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How Audi Quattro Ultra Technology Works – Simplified Explanation

Audi has recently fired its big gun with the announcement of an all-new Quattro All-wheel drive system. Quattro has been synomynous with Audi since 1980. Now, the German automaker has introduced the all-new Quattro system with ultra-technology. Audi believes that this will make driving experiences far more efficient and does not compromise on the car’s performance and handling characteristics. So, how does the Audi Quattro Ultra Technology work?

Audi R8 V10

If you are familiar with the working of the Quattro system, take a couple of minutes to read it before you read about the Audi Quattro Ultra Technology. Don’t want to get your head spinning in circles, do we now?

In the Audi Quattro System, the AWD is always engaged. A central differential is mounted within the gearbox and it connects two axles when slip in any of the wheels is detected. This approach allows an infinitely variable split of torque depending on the road conditions. When you compare this system with a traditional transfer box, it is lighter and more efficient. The disadvantage of this system is that the AWD is always engaged. This reduces the fuel efficiency of the engine.

Let’s take a look at how the Audi Quattro Ultra Technology works.

The Audi Quattro Ultra Technology allows the Audi R8, for example, to run only in front wheel drive mode when the grip is surplus. (Say for example, on a dry road). On this kind of a road, the extra grip of a four wheel drive is excess when compared to the grip requirements. This puts extra stress on the engine, which in turn reduces fuel efficiency. With the Quattro Ultra technology, when needed, the system sends torque to the rear wheels via a pair of clutches. One is mounted on the gearbox, and the other on the rear axle. This pair of clutches can re-engage the engine using a three-step strategy – proactive, predictive and reactive.

Before we delve deeper into the three-step strategy, let us look at the technical aspects of the Quattro Ultra technology.

Technical Aspects

Audi has installed a number of sensors throughout the drive system. These sensors monitor a number of factors in the Quattro system that determine the drive system that is active at any given point in the ride. (Whether FWD or AWD). Road conditions, vehicle data and driver characteristics are monitored by the system during the automated shifting of drive systems.

The Quattro Ultra system starts off in AWD mode. Once the system detects that AWD is not needed, it transitions to FWD. When driving conditions call for it, the system reverts from FWD to AWD. Thanks to electronics, the change can happen in milliseconds. Audi claims that the system can analyze an assortment of data instantaneously switching back to AWD.


Now that we know the technology equipped in the Quattro Ultra system, let’s look at how it works

In the proactive stage, the sensors in the Quattro ultra-technology system relay data to the system. This allows the system to predict when AWD might be needed and primes the system accordingly. This can happen in a matter of milliseconds, and the system engages the rear wheels before the front end loses grip. The change is seamless and the transition will be hardly noticeable before it happens.


The predictive stage determines which drive system to engage depending on driving behavior. Aggressive driving will prompt the system to engage AWD for maximum safety.

Reactive stage is when the system reacts to real world changes via the data it can analyze instantaneously and switch to AWD in emergency situations. Since the system can analyze an assortment of data in milliseconds, this change is possible.

Audi Quattro Ultra Technology for dummies! Simple and easy explanation! #TheMotorLife Click To Tweet

What does the new Audi Quattro Ultra Technology mean for Audi Customers?

The new Quattro Ultra technology is all about saving fuel and cutting down on CO2 emissions. According to Audi, the system can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 0.3liter/100km when compared to the traditional Quattro system. The new system also has a number of other functions that work in harmony with each other. Variable torque distribution which allows the road conditions to determine the amount of torque that is sent to each wheel.

If you have any questions or comments about how the Audi Quattro System works, let us know in the comments below! If this got you interested, check out our simplified explanation of how Variable Geometry Turbochargers (VGT) work! Check out our simplified explanation of how Audi Quattro System works.

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About Suhas S

Motorcyclist, Traveler, Aerospace Engineer and your friendly neighborhood Batman. Suhas has been meandering on two wheels since 2008. His love for automobiles, aeroplanes and his passion for travel has brought him here. He's a RC plane hobbyist currently building a Supermarine Spitfire and the Associate Editor at TheMotorLife

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