Milestone car is a Q5 assembled at Audi's brand new San José Chiapa factory.
To better cater the North American market, Audi opened a new plant in Mexico on September 30th, 2016 following an investment of more than €1 billion in the facilities as well as the necessary infrastructure. Located in the state of Puebla, Audi’s production site in San José Chiapa spans at 400 hectares (998.4 acres) and is the place where around 4,200 people put together the very first model produced for the global market built at a location outside of the European continent.
We’re talking about the second-gen Q5 unveiled in September last year at the Paris Motor Show and now the recipient of the eight millionth Quattro drivetrain. The milestone vehicle is a “Garnet Red” example fitted with Audi’s proprietary all-paw setup that was originally introduced back in 1980 on the legendary Ur-quattro. The technology has evolved over the years and it’s now available in more than 100 model versions.
It comes as standard in all of the models wearing the S, RS, and Allroad badges, as well as in the Q7 SUV, the flagship A8 fullsize sedan, and the R8 supercar. Audi points out that all of the other model series have the option of the grippy Quattro and the setup depends on the type of model. For example, in the compact cars powered by transverse-mounted engines, there’s an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch installed on the rear axle, while in the mid-engined R8 it sits on the front axle.
For the models equipped with a longitudinally, front-mounted engine, there is a self-locking center differential taking the shape of a mechanical planetary gear. It normally divides the drive torque channeled to the front and rear axle with a 40:60 distribution.
Audi has also engineered a sport differential for some of its range-topping models where the diff is positioned on the rear axle and it actively delivers the torque between the two rear wheels. If necessary, the hardware can send almost all of the torque available to just one wheel.
The latest installment of Quattro is represented by a new version benefitting from Ultra technology tailored to cars fitted with longitudinally mounted engines. When the software detects that all-wheel drive is not necessary, a decoupler in the rear axle differential kicks in to effectively enable a FWD layout as a way to slash fuel consumption.
In 2015, 44 percent of all cars sold by Audi worldwide had Quattro, with the Q5 being the most popular of them all after racking up approximately 262,000 of the sales.