Bidding goodbye to an outstanding 2012 calendar year that saw an 11.7 percent global sales climb that amounted to roughly 1,455,100 vehicles, Audi enters 2013 in a position where even greater opportunity exists. Creating a product line-up that has nailed the current marketplace looking for modern, premium vehicles that marries old-school luxury comfort with innovative technology, the German auto brand’s most iconic feature celebrates an impressive milestone continuing to speak to Audi’s success. After 33 years, the five-millionth version of Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system was celebrated by the “four ring” marque.
Becoming the centerpiece of a monumental feat for the German luxury brand, a white Audi A6 Allroad was led down the assembly line of the Neckarsulm manufacturing plant. A vehicle limited to European markets, the A6 Allroad’s presence as the five-millionth quattro all-wheel drive vehicle comes after three decades that involved more than 140 Audi products sporting the trademark drivetrain. Audi’s all-wheel drive history was established in 1980 by the Audi Ur-quattro introduced as the Geneva Motor Show. An early adopter of all-wheel drive in the modern era of motoring, Audi’s original vehicle would be a forerunner to a trend that almost every current automaker has added to at least one car. Bridging the history of the Audi quattro all-wheel drive system employment in passenger cars, the 2013 A6 Allroad was photographed alongside an Ur-quattro at the German production facility.
Though the quattro name is bracing for its official 33rd birthday in March 3rd, the actual technology behind the all-wheel drive has been constantly improved. Audi’s quattro drive system evolved as it was mated to dual-clutch transmissions and TDI diesel engines in the late 1980s. Placed with coupes, sedans and eventually crossover vehicles such as the Audi Q7, quattro was proudly associated with a rear mid-engined production vehicle starting in 2007. The Audi R8 supercar’s success as a halo car allowed the quattro all-wheel drive system to be showcased in a state of pure driving performance. Ever evolving, a crown gear differential and torque vectoring have been most recent additions to quattro drive now more than ever making use of electronic driving assist programs.
The five-millionth quattro all-wheel drive fitted Audi is definitely a standout number based on the reality the auto brand is traditionally reaching an upscale automotive crowd. Making the milestone especially impressive is how the production total had made such strides in recent years. During the 30th anniversary of the quattro system, there were 3.3 million Audi cars and crossover vehicles mated with the permanent all-wheel drive configuration. According to Audi, new car buyers in 2012 requested a quattro-equipped model 43 percent of the time. The Neckarsulm manufacturing facility output of Audi vehicles accounts that one-half of all products are powered through quattro all-wheel drive systems.
In recent Audi global line-ups, only the subcompact Audi A1 had been denied a quattro all-wheel drive system. This changed when Audi green lit production of an A1 quattro in Europe. Bred through racing and even provoking bans by some sanctioning bodies, Audi quattro drive has also regained its spectacular appearance in competition as late. Creating their electrified version of a prototype sports car, the quattro name joined the Audi R18 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro racecar was driven to overall victory in 2012 becoming the first hybrid vehicle to win the great sports car endurance challenge. The 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona more than six months later was another great moment took place when a Alex Job Racing Audi R8 Grand Am car fitted with quattro all-wheel drive grabbed first place in the GT class.
Reaching five million vehicles, Audi only intends to extract more potential from the quattro drive trekking into new realms of driving excellence.
Information and photo source: Audi AG