Audi AG recently celebrated its five millionth Audi equipped with quattro all-wheel drive to roll off the assembly line since the first one emerged in 1980. To date, Audi has the most four-wheel drive vehicles in its line up, including the A3, Q3, and TT models.
Five million quattros? Audi is one impressive mama.
In 2012, almost half of all Audi customers purchased a quattro fitted vehicle. Quattros are particularly popular in the United States, Canada, Russia, Germany, and in the Middle East.
“Quattro is one of the key pillars of our brand and has been a critical factor in our successful history,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG. “We are committed to our pioneering role and will continue to develop this advantage with new technologies.”
So high is the demand for quattros that Audi has a subsidiary, quattro GmbH, to develop and build customized quattro equipped RS and R8 models.
It’s obvious that the world is mad for quattro, but why? When quattro debuted in 1980, most four-wheel drive platforms were rough riding and meant for sporadic use at the risk of extensive wear on the suspension (with the exception of AMC’s Eagle line). The quattro changed this, and would help Audi diverge from its staid image to a rallying racer.
For the uninformed, here is a brief description of how an Audi with quattro works: A quattro consists of an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch and hydraulic actuator fitted towards the back of the vehicle. The clutch sends power towards the front of the vehicle. If the system detects slippage in the front wheels, it can direct all power towards the rear.
However, Audi does not apply a “one-size-fits-all” model to the quattro. Each vehicle has a quattro specially modified to its individual frame, weight, and handling. For example, the R8 has viscous coupling that shifts as little as 15 to 30 percent of torque to the front of the vehicle, while the RS models can divert as much as 85 percent of torque to the front and 70 percent to the rear.
Congratulations, Audi. Here’s to the next five million.