• Jan 11, 2011
The Audi A1 quattro finally gets to play in the snow – Click above for high-res image gallery

The diminutive Audi A1 hatchback has had to watch as it's older siblings enjoyed all-weather fun thanks to their quattro all-wheel drive system. Now the previously front-drive-only three-door is set to join in on that fun. Audi wants to make sure every model is offered with the quattro system and testing has begun on a quattro-equipped A1.

The Audi A1 quattro is packed with technology akin to its TT and A3 siblings. An electronically-controlled, hydraulically-actuated clutch sits in front of the rear axle. This unit sends most of the power to the front wheels but can transfer torque to the rear should the front lose traction. get all the details in the press blast after the jump.

[Source: Audi]
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-Developmental version of forthcoming all-wheel-drive premium subcompact hatchback is tested on snow-laden roads around Montreal
-Newcomer will ensure quattro has full representation across the Audi range
-An Audi A1 quattro prototype that brings all-wheel-drive to the premium subcompact hatchback segment for the first time is currently undergoing a baptism of fire grappling with freezing conditions on Canada's densely snow-packed roads.

The one-off development car is one of the stars of the 'Fascination of quattro' event taking place in Montreal to celebrate the past, present and future of the legendary four-wheel-drive system, which reached its 30th anniversary in 2010. It reaffirms the Vorsprung durch Technik brand's commitment, made at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, to underpin future high performance variants of the A1 with this proven driver aid.

The latest member of the burgeoning quattro family uses technology very similar to that used in A3 and TT models. 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.

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.

The UK A1 range currently offers a choice of ten front-wheel-driven models powered by 1.2-litre TFSI (86PS) and 1.4-litre TFSI (122PS) petrol engines and a 1.6-litre TDI (105PS) diesel, and is priced from £13,420 OTR to £18,665 OTR.

Even before it filters into the most diminutive of Audi models, the quattro system is already a feature of over 120 variants in the Audi line-up, from the A3 hatchback through to the R8 super car.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ontario dealer plate on the back???
        • 4 Years Ago
        oops, should've read the press release
        • 4 Years Ago
        actually, that IS an ontario dealer plate in the back! Does that mean the A1 Quatttro will be made available to Canada? If so... Sweeeett!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now can it come to the US?
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is a gorgeous car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You made me seriously look at it again, and I honestly fail to see where you are coming from. But I'm certainly thankful not everyone thinks like me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "This unit sends most of the power to the front wheels but can transfer torque to the rear should the front lose traction."

      Sounds like it has potential for some serious throttle-induced snap oversteer while cornering
        • 4 Years Ago
        I just don't have as much respect for the "tagalong" systems like this. Starting out on an icy hill, once you break traction at the front to activate the rear, most of your traction is already gone. It also is more difficult to throttle steer than the better AWD systems out there. There's more intial understeer before the rear end rotates around. A bunch of road tests and YouTube videos support this. Transverse engine 4Motion VWs and tranverse engine Audi quattros, Volvos, the CRV, Chrysler minivans, and most automatic Subarus have a similar initial torque split. It's no fun, relatively speaking, and can get you stuck starting out when things get tricky. It also has additional failure points not usually an issue on a center differential system.

        Overall, for most situations, what you want is a set front-to-rear torque split utilizing a center differential. This is what has worked so well on manual tranny Audi quattros, Subarus, and many Mitsubishi products over the years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's pretty much what Audi has been using for the transverse engine-based cars since the introduction of the A3 & TT models, what, a dozen years ago? So it is a pretty proven technology now. The early ones did tend to snap oversteer somewhat, but the hardware and software calibration has been refined a bit over the years. I don't think that it's as much of an issue anymore. It is an excellent traction device. Volvo also uses it, as does VW (obviously), among others.

        With that said, even with the refinement, it still leaves something to be desired dynamically IMHO. I'd still rather have a real torque-biasing center diff, but my opinion is "biased"...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, it's kind of faux AWD. However, the variable center diff does come in handy. A few years ago I was driving my SVX (had similar AWD system, with most power in front until slipping) on an icy road going really slowly, and could not stop. Instead of stuffing it into the ditch straight on (which would have been really, really stuck), I turned the wheel and floored it. The car rotated and hit the ditch sideways (really low speed) and went in about 6", I was able to keep right on driving.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Shouldn't they be testing the fast-ass version they feel we need to have/wait for? Also, seems to me Germany has had plenty of its own snow this year to test upon. What gives?
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...watch as its older siblings...

      • 4 Years Ago
      Thanks for bringing this car out here in the United States.... no really....thanks a lot...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Attention Audi: please deliver this car to me in Winnipeg for additional cold weather testing. Thanks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can haz diesel? If so, AWESOME!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree, gorgeous car. Great lines, simple, yet striking at the same time. It pops out at you, then you realize it's simplicity, something you could live with over a long period of time. When I was a commercial art student at Cass Tech, a high school in Detroit, in the late 60's, early 70's, one of my teachers told us about an auto critic in Detroit from the fifties, whose crtiques of a car could either make it or break it. If he said a car looked like a pig with it's ears pinned back, the designers ran to find a pic of a pig with its ears pinned back, so they could fix it. In the early sixties, the auto companies were going to raise the headroom in a car five inches in one year, but this critic told them the American public would only adapt to one inch a year, so that's what they did. Nowadays, you see radical designs come out every once in awhile, and the more the merrier.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Audi A1 Quattro: A return to rallying?.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am not particularly a fan of the look of the A1, but I don't know if its the angle of the picture, the paint color, or possibly a restyled bumper for the Quattro version, but I actually like the look of the car in the pic.
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