Audi has combined its two favourite model suffixes, Quattro and Ultra, the latter being what you’ll find fixed to its tax band-friendliest models.
In short, it’s a system that runs as front-wheel drive as much as possible, the rear axle only coming to life when road conditions or the driver’s desires deem it necessary. The benefits of 4WD when they’re needed, without the burden on fuel economy when they aren’t. It even weighs marginally less than a regular Quattro setup.
The Haldex system you’ll find on smaller Audis (and numerous other cars) works in a similar way, but this is the first time Audi’s full-strength Quattro setup has offered this approach, opening it up to cars bigger than A3s and TTs.
Not exactly a revolution, since AWD-on-demand has been used for quite some time. Still, Audi’s uses a number of new sensors that monitor things like steering input, grip and throttle pedal position, a processor located in the gearbox determines when the front wheels are about to lose traction and then funnels some power to the rear. By working in collaboration with the firm’s stability control system, sensors can also determine if the car is being driven hard and then engage the rear wheels if required
The system itself is also unique from the previous normal quattro setup as it incorporates a clutch between the gearbox and propshaft as well as one on the rear axle to allow for the seamless shift in power.
Set to make its debut on the upcoming A4 Allroad prior to being fitted to the new A5 Coupe and second-generation Q5 and possibly the new Q2 as we are led to believe that the new sub-compact SUV will be offered with quattro available on higher spec models. The contemporary new quattro ultra system will initially be offered on models based around Audi’s MLB (modularen langsbau – modular longitudinal architecture) platform in combination with its new high compression turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and seven-speed S-tronic dual clutch gearbox.