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Rear wheel drive Audis?

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by jungle, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    Anyone out there know why Audi does not make rear wheel drive cars?

    I am well aware of the trade off between space and packaging vs RWD.

    However it has occured to me that the only real changes to an A3 Quattro in terms of packaging involve reduced boot space - or is the floor plan changed to accomodate the shaft running to the rear wheels?

    If the former, then would it be so difficult to have rear wheel drive? In simplictic packaging terms, wouldn't this just be the same as a Quattro without the front wheels being driven?

    Or would the extra torque going to the rear wheels require more substantial mechanicals beneath the floor ie reduced space / packaging?

    OR is it some kind of marketing thing - would going RWD be seen as losing face to BMW?

    I am not an engineer so would be interested to hear what the score is. It is said that nice as Quattro is, it isn't all that. Having driven RWD cars for some years, I can say the RWD definitely IS all that.
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  2. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [ QUOTE ]

    Audi have been using the 'S' and 'Quattro' badging to promote their top of the range models for a long time now, which all feature 4WD, so a bit pointless making a RWD Quattro lol.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    So do you mean that going to RWD would be a non starter because of marketing/heritage reasons?
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  3. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]

    Audi have been using the 'S' and 'Quattro' badging to promote their top of the range models for a long time now, which all feature 4WD, so a bit pointless making a RWD Quattro lol.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    So do you mean that going to RWD would be a non starter because of marketing/heritage reasons?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Pretty much, but lets not forget that Audi is in fact VAG, and has a lot of platform sharing with the Audi,VW, SEAT and Skoda all sharing the same chassis, so re-engineering it to RWD for Audi only would not be economical.
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  4. yak
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    yak Member

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    And who would buy a RWD Audi? Why not go for the BMW instead, it's not going to move forward in winter anyway /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    - Yak
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  5. StephaneS
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    StephaneS Member

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    I dont know why you would want RWD audis? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/noidea.gif
    I think quattro is, as a principle, a better alternative. Making it variable quattro (with the haldex) is also even better. Give them some time to fix/adjust the way the haldex response (as we've seen the ESP and ABS evolve) and it's simply the best.
    Am not sure but aren't porsche C4 same setup as audi but other way around ie RWD with a clutch that engage the front wheels when the rear slips?
    Audi need to concentrate more on sorting out, the position of engine, the weight of the cars and the steering feel inho
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  6. JaminBen
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    JaminBen Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Am not sure but aren't porsche C4 same setup as audi but other way around ie RWD with a clutch that engage the front wheels when the rear slips?
    Audi need to concentrate more on sorting out, the position of engine, the weight of the cars and the steering feel inho

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Absolutely! The Lambo Gallardo transfers its torque to the front using a Haldex unit as well...

    The modified Haldex units currently available offer a more "sporting" feel, and modified motor mounts and suspensions are all there to change the A3 Q from comfy boulevard cruiser to canyon-carving monster...

    OK, so to take an A3 and modify it for a more "sporting" feel will take a few Euros, but you end up with a high-quality sporting car that remains discreet. Like a Porsche without the badge.
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  7. StephaneS
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    StephaneS Member

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    I agree Jo, that it works better but only for high-powered cars
    question is when do you really need 4wd?
    I would say in only one (allegedly large) occasion when the wheels slip : understeer, oversteer, full 4WDrift (or..... at a trafiic light /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/angel.gif) but with a well sorted chassis if you consider only the impact of whence the driving axle is coming from then:
    for 280Nm and below (through one axle only), then FWD is good enough
    over 280Nm and then you can ask the question do I need RWD or 4WD
    in the case of our cars over 300Nm then, for me, FWD + haldex makes sense as we're only a few Nm more because we use those few Nm only at full throttle and that is when the haldex comes in I believe.
    Finally as the haldex can only transfer 50% of torque then you would think that due to the same limitation on the steering wheel, a FWD + haldex car could "only" get to about 550Nm. good enough for me

    I am sure I said lots of ill-informed stuff but at least I tried!
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  8. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I agree Jo, that it works better but only for high-powered cars
    question is when do you really need 4wd?
    I would say in only one (allegedly large) occasion when the wheels slip : understeer, oversteer, full 4WDrift (or..... at a trafiic light /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/angel.gif) but with a well sorted chassis if you consider only the impact of whence the driving axle is coming from then:

    [/ QUOTE ]

    As Eef has said elsewhere, I think I need to drive a Quattro. I am disappointed with the traction in my (lightly chipped) 2.0 TDi. Unfortunately I can't agree with your views on FWD Steph. Steering and driving with the same wheels is a compromise, and this is noticeable ALL the time when I drive, not just on the numerous times each day that the traction control kicks in.
    The reason i asked the question in the first place is that I want an Audi that drives as well as a comparable BMW. I prefer the driving experience of a BMW (3 series in my case) but prefer the interior, exterior, style and "image" of an Audi. In fact I prefer everything else about Audi. If only there was a mid-range Audi (a la 3 series) with RWD I would be a very happy man.
    I had hoped that quatrro was the answer - and as Eef says only a test drive will tell.
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  9. Gordon
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    Gordon New Member

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    It seems to me that some people have been taken in by BMW's advertising. I suspect the reason BMW and some others still have rear wheel drive is because they cannot afford the investment in new plant and tooling that would be required.
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  10. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    It seems to me that some people have been taken in by BMW's advertising. I suspect the reason BMW and some others still have rear wheel drive is because they cannot afford the investment in new plant and tooling that would be required.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    If you are referring to me Gordon, please note I have driven BMWs for the last 3 years (thats around 150,00 miles).

    When you refer to "BMW and others" being unable to afford investment and tooling, are you referring also to Ferrari, Lotus, Lamborghini, Radical, Noble, Mercedes and others?

    Does it seem to you that the tooling for a new 3 series is actually not identical to a previous 3 series, or a previous 7 series? Or did you think they have been using the same equipment for all of their cars since the 1950s?

    Does it also seem to you that companies such as BMW and Mercedes have quite adequate investment budgets, comparable to that of Audi?

    Does it also seem to you that Ferraris, Nobles, Ariels and Lotus cars would choose front wheel drive if only they could afford to make the change?

    It is reassuring to believe that anything you do not own is somehow inferior. In your case, that also seems to involve persuading yourself that anyone who prefers RWD is a victim of marketing hype.

    I moved to Audi because its a nicer car in most ways. But, to me at least, the driving experience is inferior. Not because I am a fan of lurid tail-out slides, just because RWD feels better, grips better (than front wheel drive), the nose is not so heavy, understeer comes much later, traction control kicks in much later and the steering is so much better.

    Sure Yak ( /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif), if you drive on snow there will be situations when front wheel drive is best. But I have snow chains, and only need them when I visit the alps.
    /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/soap.gif
    So I want to know why Audi won't go to RWD with Quattro as used in lamborghini / Porsche (ie RWD as default)
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  11. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    So I want to know why Audi won't go to RWD with Quattro as used in lamborghini / Porsche (ie RWD as default)

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I thought I had managed to answer your question with my earlier posts Jungle. First of all, Audi platform shares with other cars within the VAG group, which are generally engineered to be FWD, and they even share the same engine configurations etc. And for an Audi to have a RWD bias and the ability to transfer power to the front wheels via a Haldex coupling(this is another topic of course/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif), the engine would ideally need to be at the back/mid of the car like in a Porsche or Lambo. Does that make sense? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
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  12. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [ QUOTE ]

    Does it also seem to you that Ferraris, Nobles, Ariels and Lotus cars would choose front wheel drive if only they could afford to make the change?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'm quite sure they could if they wanted...but they don't.

    People who buy the above cars, want something with driving dynamics that takes time to learn and master...something that will punish you if you get it wrong...that's what learing to drive a sports car is all about...not understeering all over the place in some ill handling, overgrown shopping car.

    Also, the owners of the above list aren't likely to complain or try to sue the manufacturer if they reverse their car off the road...they accept it's part of the risk of cars like that.
    Not so with Audi.
    FWD / quattro is safe...which fits Audis image.
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  13. StephaneS
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    StephaneS Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    I agree Jo, that it works better but only for high-powered cars
    question is when do you really need 4wd?
    I would say in only one (allegedly large) occasion when the wheels slip : understeer, oversteer, full 4WDrift (or..... at a trafiic light /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/angel.gif) but with a well sorted chassis if you consider only the impact of whence the driving axle is coming from then:

    [/ QUOTE ]

    As Eef has said elsewhere, I think I need to drive a Quattro. I am disappointed with the traction in my (lightly chipped) 2.0 TDi. Unfortunately I can't agree with your views on FWD Steph. Steering and driving with the same wheels is a compromise, and this is noticeable ALL the time when I drive, not just on the numerous times each day that the traction control kicks in.
    The reason i asked the question in the first place is that I want an Audi that drives as well as a comparable BMW. I prefer the driving experience of a BMW (3 series in my case) but prefer the interior, exterior, style and "image" of an Audi. In fact I prefer everything else about Audi. If only there was a mid-range Audi (a la 3 series) with RWD I would be a very happy man.
    I had hoped that quatrro was the answer - and as Eef says only a test drive will tell.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    what I want to say is that if audi just do a RWD car with the same chassis, overall weight and weight distribution that they have now, the handling would not be improved that much.
    Audi problems lie more on these items mentionned above. When you say your audi is handling badly because it's FWD, I dont think that's the reason. My astra turbo (about 190bhp) was FWD and handled very well. You had to push it to its limit to lose traction.

    now can anyone mention an ill handling RWD car?
    if yes (just think of some american' cars) then you have your answer. RWD is not a garantee of good handling car.

    I'll say it again for FWD it's the same prob. if the chassis and the weight distribution are good then it can handle very very well. Yet again that true only if you dont put over ???Nm thru the steering wheel.
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  14. JaminBen
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    JaminBen Member

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    Eef, you know that ultimately you're right: An Audi will never be a Porsche.

    My point is that a lot of the "slop" engineered in our A3s can be eliminated: different engine mounts, (steering rack mounts are under development), alignment and suspension mods will contribute to take a lot of the mushiness out of the handling.

    Of course, weight (1500 kg for christs' sake!) center of gravity height, roll center heights and poor camber gain at the front will keep the A3 from ever being a "true" sports car.

    BUT, with a debadged and lightly-tweaked 3.2, you end up with a potent machine that is virtually indistinguishable from an "overgrown shopping car". That's what my "Porsche without a badge" comment was about, and that's exactly what some people (such as myself) need.

    I simply can't show up at work with a Porsche. My co-workers would go on strike immediately asking for a raise. But selling my merc in favor of an A3, well, that's just sensible ;-)
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  15. StephaneS
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    StephaneS Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I simply can't show up at work with a Porsche. My co-workers would go on strike immediately asking for a raise

    [/ QUOTE ]
    /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh_roll.gif so true!
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  16. yak
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    yak Member

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    Ess_Three, certainly you can make better handling car than Porsche from A3. You can even do that with Opel Corsa. Just look at rally, RWD cars are no match whatsoever to FWD cars. Mud, SNOW, ICE, sand, asphalt, in rally FWD gives RWD a run for it's money.

    But, what would they know.. BMW's advertising of "RWD" making people believe it's the key to driving success, bs. 50/50 weight distribution might be, but RWD certainly isn't. Unless, of course getting stuck to traffic lights at winter is what you call "driving pleasure", or "dynamic".

    - Yak
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  17. DavidR
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    DavidR Active Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Ess_Three, certainly you can make better handling car than Porsche from A3. You can even do that with Opel Corsa. Just look at rally, RWD cars are no match whatsoever to FWD cars. Mud, SNOW, ICE, sand, asphalt, in rally FWD gives RWD a run for it's money.

    But, what would they know.. BMW's advertising of "RWD" making people believe it's the key to driving success, bs. 50/50 weight distribution might be, but RWD certainly isn't. Unless, of course getting stuck to traffic lights at winter is what you call "driving pleasure", or "dynamic".

    - Yak

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Surely an irrelevant point though, as Audis don't make rally cars and we don't drive rally cars on the road. The discussion is all about road cars, possibly track day cars, but it's certainly the very small minority that do rallycross.
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  18. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    Sorry if my post has caused a little friction. Sorry for flaming you there Gordon but your comment was on the ludicrous side.

    I accept that RWD may not be the whole answer (JaminBen and StephV6), and of course accept that FWD generally gives a safer driving experience (Ess Three).
    But I think JoJo hits it on the head - R&D costs would be too prohibitive, unless all of the VAG group were to make the move.

    And Yak, try to remember that most of us don't need to worry about pulling away from traffic lights in the snow on a regular basis!

    Ultimately I hope Audi put more attention on the handling of their cars. Of course there are FWD cars that handle well (Ford Focus, and Steph's Astra /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif ) but the ability to separate steering from driving, and to move the front wheels further forward than the engine gives a car a good head start.

    I'm hoping to take a quattro for a spin this weekend, and may well come back a happy man, but quattro's have been getting a mixed review here.

    Either way, I'm a big fan of everything else about Audi and hope things get better in the future.
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  19. DavidR
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    DavidR Active Member

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    The Mk V GTI golf handles well for a VAG car out of the box...

    Audi make SAFE cars which = FWD or 4WD with front bias, understeer and ESP nanny control.

    They made the TT neutral, and the inexperienced crashed it. Lesson learnt...
    #19
  20. JaminBen
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    JaminBen Member

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    Jungle, David, you guys are both right: as far as driving pleasure goes, engineering a car with fwd is a handicap. I agree that seperating steering from propulsion generally makes for better (lighter, more communicative) steering.

    I recognize that an A3 will never be an S2000, but it can be tuned for a more focused experience.

    Anyone know where I can read detailed information on the A3's steering rack and electric assistance? TIA
    #20

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