If you know anything about Audi, you’ve probably heard the word “quattro.” Named after the 1980 Audi Quattro, a road and rally car, quattro is the automaker’s special all-wheel drive system. And yes, the lowercase spelling is intentional: Quattro refers to the car and quattro refers to the all-wheel drive system the car uses.
To help us learn about quattro as it’s used in today’s Audis, we took a trip to Audi Cary to catch a test drive with Brand Specialist Tony Wimbish. Although the weather was a little dicey, Tony said that’s actually the best time to show people how well the quattro system works. Whether you’re crunching over ice and snow, sliding around corners on wet pavement, or even clawing your way up a mountain on loose soil like the original Quattro, quattro all-wheel drive excels in adverse road conditions.
It all goes back to that original Quattro. In the late 1970s, Audi engineer Jörg Bensinger had witnessed a series of tests on the Volkswagen Iltis (the German army’s version of a snow-ready Jeep) that used a unique chassis system. The Iltis was unbeatable in the snowy forests, so Bensinger began developing a similar design.
His new design could climb hills with gradients above 30% (San Francisco’s famously steep streets peak in the mid-30 percentages), and once deployed in the Quattro, it enabled Audi to win so many rally competitions that it was banned as an unfair advantage over its competitors. Audi was only too happy to apply this new technology to its consumer vehicles, and thus every Audi today can be equipped with quattro.
Lucky for us, Tony had time to talk about how quattro is implemented throughout Audi’s lineup. To find out for yourself how it went, give the podcast a listen.
Catch you next time!