Audi is the market leader for four-wheel drive
One in three Audi models is fitted with quattro four-wheel drive: in 2006 Audi recorded an all-time highest quattro installation rate of 33.1 percent. Having produced a total of 306,318 quattro vehicles in 2006 (2005: 219,288), the Ingolstadt-based car manufacturer has now risen to become the market leader for four-wheel drive in the premium segment.
According to Audi boss Rupert Stadler: “quattro means more than traction – the word represents emotion, driving safety and performance, it stands for engineering competence and a dynamic spirit. Over 2.3 million quattro models have rolled off the production line at Audi so far – a figure that speaks for itself.”
The launch of the new Audi Q7 played a major role in the rise in the proportion of quattro models by six percentage points compared to the previous year. In total 72,188 of the sports utility vehicles, which are 100-percent four-wheel drive, were produced in 2006. Production of the RS 4 model family was also well up on the previous year at 7,639 units (2005: 569).
“Audi equips a greater proportion of its vehicles with four-wheel drive than any other manufacturer”, said Ralph Weyler, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales. “That is especially true of our saloons and Avant models. We have the unique selling proposition that all of the models in our current range are available with four-wheel drive.”
quattro – a success story in brief
The idea: on a car that distributes its power over all four wheels, each wheel can provide a greater lateral force than with just rear- or front-wheel drive; the car has superior traction and cornering.
In the spring of 1977 the four-wheel drive project was started which had the objective of developing a high-powered sports coupé with permanent four-wheel drive.
On 3 March 1980 the first Audi quattro took centre stage at the Geneva Motor Show; at the end of the same year the first Audi with four-wheel drive went on sale – and became an instant bestseller.
From 1982 Audi gradually added a further five vehicles with four-wheel drive to its model range – the Audi 80/90, the Audi Coupé and the Audi 100/200. From 1990 the dynamic image Audi had acquired was further enhanced by its S models with their quattro drivetrains.
The latest generation of quattro four-wheel drive is fitted in the RS 4, the Q7 and the R8. It distributes the engine torque between the front and rear axles at a 40:60 ratio. That means even more agility, with virtually no noticeable effects of power application on steering.
On the rally track the quattro won four world championship titles between 1982 and 1984.
Permanent four-wheel drive technology also scored major successes on the racing circuit: the Audi touring car drivers won the most prestigious trophies the USA and Europe had to offer.
In total Audi has built 2.3 million vehicles with quattro four-wheel drive.