Quattro vs xDrive vs 4Matic: AWD Systems Compared

Audi quattro AWD Comparison in Audi Ann Arbor

For over 35 years, quattro® all-wheel drive has pushed the limits of performance, handling, and confidence for Audi vehicles. Since its introduction in 1980, quattro® all-wheel drive has been synonomous with unparalleled capability, handling, and control on both dry and slippery road surface conditions. Other manufacturers have attempted to emulate the dynamic performance of quattro® all-wheel drive. However, Audi remains the industry leader in all-wheel drive technology and innovation.



Audi quattro AWD History

The Legend of quattro® All-Wheel Drive

Audi has made a name for itself in the automotive space. It has become synonymous with luxury, reliability, and premium quality. When Audi launched quattro® at the World Rally Championship in 1981, the result was an astounding 24 wins over the next 4 years. Audi quattro® continued to dominate the race circuits until it was determined to be an unfair advantage and banned completely. Audi overcame the blacklisting and has triumphed 11 out of the last 13 races at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.


Engineered to Perform

The engineering behind Audi quattro® is focused around an asymmetric torque split that shifts power when and where it's needed. In safe driving scenarios, the quattro® all-wheel drive features a rear-biased power delivery, with a 40:60 power delivery. When the vehicle detects that the conditions have changed, in an instant it is able to distribute power to 70:30 to 15:85 front to rear depending on which system your Audi features. The result is an unparalleled connection to the road, regardless of the weather conditions.

Audi quattro AWD Engineering

Audi R8 quattro AWD

Cornering Agility

Taking quattro to the next level are available torque vectoring and the Sport differential. Featuring advanced braking and traction control features, torque vectoring enhances handling by transferring torque to the outside cornering wheels while independently braking the inside cornering wheels. The available Sport differential gives power towards the outside of the wheels, allowing you to attack tight corners with ease.


Audi quattro® vs BMW xDrive vs Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC

As quattro® all-wheel drive took the automotive world by storm, it was only natural that other manufacturers would try to imitate its success. Scrambling to play catch-up, BMW launched its xDrive system in 1985 and Mercedes-Benz followed suit in 1987 with their debut of 4MATIC. While both were able to produce all-wheel drive vehicles in their respective lineups, Audi continues to lead the pack for a variety of reasons.

Audi A7 quattro AWD
  • Design and Development - Audi quattro® all-wheel drive enjoys a nearly 40-year legacy of durability testing and continuous innovation. From race circuits to the highways, Audi has proven itself time and time again in the world's most challenging environments.
  • Mechanical Strength - Unlike xDrive and 4MATIC all-wheel drive systems, quattro® features more mechanical components which add durability and confidence. BMW and Mercedes-Benz systems skew heavily towards electronic intervention and operation, leaving them susceptible to failure when you need them the most.
  • Model Selection - The vast majority of Audi vehicles are available with the confidence of quattro® all-wheel drive. From capable SUVs and wagons to stylish sedans and sport-focused performance models - you'll have no trouble finding the all-wheel drive Audi that's right for you. BMW and Mercedes-Benz on the other hand often restrict all-wheel drive to certain models or vehicle types.

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