Audi is quattro and quattro is Audi. The famous all-wheel-drive system is a defining feature of the brand for over 35 years. Proof of that enduring appeal has been provided this week by the eight millionth quattro-equipped model. The car was an all-new Q5 SUV in Garnet Red fresh. It came down from the production line in a brand new plant in San José Chiapa, Mexico.
Audi quattro technology made its debut in 1980. Today it is available in more than 100 model versions. The quattro all-wheel drive system is standard in Q7, A4 allroad quattro, A6 allroad quattro, A8, R8, all S and RS models. It is available as an option in all other model series. In 2015, 44 percent of all Audi customers worldwide chose models with quattro drive. The Audi Q5 topped the list with about 262,000 units. The quattro models generated particularly strong sales in the United States, Canada, Russia and in the markets of the Middle East. In Germany quattro sales totaled 122,048 cars.
Audi offers quattro all-wheel-drive in different versions tailored to each model. For the compact model series with transverse-mounted engines, an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch is mounted at the rear axle. On the R8 mid-engine sports car, the multi-plate clutch is mounted on the front axle. According to the driving situation encountered, these active systems distribute drive torque variably to both axles.
Audi achieved a milestone in automotive history with the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system
Audi also celebrated many triumphs in motorsport with quattro technology. They include so far four World Rally Championship titles and six victories in the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb race in the US. The list continues with a title win in the TransAm series in the U.S., two DTM titles, 11 national Super Touring Car Championships, and a Touring Car World Cup. The latest victory for quattro technology is from late November 2016. Mattias Ekström captured the Driver and Team World Champion titles with the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
The success story began with the Audi quattro
The commanding victories, plus two manufacturers’ and two drivers’ titles achieved with the “original quattro” in the World Rally Championship between 1982 and 1984, were a key factor in producing the success of quattro drive in the marketplace.
quattro victorious in circuit racing as well
The brand stormed up Pikes Peak with the Sport quattro in record time three times in succession. It established quattro drive in circuit racing as well.
R8 most successful present-day Le Mans sports car
Audi switched to sports prototypes. The Le Mans debut was in 1999 and the brand’s team clinched third place. In the following years R8 was in a class of its own. From 2000 to 2002, Audi achieved a historic hat-trick. 2004 and 2005 saw customer teams score two further overall victories for Audi. The R8 secured its place in motorsport history with a total of 63 victories in 80 sports car races.
The company took titles in DTM with Mattias Ekström in 2004 and 2007, while Timo Scheider won in 2008 and 2009, making Audi the first – and so far only – automobile manufacturer in DTM history to achieve a title hat-trick. Tomczyk completed the success story in the 2011 season with another title win. In 2013, Mike Rockenfeller in the RS 5 DTM claimed the ninth DTM title in total for the brand.
Pioneering achievements with TDI technology
In 2006, the R10 TDI was the first-ever car with diesel power to triumph in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours. TDI technology won at Le Mans on eight occasions. 2007 and 2008 again saw Audi win at Le Mans with the R10 TDI. R15 TDI celebrated a one-two-three result in the fastest Le Mans race of all time in 2010, as well as setting a new distance record that has not been broken to date. In 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, Audi TDI Power again won at Le Mans, plus in 2014, the brand celebrated its 13th victory in only 16 races it had participated in.
First hybrid winner at Le Mans
In 2012 the company became the first hybrid winner at Le Mans. R18 e-tron quattro took wins in 2012, 2013, 2014.