 also holds its own in rough terrain: the electronic stabilization program (ESP) and anti-lock brake system both have an offroad mode.
The Audi A7 Sportback
Audi is once again breaking new ground in design with the Audi A7 Sportback, whose lines convey aesthetic athleticism and elegance on a grand scale. Measuring 4.97 meters (16.31 ft) in length, the five-door model is an Audi in a new top form. Its low, dynamically drawn roofline lends it the character of a coupe. Optional LED headlights up front accentuate its distinctive appearance; LED tail lights are standard.
Audi offers the A7 Sportback with a choice of four powerful and cultivated V6 engines: two gasoline and two TDI units. They produce between 150 kW (204 hp) and 220 kW (300 hp), and their efficiency sets new standards in the vehicle class.
The new 3.0 TDI with 150 kW (204 hp), which will be available somewhat later, consumes on average just 5.3 liters of fuel per 100 km (44.38 US mpg), corresponding to CO2 emissions of just 139 g/km (223.70 g/mile). All engines feature a recuperation system, innovative thermal management and a start-stop system.
The standard automatic transmissions also play a role in the high efficiency of the Audi A7 Sportback. Audi offers two different transmissions: The convenient multitronic sends engine power to the front wheels, the sporty seven-speed S tronic to all four wheels. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is paired with the crown-gear center differential and torque vectoring. A sport differential at the rear axle is available as an option.
The chassis, too, combines sporty precision with luxurious comfort. The
A7 Sportback rolls on large wheels measuring from 18 to 20 inches in diameter. The links are made of aluminum; the newly developed power steering features an electromechanical drive. The Audi drive select dynamics system is standard and can be supplemented by the optional adaptive air suspension. Dynamic steering will be available somewhat later.
The sinewy sportiness of the exterior carries over into the interior of the A7 Sportback, where all of the details document the care with which Audi builds cars. High-quality new materials, such as layered wood veneers, indulge the senses. The front seats are available with optional ventilation and massage functions.
The five-door coupe combines supreme long-distance comfort with a sporty character. The excellent vibration behavior is the result of painstakingly tuning all components, systematic hydraulic damping in the axle and drivetrain bearings, and the extremely stiff body. Comprised primarily of aluminum and high-tech steels, it is extremely lightweight and very safe. The long rear hatch opens to reveal a large luggage compartment.
The A7 Sportback offers a new level of technical intelligence with logical, self-explanatory ergonomics. The optimized MMI operating system comes standard; among the optional equipment is a head-up display. The groundbreaking MMI touch operating system combines a hard drive navigation system with the convenience of touchpad input.
The online services provided in collaboration with Google connect the five-door Audi coupe to the Internet via the online Bluetooth car phone. A UMTS module pulls images and information from Google Earth up on the monitor and integrates them with the navigation route. A WLAN hotspot provides contact to mobile devices on board, such as an iPad.
The top navigation system works closely together with the many optional driver assistance and safety systems in the A7 Sportback. It provides the route data to the control units for the headlights, the automatic transmission and the adaptive cruise control with stop & go function. This enables these systems to recognize complex scenarios. In many cases, the Audi pre sense safety system can reduce the severity of accidents and their consequences. The new Audi active lane assist helps the driver to keep the A7 Sportback firmly on course, and the park assist system – also new – relieves the driver of the chore of steering when parallel parking.
The Audi A8 and the A8 L
The A8 and the long-wheelbase A8 L are at the front of the luxury class. The Audi flagship boasts a lightweight aluminum body, powerful and highly efficient engines, the improved MMI operating system and a luxurious interior.
The elegant and distinctive body is an aluminum Audi Space Frame (ASF). It is roughly 40 percent lighter than a comparable steel body while also impressing with high rigidity and excellent vibration comfort. It earned Audi the Euro Car Body Award, the world’s most important award for innovative car body design. The LED headlights are another high-end solution.
The A8 is available with four direct-injection V6 and V8 engines: two gasoline units and two TDI units. The entry-level engine is the 3.0 TFSI with 213 kW (290 hp); the engine with the greatest torque is the 4.2 TDI with 258 kW (350 hp). A second variant of the 3.0 TDI will follow at a later date. It provides 150 kW (204 hp) of power, drives the front wheels and consumes only 6.0 liters per 100 km (39.20 US mpg) in the EU driving cycle.
An additional engine is available for the A8 L – the W12 is a supremely powerful and refined gasoline engine that is unusually short and lightweight. The normally aspirated, 6.3-liter engine with direct injection produces 368 kW (500 hp) and 625 Nm (460.98 lb-ft) of torque.
The standard eight-speed tiptronic features closely spaced gears while still featuring a wide spread. Its control system is purely electronic, operated with an elegant selector level and paddles on the steering wheel. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive has a distinctly sporty and rear-biased character. The optional sport differential dynamically distributes the forces between the rear wheels; this feature is standard with the 4.2-liter TDI.
The A8 and the A8 L offer both luxurious ride comfort and sporty handling. Their wheel control arms are made of aluminum. The brake discs measure up to 400 millimeters (15.75 in) in diameter, depending on the engine. The adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is standard equipment and is integrated into the Audi drive select dynamics system. It can be further supplemented by the optional dynamic steering.
The interior of the A8 enchants with new, light lines, craftsman-like fit and finish, and extraordinary attention to the smallest of details. The A8 L is 13 centimeters (5.12 in) longer than the standard version in both wheelbase and overall length (5.27 meters [17.29 ft]).
Audi offers the rear seat passengers the option of two power-adjustable and heated individual rear seats, which can be paired with the optional continuous center console.
The individual seats can also be equipped with optional ventilation and massage functions, and features such as a folding table and a cool box make the passengers’ stay even more enjoyable. The top version is the relaxation seat with power footrest. It comes complete with every available luxury option, including a rear seat entertainment system.
Similar to the A7 Sportback, the Audi A8 and the A8 L feature a new degree of technical intelligence. It manifests in the MMI operating system or the optional MMI touch, in the networking of the MMI navigation plus with other vehicle systems and in the assistance systems. The most important of these is the radar-based adaptive cruise control with stop & go function. It works closely together with the Audi pre sense safety system. Another special feature is the night vision assistant that highlights detected pedestrians.
Audi also offers many attractive multimedia modules. The top version is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System, which boasts 19 speakers. The luxury sedan is at the head of the pack with respect to Internet connectivity. It offers a WLAN hotspot and many attractive services in cooperation with Google as a service partner.
The Audi Q7
The Audi Q7 is the large, versatile performance SUV for sporty individualists. Its design stands for power and presence, with flowing surfaces forming a moving sculpture. The engine hood, the front fenders and the rear hatch are aluminum.
The Q7 engine lineup offers six efficient engines with six or eight cylinders producing between 150 kW (204 hp) with the 3.0 TDI and 250 kW (340 hp) with the 4.2 TDI. A recuperation system that recovers energy during braking is standard. Three variants of the 3.0 TDI are available. The clean diesel version complies with all U.S. emission standards and the future Euro 6 limits.
All of the engines deliver their power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive via an eight-speed tiptronic. With its wide spread and long-ratio upper gears, the automatic transmission also makes an important contribution to good efficiency.
The Audi Q7 has a particularly sophisticated chassis. Aluminum double wishbones mounted on a separate subframe guide the wheels. Audi can also deliver the adaptive air suspension on request. Wheel sizes range from 18 to 21 inches in diameter. Large ceramic-fiber brake discs are available as options for the two most powerful models. The ESP stabilization program includes an offroad mode, and a hill descent assist is also on board.
Thanks to its luxurious 3.00 meter (9.84 ft) wheelbase, the 5.09 meter (16.70 ft) long Audi Q7 has interior room to spare. 27 different seating configurations are possible. Audi can deliver the big SUV with five, six or seven seats as desired by the customer. The seat backs in the second row can be folded, increasing the cargo capacity from a volume of 775 liters (27.37 cubic ft) to 2,035 liters (71.87 cubic ft).
Three different types of seats are available for the driver and the front-seat passenger, with heated and ventilated climate-controlled comfort seats as the top version. With its elegant lines and many upscale details, the interior conveys the typical Audi wellness feeling. Options include such luxury features as a four-zone automatic air conditioning system. Audi offers an entire system of infotainment modules, and high-performance assistance systems round out the range.
The Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro
The Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro is the most powerful diesel SUV in the world. Its V12 draws 368 kW (500 hp) of power from 1,750 cc displacement and delivers 1,000 Nm (737.56 lb-ft) of torque to the six-speed tiptronic between 1,750 and 3,250 rpm. Requiring just 5.5 seconds for zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) and with a governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph), the Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro has the performance of a powerful sports car, yet consumes on average just 11.3 liters of fuel per 100 km (20.82 US mpg). The standard equipment of the top model includes 20-inch wheels, a ceramic brake system, the adaptive air suspension, a Bose sound system and sport seats.
The S models
Audi launched the S model family in 1990. They used abundant power, refined style and quattro permanent all-wheel drive to further cultivate the dynamic image that the brand had earned in racing.
The first S model was the Coupé S2, the successor to the first quattro. Power was provided by the 161 kW (220 hp) five-cylinder turbo of its predecessor. The S models quickly established themselves in all categories – in the compact class, the mid-size class, the full-size class, the luxury class and the TT compact sports car.
The Audi S3 and the Audi S3 Sportback
Topping the A3 model line today are the Audi S3 and the S3 Sportback with 195 kW (265 hp). The two-liter TFSI with direct injection and powerful turbocharger is a true high-performance engine, with which the S3 sets standards in its class. The three-door model sprints to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.7 seconds (with S tronic: 5.5 seconds). As with all S models, the top speed is governed at 250 km/h (155.34 mph).
The driver of the S3 changes gears via a manual six-speed transmission. In the quattro drivetrain, a hydraulic multi-plate clutch with an electronic control unit distributes the torque. The body of the S3 is 25 millimeters (0.98 in) lower than an A3 with the standard chassis. Stiffer chassis bearings and a sporty steering characteristic enhance precision. Large brakes provide the stopping power, and 18-inch wheels deliver the power to the road.
The Audi S4 and the Audi S4 Avant
The Audi S4 and the S4 Avant are powerful athletes. Their engine, the 3.0 TFSI, is supercharged and highly throttle-responsive. The V6 serves up 245 kW (333 hp) of power and 440 Nm (324.53 lb-ft) of torque together with a fuel consumption of just 9.7 liters of fuel per 100 km (24.25 US mpg) [Avant: 9.9 liters (23.76 US mpg)]. The sedan sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.1 seconds; the Avant in 5.2 seconds.
Both versions come standard with a six-speed manual transmission. The sport suspension lowers the vehicle body by 20 millimeters (0.79 in), and a high-performance brake system provides powerful deceleration. The wheels are 18 inches in diameter.
Optional high-end technologies from Audi enable the S4 to extend its advantage even further. The seven-speed S tronic shifts gears within hundredths of a second; the sport differential distributes power actively and variably between the rear wheels while cornering at high speeds. The Audi drive select system enables the driver to alter the mode of operation of the engine, the S tronic and the sport differential as desired. Dynamic steering and adaptive damper control round out the package.
The Audi S5 Coupé, the Audi S5 Cabriolet and the Audi S5 Sportback
The S5 Coupé is powered by a classic, brawny, normally aspirated engine. The 4.2-liter V8 FSI generates 260 kW (354 hp) and delivers 440 Nm (324.53 lb-ft) of torque. It accelerates the two-door model to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.1 seconds. Audi offers the S5 Coupé with a sportier six-speed tiptronic transmission as an option instead of the standard six-speed manual transmission.
The S5 Cabriolet and the S5 Sportback have the same TFSI engine under the hood as the S4. The supercharged three-liter V6 engine generates 245 kW (333 hp) for superior performance. The Sportback completes the sprint to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.4 seconds, the Cabriolet in 5.6 seconds. The seven-speed S tronic is standard here.
The sport suspension has been dynamically tuned for all three S5 models. The high-performance brake system with its black calipers provides for powerful deceleration; the 18-inch wheels and wide tires deliver tenacious grip. Audi also offers the Audi drive select dynamics control system, the sport differential, the damper control system and dynamic steering as options.
The Audi TTS and the Audi TTS Roadster
Both versions of the TTS – the Coupé and the Roadster – are powered by a two-liter TFSI producing 220 kW (272 hp) and 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of torque. The four-cylinder unit accelerates the TTS Coupé with S tronic from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.2 seconds; the TTS Roadster completes this same exercise in 5.4 seconds.
Thanks to its largely aluminum body, the TTS is extraordinarily light, with a curb weight of only 1,395 kilograms (3,075.45 lb). When coupled with the optional six-speed S tronic, the TTS Coupé consumes an average of only 7.7 liters of fuel per 100 km (30.55 US mpg). The dual-clutch transmission changes gears with lightning speed and almost imperceptibly. The hydraulic multi-plate clutch, the heart of the quattro drivetrain, diverts torque from the front to the rear axle in just fractions of a second, if necessary.
The TTS comes standard with the Audi magnetic ride adaptive shock absorber system. In normal mode, it is well-balanced on the road. In sport mode, it leverages the potential of its suspension – which lowers the vehicle body by 10 millimeters (0.39 in)) – to achieve uncompromisingly dynamic handling. When the need arises, a high-performance brake system reliably brings the compact Audi sports car to a stop.
The RS models
Since 1994 the RS models, with their high-performance engines and quattro permanent all-wheel drive, have formed the dynamic spearhead of the Audi model range. quattro GmbH has been responsible for these vehicles since 2000.
The first model – the RS 2 based on the Audi 80 Avant – was created in collaboration with Porsche in 1994. Its 2.2-liter, five-cylinder engine used four-valve technology and turbocharging to produce a spectacular 232 kW (315 hp). Both performance and the brakes were in the same league as those of powerful sports cars. Additional RS models were added in the mid-size and full-size classes over the years, and the TT RS and RS 5 rounded out the range in 2009 and 2010.
The Audi TT RS and Audi TT RS Roadster
Five-cylinder engines are in Audi’s DNA. The TT RS features a prime example of such an engine, a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine with FSI gasoline direct injection. It generates 250 kW (340 hp) and delivers 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft. When the driver pushes the Sport button, a flap in the left exhaust tailpipe renders the five-cylinder unit’s sound even more intense and the engine’s responsiveness is boosted further.
The TT RS Coupé rockets from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds; the Roadster in 4.7 seconds. With S tronic these same figures are 4.3 and 4.4 seconds, respectively. quattro GmbH will raise the top speed to 280 km/h (173.98 mph) upon request. The Coupé uses just 9.0 liters of fuel per 100 km (26.13 US mpg); the Roadster uses 9.1 liters per 100 km (25.85 US mpg). In combination with S tronic, these values improve to 8.5 and 8.6 liters per 100 km (27.67 and 27.35 US mpg), respectively. A recuperation system contributes to this efficiency.
The TT RS offers a choice of the tightly-spaced six-speed manual transmission and the new seven-speed S tronic. The dual-clutch transmission, which features a compact three-shaft layout, can handle high torques and is widely spaced, with its seventh gear designed as an overdrive. The S tronic includes launch control for lightning-fast starts.
The TT RS Coupé boasts a power-to-weight ratio of only 4.3 kilograms (9.48 lb) per hp; this same figure for the Roadster is 4.4 kilograms (9.70 lb) per hp. These top figures are due primarily to the extremely lightweight Audi Space Frame (ASF) bodies made of aluminum in the front and sheet steel in the rear. The Audi TT RS rolls on 18-inch wheels; four-piston calipers and drilled brake discs provide the stopping power up front. The sport suspension lowers the vehicle body by 10 millimeters (0.39 in), and the Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system is available as an option.
The Audi RS 5 Coupé
A classically elegant coupe with a breathtakingly powerful engine: the Audi RS 5 Coupé is an exceptional athlete. A high-revving, normally aspirated V8 powers the two-door model. The 4.2 FSI produces 331 kW (450 hp) at 8,250 rpm, with the peak torque of 430 Nm (317.15 lb-ft) available between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. The sonorous V8 accelerates the RS 5 Coupé from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds. Audi will increase the electronically governed top speed to 280 km/h (152.24 mph) upon request.
The 4.2 FSI consumes an average of just 10.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (21.78 US mpg) on average – far less than its key competitors. This impressive figure is due to the technologies from the Audi modular efficiency platform, which also includes a recuperation system. With its high efficiency and its long top gear, the standard seven-speed S tronic also contributes to the good fuel economy. Launch control enables rocket-like starts.
Like every Audi RS model, the RS 5 Coupé applies its power to the road with quattro permanent all-wheel drive, here in the latest evolutionary stage with the crown-gear center differential. Audi also offers the sport differential as an option.
The suspension of the RS 5 Coupé lowers the vehicle body by 20 millimeters (0.79 in). 19-inch alloy wheels are standard, 20-inch wheels are optionally available. The optional Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) damping technology is a purely mechanical system without any lag. The brake system features large, internally ventilated discs; the front calipers have eight pistons. Audi delivers carbon fiber-ceramic discs up front upon request.
The Audi drive select driving dynamics system comes standard with the RS 5 Coupé. The sport differential, dynamic steering and the sport suspension plus – the DRC with variable damper response – are available as options.
The quattro competition models from Audi
Right from the start, Audi never had the slightest doubt that quattro was perfectly suited to motorsport. Audi entered the World Rally Championship in 1981 and was exceedingly successful.
Then race cars equipped with permanent all-wheel drive dominated every circuit racing competition they entered. The successes: 1988 in the North American TransAm series with the Audi 200 turbo quattro, the first oval track car in Audi history; 1989 in the most challenging touring car series in North America, the IMSA GTO, with the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO; 1990 in the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) with the Audi V8 quattro DTM; and 1996 in the Super Touring Car Cup (STW) and in six other international championships with the Audi A4 quattro Supertouring.
With its success in racing, quattro technology shaped the image of the Audi brand in a more enduring fashion than any advertising campaign costing millions ever could.
The Rally quattro
The idea of a rally car was every bit as old as the concept for the production car at Audi, originating in 1977. The Audi Sport Department was established the following year and became involved in rally racing with the front-wheel drive Audi 80.
The first quattro ran as a course car in the European Championship series race in Portugal. In early 1981, the quattro cars swept over the rally scene like a force of nature. Local driver Franz Wittmann won the Janner Rally in Austria, which was not a World Championship race, in a Rally quattro with a lead of more than 20 minutes over the second-place car.
The Rally quattro used the same five-cylinder turbo as the production car; the 10-cylinder engine developed a hearty 230 kW (roughly 310 hp) from 2.1 liters of displacement and 1.6 bar of boost. Lightweight body components limited its weight to around 1,200 kilograms (2,645.55 lb), roughly 100 kilograms (220.46 lb) less than the production car. Depending on the final drive ratio, the Rally quattro accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.14 mph) in around 5.2 seconds on a dry surface.
At its World Championship debut in the Monte Carlo Rally, the quattro again demonstrated its superiority. Ten kilometers into the first stage, Hannu Mikkola passed a Lancia Stratos in the snow that had started one minute before him; only an accident was able to slow the Finn. Then, in the Swedish Rally, he clinched the first win. The French driver Michèle Mouton became the first woman to win a World Championship race in San Remo, and Mikkola emerged victorious again in the RAC Rally. At the end of the Audi model’s first year in action, it was placed third in the drivers’ standings.
By 1982, the quattro was already virtually unbeatable anywhere in the world; Audi easily captured the Manufacturers’ Trophy with seven victories. Mouton won in Portugal, Greece and Brazil; only a breakdown in the penultimate race in the Ivory Coast cost her the drivers’ title. However, Mikkola became champion in 1983 after winning in Finland, Sweden, Argentina and Portugal.
Audi introduced two evolutions of the competition car in quick succession during this season. The second version with the internal designation A2 ultimately developed as much as 295 kW (a good 400 hp). The weight was reduced to less than 1,100 kilograms (2,425.08 lb), in part due to an aluminum cylinder block.
The next year, too, began with a win. The newly recruited double world champion Walter Röhrl won the Monte Carlo Rally ahead of his team colleagues Stig Blomqvist (Sweden) and Hannu Mikkola. The season ended with Audi once again dominating the manufacturers’ championship with seven victories. Blomqvist posted five of those and won the drivers’ championship ahead of Mikkola.
The Sport quattro S1
Rally racing reached new heights in the 1984 season. The competitors exploited the very liberal regulations at that time in Group B to enter mid-engine cars that were pure race cars with only a visual resemblance to production models. Audi also considered a similar concept. A prototype was developed but then put back on ice.
Audi’s new weapon was the Sport quattro with a wheelbase of just 2,224 millimeters (7.30 ft) – an attempt to make the near-series front-engine concept lighter and more maneuverable by shortening it drastically by 300 millimeters (11.81 in). The “short” quattro raced from May in parallel with the Rally quattro A2, but took time to build up some momentum. Blomqvist had to wait until the penultimate race in the Ivory Coast for the first win. Audi needed to turn up the heat.
July 1, 1985 was the date of the homologation of the final stage in its evolution, the S1. The aluminum five-cylinder engine with 20 valves officially developed 350 kW (476 hp) and 480 Nm (354.03 lb ft) of torque; with a charge-air circulation system that kept the turbo engine constantly under boost, the actual figure was probably in excess of 370 kW (over 500 hp), at around 8,000 rpm. In the middle ratio the 1,090 kilogram (2,403.04 lb) S1 shot from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 3.1 seconds, and to 200 km/h (124.27 mph) in 11.8 seconds.
There were various differential locks to choose from for the quattro powertrain – multi-plate, Torsen and conventional. In the last race of the season, the British RAC Rally, Walter Röhrl used a dual-clutch transmission that was actuated pneumatically – a precursor of today’s S tronic. The chassis comprised a tubular space frame paneled with sheet steel and plastic; to optimize the weight distribution the radiator, fan, battery and alternator were at the rear. Large wings generated downforce on fast sections of the course.
Röhrl meticulously fine-tuned the S1 over a period of weeks in Liguria. At the San Remo Rally in October, he won 29 of the 45 stages and crossed the finish line as the winner with a lead of 6:29 minutes.
The powder keg days of Group B were numbered, however. The final blow came in spring 1986 when several spectators and participants were killed in accidents at World Championship races in Portugal and Corsica. Audi withdrew from the series, and FISA, the world governing body, approved the changeover to the near-series Group A rules. The new mid-engine car from Ingolstadt was never raced.
The S1 Pikes Peak
Following the end of Group B, the S1 was still able to celebrate one last triumph – victory in the 1987 Pikes Peak mountain race with Walter Röhrl at the wheel.
The “International Hill Climb” on the 4,301 meter (14,110 ft) mountain in the U.S. state of Colorado takes place at dizzying heights. The starting line at 2,866 meters (9,400 ft) and the finish line is at the summit 19.99 kilometers (12.42 miles) away. At that time, the serpentine course with its 156 curves consisted mainly of sand and gravel over a solid substrate of clay. The course is six meters (19.69 ft) wide on the straights and up to 15 meters (49.21 ft) wide in the corners; there are no guardrails. The course repeatedly runs along sharp edges like the edge of a table. At a point known as the “Bottomless Pit,” there is a gaping 1,800 meter (5,900 ft) drop-off.
Audi entered the Pikes Peak race for the first time in 1984. Michèle Mouton finished second in the Sport quattro; she won the race in 1985. In 1986, local driver Bobby Unser set a new record of 11:09.22 minutes in the S1; Walter Röhrl followed him the next year. His Sport quattro S1 was a concept of bare functionality pushed to the absolute limit. The five-cylinder engine pumped out 440 kW (nearly 600 hp) and 590 Nm (435.16 lb-ft) of torque. The recirculation system kept the large turbocharger spinning. A dual-clutch transmission directed the power to a quattro powertrain with three locking differentials.
Sitting behind the 16-inch tires with the cut slicks was a small and lightweight brake system developed specifically for hill climbs. The S1 weighed only around 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) and featured a tubular space frame paneled with steel and plastic. Massive wings at the front and rear pressed the body against the ground, and even the flanks sported vertical stabilizers.
On race day, June 11, Röhrl started second to last, before the driver with the fastest practice time, Ari Vatanen (Peugeot). As calm and collected as ever behind the wheel, the Bavarian navigated the world’s highest highway in the record time of 10:47.85 minutes. He got the Sport quattro S1 into sixth gear four times and was clocked at 196 km/h (121.79 mph) at the fastest part of the track. Röhrl beat Vatanen by nearly seven seconds.