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This Audi A1 quattro prototype was caught stretching its four paws in the snow in Montreal. The one-off development car is part of the ‘Fascination of quattro’ event taking place in the Canadian city to celebrate the famous four-wheel-drive system, which turned 30 in 2010. At last year’s Paris show, Audi said that future high performance variants of the A1 will be quattro equipped. Current cars are FWD only.

The “A1 quattro” uses technology very similar to that in the A3 and TT. 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.


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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.

Many expected Audi to launch a hot “S1” at Paris 2010, but the range topping variant that was unwrapped was simply called the A1 1.4 TFSI. It uses a Twincharged engine with 185 hp and 250 Nm, paired to a 7-speed S tronic gearbox. That leaves room for a “S1” quattro with figures to rival or beat the 211 hp/260 Nm MINI JCW.