One of the jewels in Audi’s cap is quattro. As the history behind the system describes, it’s the all-wheel drive system to end all all-wheel drive systems. Developed in the context of German army snow crawlers, few competitors have come close to replicating its gift for maintaining grip.
All that will shift soon with the addition of a single letter: “e.”
This week Audi announced e-quattro, a new version of quattro that will work with hybrid electric vehicles, which makes sense, if you think about it:
A) quattro is synonymous with Audi.
B) Fuel economy requirements dictate more hybrid and electric drivetrains.
A + B = Audi needs to adapt what they do best with the changing times.
The first vehicle to use e-quattro will be the 2016 A4 sedan, one of a trio of vehicles being revamped by new design chief Marc Lichte. The new A4 will thus represent Audi’s future in many ways: the new exterior ethos, the technological advances of the A3, and the mechanical leap forward that will be entirely its own.
Following that could be a 2017 off-road version of the TT, tentatively called the TTQ. It’s also possible that the TTQ and the Q1 we’re hearing about are one and the same. Whatever the case, that vehicle could be the second recipient of e-quattro.
Although hybrid electric drivetrains come with the added weight of battery packs, several supercars (Acura NSX, BMW i8 and Porsche 918 Spyder) use hybrid technology to great effect. Many of them are also all-wheel drive, which is an additional weight burden. The fact that these cars are the benchmark for speed and performance makes us feel confident about e-quattro.
It could also signal optimism about increasing optimism about the power density and shrinking weight of automotive batteries.
We want to extend a special welcome to Audi fans in Fayetteville and Pinehurst, North Carolina. For any of your questions, feel free to call or stop by.