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.

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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.

2018 Audi Q5: First Drive
2018 Audi Q5: First Drive

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.

Source: Audi


Gallery: 2017 Audi Q5

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All-new Q5 mid-size SUV is the recipient of the eight millionth quattro drivetrain in Audi series production history

  • Milestone Q5 rolls off the production line at new plant in Mexico
  • quattro with ultra technology is latest development step
  • Great success in motorsport as well as on the road

Audi is quattro and quattro is Audi – the famous all-wheel-drive system has been a defining feature of the Vorsprung durch Technik brand for over 35 years, and proof of that enduring appeal has been provided this week by the eight millionth quattro-equipped model to leave the production line. Fittingly, the worthy recipient of this particularly momentous example of the all-weather roadholding and driver appeal amplifier is an all-new Q5 SUV in Garnet Red fresh from a brand new plant in San José Chiapa, Mexico.   

quattro technology made its debut in 1980, and today it is available in more than 100 model versions. The quattro all-wheel drive system is standard in the Audi Q7, the Audi A4 allroad quattro, the Audi A6 allroad quattro, the Audi A8, the Audi R8 and all S and RS models, and it is available as an option in all other model series. In 2015, 44 percent of all Audi customers worldwide chose models equipped with quattro drive. The Audi Q5 topped the list with about 262,000 units. The quattro models generated particularly strong sales in the United States, Canada, Russia and in the markets of the Middle East. In Germany quattro sales totaled 122,048 cars.

Audi offers quattro all-wheel-drive in different versions tailored to each model. For the compact model series with transverse-mounted engines, an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch is mounted at the rear axle. On the R8 mid-engine sports car, the multi-plate clutch is mounted on the front axle. According to the driving situation encountered, these active systems distribute drive torque variably to both axles.

The self-locking centre differential used in many Audi models with a longitudinally installed, front-mounted engine, is a purely mechanical planetary gear. Normally it splits the drive torque sent to the front and rear wheels with a 40:60 distribution.

The sport differential is available on the rear axle with some of the top-of-the-range engines. It actively distributes the torque between the rear wheels by means of two superposition units, each with an electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch. In extreme cases, almost all of the torque is sent to one wheel – the system actually pushes the car into the curve, eliminating any chance of understeer.

Latest development: quattro with ultra technology

The latest phase of development from Audi is the quattro system featuring ultra technology. Designed for models with a longitudinally mounted engine, it uses an actively controlled multi-plate clutch at the end of the transmission which distributes the torque variably between the drive axles in all-wheel drive operation. A decoupler in the rear axle differential can additionally open the connection to the rear wheels. Both clutches are opened in driving situations where the all-wheel drive doesn’t offer any advantage. This way, the parts of the rear drivetrain responsible for drag are not engaged. The system's control unit uses a multitude of data to produce a model of the vehicle's status projecting about half a second into the future. If the system detects, for instance, that the inside wheel is about to lose grip, it switches predictively to all-wheel drive. As a result, the all-wheel drive is always ready when it is needed. The new concept considerably boosts efficiency without diminishing traction or driving dynamics.

Success story: the history of quattro

Audi achieved a milestone in automotive history with the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system – in 1980, no other manufacturer offered fast-running and light all-wheel drive technology for high-volume production. The technology premiered in 1980 in the Ur-quattro at the Geneva International Motor Show. In 1986 Audi replaced the first generation's manually locking centre differential with a Torsen differential which could variably distribute drive torque. The planetary drive followed in 2005, with its asymmetrical, dynamic distribution of power and torque. The self-locking centre differential is the subject of continual development by Audi engineers and is considered the benchmark for traction and driving dynamics combined with very light weight.

Audi has also celebrated many triumphs in motorsport with quattro technology. The list so far includes four World Rally Championship titles, six victories in the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb race in the United States, a title win in the TransAm series in the U.S., two DTM titles, 11 national Super Touring Car Championships, and a Touring Car World Cup. The latest victory for quattro technology: In late November, Mattias Ekström and his private rallycross team EKS captured the Driver World Champion and Team World Champion titles with the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.