Design Engineering

Magna partners with Audi to develop new Quattro ultra all-wheel drive system


General Automotive Audi Magna

The technical foundation of the new system is built on Magna's Flex4 all-wheel drive technology.

Magna is helping Audi develop its new quattro ultra all-wheel drive system. The automotive supplier has announced its role at the development partner to Audi, which launched its next-generation AWD system on the Audi A4 allroad in 2016. This system provides reduced fuel consumption and emissions while also maximizing driving performance and stability.

Magna Flex4

Magna’s Flex4 all-wheel drive technology forms the technical foundation of the quattro ultra system.

The technical foundation of the new system is built on Magna’s Flex4 all-wheel drive technology. The system was developed jointly by Magna and Audi to fit into vehicles with longitudinally mounted engines and dual-clutch or manual transmissions.

This technology allows for an all-wheel-drive disconnect system that automatically activates all four wheels only when necessary, which is approximately 20 per cent of all driving conditions.

In driving situations where there is no need for all-wheel drive, the rear axle drive is completely decoupled from the drivetrain — with the front wheels driving the vehicle only. This true disconnect system is able to reduce friction and transmission losses, consequently improving fuel efficiency and emissions. This solution also weighs less than permanent all-wheel drive, thereby achieving additional efficiency improvements.


“The quattro ultra technology is the result of advanced engineering and collaboration between supplier and automaker with our valued customer Audi,” said Jake Hirsch, President of Magna Powertrain. “Together we developed an innovative system that combines driving pleasure with a significantly smaller carbon footprint, as well as increased safety to help Audi set a new standard for all-wheel drive.”

The systems offers mechanical efficiency in the drivetrain, but also delivers enhanced performance in terms of driving dynamics. For example, if driving or road conditions call for additional traction, the rear-wheel drive is engaged to maximize driving stability and actively ensure safety.

The Quattro ultra is an adaptive system that proactively engages the rear-wheel drive, with a lead-time of about half a second. This means the system recognizes the need for increased traction before it even arises and automatically switches from front-wheel to all-wheel drive mode.

Audi’s predictive operating method is made possible by electronic sensors and highly differentiated control strategies. The electronic all-wheel drive management is networked with several additional control devices that collect and evaluate a wide range of data, such as information on the steering angle, friction coefficient, lateral and longitudinal acceleration and the motor torque in ten-millisecond intervals. A person’s individual driving style, the status of the electronic stability control, the selected driving program and trailer identification are also integrated into the complex control system.

Front- and all-wheel drive modes switch through a multi-disc clutch integrated into the rear axle drive.

In front-wheel drive mode, the clutch is opened. This disconnects the shaft and parts of the rear axle drive, which reduces losses in transmission and friction loss.

In all-wheel drive mode, the multi-disc clutch closes and accelerates the resting elements of the transmission to the rotational speed of the coupling before this also closes. Thanks to extremely high control accuracy, these processes are so precisely coordinated with one another that they go unnoticed by the driver.


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