Welcome to the Land of Quattro. Four-wheel-drive (4WD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) used to be synonymous with mullets in the minds of most consumers. After all, why would you need power on all four wheels when you don’t live in the montains, with the bears and Red Indians?
But like many buzz-worthy specs originally developed for enthusiasts and professionals, some variant of the general principle of AWD was soon rushed into vehicles of all stripes by manufacturers. By distributing power to the wheels that need it most, Audi discovered that it could make its cars world-beaters.
Over 30 years ago, the notion of a car with permanent all-wheel drive was revolutionary. Audi called it Quattro and its benefits would set a new benchmark for driver confidence and performance.
The advantage of all-wheel drive was most apparent when Audi introduced Quattro to the World Rally Championship. With this system, Audi’s WRC cars seemed to defy physics with startling acceleration and remarkable traction. The result was an astounding total of 24 wins and a number of world championships. If that wasn’t enough of an endorsement for quattro®, it was later deemed an “unfair advantage” and banned from road racing altogether after repeatedly dominating the field.
Today, in that same competitive spirit, Audi Quattro all-wheel drive continues to be refined. In Audi vehicles with a longitudinal engine configuration, Quattro is essentially a mechanical system with a self-locking center differential and continuously variable torque distribution.
But what does this all mean to your average, run-of-the-mill motorist then? Well, the best way to find out is to roll up your sleeves and and wade into it yourself… and that was what we did with Audi one fine weekend.
Euromobil, the local distributors for Audi cars, recently launched its “Malaysia. Land of Quattro” online challenge. It’s actually a global initiative Audi’s leading all-wheel drive technology. Punters taking part in this will stand a chance to win a Grand Prize of an all-expenses paid trip for two to the much talked about Dubai Autodrome, and personally experience a stiff does of AWD excitement with the Audi R8 V10 Quattro, of course!
And as a prelude to the excitement behind the competition, Euromobil aranged for a group of motoring hacks to get a taste of its entire range of Quattro cars, on a road trip encompassing a selection of roads from KL to Port Dickson, with the day trip culminating at a specially-prepared test area outside the Sepang International Circuit (SIC).
The main purpose of this experience celebrate the beauty of Malaysian Central West Coast and experience the wonderful length of tarmac laid out there. Tools for the weekend were Audi car models equipped with the Quattro system, namely the A5/A6/A7/A8, as well as the Q3/Q5/Q7 sports utility vehicles (SUV). Basically this meant that each car, with two pressmen (or women) on board experienced everything from multi-lane expressways, dual lane carriageways, winding coastal roads and kampung trails. But with such impressive equipment at our disposal, it was just too easy to say “bring it on!”
Each Audi’s Quattro system instantly responds to wheel speed differences and dynamically adjusts power to the wheels with the best traction. It is supported to offer numerous benefits over other all-wheel drive systems. Featuring a 40:60 rear torque bias, the latest version of Quattro offers sports car-like performance and handling with uncompromised all-wheel drive traction. Yes, on the highway one could even out turn well sorted continental sedans with something like the gigantic and somewhat tall Q7, given the supreme amount of traction and confidence afforded to the driver by this system!
So why don’t we get the same kind of excitement driving the ol’ turbo pickup truck then, some of you might venture…? Well, these things are designed to carry heavy loads so the suspension is in no way tuned for grip and speed. What makes the Quattro system special is that it was adapted from Audi’s FWD design, making it lighter and more nimble than traditional four-wheel drive vehicles.
The Quattro all-wheel drive helps deliver increased traction come rain, shine or almost any weather mother nature throws at you. Not only does this legendary all-wheel drive technology help you conquer most conditions, but it’s available on almost all models.
Later on that day, as the convoy of Audis made its way to the SIC area, the traction part of the equation was put to its altimate test as our hosts prepared a kilometre-long winding trail filled with waist deep molten mud, crazily-angled climbs and everything else in between! And as we were about to start this stage, the heavens opened up with torrential rain… perfect!
Obviously reserved for the Qs, this test track highlighted the beauty and simplicity of the Quattro system and especially its transfer case, which splits power between the front and back axles. Built into the gearbox itself, this measure saves a lot of weight, and a lighter vehicle will be hard to bog down!
The road huggers, on the other hand, were used to train drivers in the art of ABS emergency break, essentially a simulation of agitated braking scenario. Participants were able to experience the feel of ABS, ESP, EBD and BA in each car. This was quickly followed by some slalom training – essentially weaving at speed through rubber cones placed at tight intervals.
So has reading about this great weekend adventure whet your appetite for something similar? Well then, Euromobil invites the Malaysian public to take part in the online challenge at: www.landofquattro.com.my
The microsite also pays homage to the country’s most popular driving routes, honouring them as the natural home of the Quattro. Questions pertaining to the Quattro system and the diverse driving terrain in Malaysia will be revealed daily at 12pm. Participants will earn mileage for every correct answer and additional mileage can be collected upon sharing the contest on Facebook.
At the end of the competition, participants with the highest mileage will be flown to Dubai for the Audi R8 driving experience. But there’s more, folks! Subsequent top 40 mileage scorers will also get to experience – in Malaysia – the dynamic potential of the Quattro on a local Audi Quattro driving experience event!
Malaysia. Land of Quattro online challenge ends on December 6, with winners announced by December 9, 2013. Join here: www.landofquattro.com.my