A Closer look into Audi’s “Quattro Principle”

Audi Quattro

Audi has made a name for themselves as an industry leader, both on and off the track. The luxury car brand has set several World Records, including Top Speed Endurance, but many car enthusiasts think of Quattro – their signature AWD system – when it comes to Audi. Speed is nothing without control and the engineers at Audi continue to revolutionize the industry by evolving their Quattro four-wheel drive principle to bridge the gap between performance and safety.


In 1981, Audi introduced the Audi Quattro turbo coupe. The permanent four-wheel drive system brought fourth a new age in AWD, giving more driver-centered customization to the overall driving experience. Up to 100% of torque could now be transferred to either axle while two differentials were locked. This made for a true solid 4×4 system, as capable off-road as hugging the pavement.

Starting in 1988, Audi featured its next generation of AWD in various models starting with the B2 and C3 platforms and carrying on to the C4 platform in the earlier to mid 90s. Drivers enjoyed an all-wheel drive system with true automatic torque distribution from front to rear. Manual rear distribution locking was only required in severe conditions.

With the release of Generation IV, Audi replaced their manual lockable rear differential with an Electronic Differential Lock. The new system automatically detected wheel spin via ABS sensors, applying brakes to spinning wheels and transferring torque using open differential to wheels with more traction. The EDL system works at speeds up to 25mph and without driver intervention.

Many advancements have been made to the Quattro system in recent years, particularly to improve handling in slippery conditions using torque split. Watch this video explaining the Audi Quattro principle.

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