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Examining Audi's Quattro technology

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Examining Audi's Quattro technology Powered By Docstoc
					September 12, 2010 12:00 AM
  Audi, the luxury brand of German carmaker Volkswagen, is well known not only for
its high-end vehicles, but for its famous "quattro" all-wheel drive (AWD) systems.
  An Audi engineer working on Audi's rally racing team noticed that an old
Volkwagen army vehicle known as the Iltis could beat most of the company's high
performance machines in a race due to superior handling derived from its AWD
powertrain. Using the Iltis as a basis, "quattro" was born, and Audi swept rally races
for the next several years using the new technology.
  Now, quattro lives on both as a branding for Audi's AWD and in Quattro GmbH,
Audi's high-performance division dedicated to its sportiest and most exotic cars.
Edmunds Inside Line recently looked at some of the landmark vehicles that made the
term famous. While many of these vehicles have been discontinued, most can be
found on the used car market.
  It all started with the Audi Quattro Coupe, also known as the ur-Quattro. Modern
technology means that this machine would likely be left in the dust by even a budget
hatchback these days, but the news source reports that the steering still retains a fun
feel and its easy to see how the car was once king of the rally circuit.
  The Coupe was eventually replaced by the Sport Quattro, which again dominated
rally races in 1984. The news source reports easy drifting and powerslides from this
1984 classic, but it would be a few years before Audi would truly refine the
technology.
  While the mid-nineties saw some intriguing cars using the technology, it wasn't until
Quattro GmbH kicked things into high gear in the latter parts of this decade that
things got interesting again for the German automaker. In 2006, Audi released the
RS4, which at that point was the pinnacle of the technology. While the cars of
yesteryear certainly handled well, none of them were able to handle 414 horsepower
as "with such subtlety and poise" as the RS4.
  For those who want true power, the news source looked at the 2008 RS6 5.0 TFSI
Avant, which packs a whopping 572 horses into a V10 engine. Although the ride is
nowhere near as light and crisp as the RS4, the RS6's sheer power, weight and size
deliver a very different type of quattro experience - still able to handle the corners but
also blow past most machines on the straightaway.
  The latest addition to the lineup, the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI V10, "expresses
everything that Audi and Quattro GmbH have been trying to accomplish all these
years," according to the news source. With a chassis derived from the Lamborghini
Gallardo combined with the signature handling of the entire line, the R8's ride is
"dumbfounding," "sublime" and the "final proof-of-concept for the Quattro Way."
  James Dunsford is a New Jersey used cars specialist for New Jersey Auto Auction

				
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