Audi is currently testing a development installation of its quattro drivetrain in the sub-compact A1, bringing all-wheel-drive to this segment for the first time. As it gets to grip with the freezing Canadian conditions, Audi used the opportunity to reveal its plans for this newest model in its family.
The A1 Quattro reaffirms the Vorsprung durch Technik brand’s commitment, made at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, to underpin future high performance variants of the A1 with this driver aid. This one-off development car is one of the stars of the ‘Fascination of quattro’ event taking place in Montreal to celebrate the past, present and future of the legendary four-wheel-drive system, which reached its 30th anniversary in 2010.
The latest member of the burgeoning quattro family uses technology very similar to that used in A3 and TT models. At its core is an electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch located in front of the rear axle for an optimized distribution of weight. Inside is a package of plates that rotate in an oil bath.
During normal driving, the clutch sends most of the engine’s power to the front wheels. If the front axle loses grip, the clutch can instantly transfer torque to the rear axle by forcing the plate packages together. A pressure reservoir helps the electric pump to develop the necessary oil pressure.
The UK A1 range currently offers a choice of ten front-wheel-drive models powered by 1.2-litre TFSI (85 bhp) and 1.4-litre TFSI (120 bhp) petrol engines and a 1.6-litre TDI (104 bhp) diesel, and is priced from £13,420 OTR to £18,665 OTR.
The quattro system is already a feature of over 120 variants in the Audi line-up, however ‘quattro’ defines quite a wide range of varied engineering solutions to the all-wheel drive goal and clearly this system being developed for the A1 is aimed at benefitting traction rather than the more performance oriented systems found on the RS5 and R8 sportscars.