News - Audi
Audi launches quattro Ultra
Grip trip: From the 1980s rally-conquering quattro system to the latest A4 Allroad, Audi's all-paw system has been digging its claws in for 36 years.
Ultra four-wheel-drive system saves fuel, weight for Audi quattro models
30 March 2016
AUDI'S latest evolution of the iconic 36-year-old all-wheel-drive quattro
system has shed 4kg, cut fuel consumption and introduced networked information
technology that the German car-maker says is 'predictive'.
The quattro Ultra system will debut globally under the 2016 A4 Allroad quattro
this month and in Australia during the third quarter of this year, but will be
rolled out for more longitudinal engine models over the following months.
Like many other brand's all-paw approaches, the quattro solution allows the
rear pair of wheels to freewheel when maximum four-wheel traction is not
required, but Audi says the crucial part is how and when the Ultra technology
decides to engage and disengage the rear axle.
The system requires the ability to engage and disengage the rear axle rapidly
and Audi's solution uses an oil-immersed multi-plate clutch pack connecting the
transmission to the tailshaft, which responds quickly to changes in drive
However, a second decoupler clutch is located in the differential at the other
end of the shaft, which disconnects the significant rotating mass from the rear
wheels when not required, boosting efficiency.
Efficiency gains of up to 0.3 litres per 100km are possible thanks to the drag
reduction says Audi, but a reduction of 4kg over the previous longitudinal
quattro system also improves economy and handling characteristics.
By incorporating a variety of new vehicle data, the system can also spend more
time driving only two wheels for improved fuel consumption, but the same
advancements have also allowed the engagement of all four wheels faster – in
most cases before wheel slip occurs.
Audi says the Ultra layout operates in three different states: In proactive
mode the system is more akin to existing technology, using vehicle data from
various sensors to detect if a wheel is about to lose traction and can
introduce additional rear drive 0.5 seconds before the limit is reached.
In predictive activation the system monitors the driver's behaviour as well as
the various sensors to predict the limits of traction before they are exceeded,
which can provide a more accurate and intuitive response.
The third reactive condition intervenes with four-wheel drive under
circumstances when a sudden change in conditions and subsequent grip reduction
can not be predicted, such as mid-corner ice.
Driver behaviour observation is managed partly by the Audi Drive Select system
that allows a driver to tell the vehicle how it is going to be driven, and the
predictive software can better prepare for quattro Ultra system activation.
Audi says the Ultra system is intuitive enough to allow pure front drive even
when on deep snow, provided only low torque is required and in a straight line,
but can deliver rear-torque as soon as conditions change. The system is equally
as adaptable during fast driving and in good conditions as well, the car-maker
Audi's S tronic automatic transmission and manual gearboxes will provide the
gear sets, while the 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder will be the first engine to
drive the system, but is expected to be joined by others as new models adopt
the Ultra system.
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