Audi A1 quattro in the snow
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.


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Audi A1 quattroAudi A1 quattro

[Source: Audi]
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AUDI A1 QUATTRO PROTOTYPE MAKES A CHILLING DEBUT
11/01/11

-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.