FWD versus 4WD. Debate. - Audi A5 Forum & Audi S5 Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Cool FWD versus 4WD. Debate.

Dear Gang,

I would like to put forward my personal and fairly humble opinion on this debate. I have read many times that "if you have two much power then you MUST have 4WD as otherwise the front wheels spin from every traffic light" etc. Well, in my opinion this is not true in the A5. I have the 265 horses (3.2FSI) and 2WD and I have never felt the need for 4WD. I live in Italy and here cos we have loads of mountain roads we are obliged to fit winter tyres (or carry chains) during the winter months, and since I tried winter tyres I would never be without them again. The winter tyres are softer so give better grip at low temperatures (below 15 degrees) and of course in the wet and the snow.

So with the correct tyres (my summer ones are P-Zero) I have NEVER had a problem of grip UNLESS I provoked it. And the extra weight that I don't carry means that my fuel consumption is better than the Quattro, I am sure.

Comments please!!! Thanks guys. Simon

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post #2 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 07:08 AM
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Have you driven a quattro? I've had A3 quattro (not Torsen) and S5. I've owned many FWD cars before that and had FWD cars (including an A4 ultra for a day) as courtesy cars. We also have a 4x4. Personally, I don't think I'd buy another car that isn't 4WD - the cars are so planted on the road by comparison. FWD cars feel like they are being hauled around a corner rather than driven around it, I find it easy to spin the wheels and I find them a bit unnerving now I am used to quattro. YMMV, but it isn't all about getting the full number of horses on the ground...

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post #3 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 07:55 AM
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I had a humble 180PS 2.0TFSI A5 before my A5 and the bastard wheel span even in the dry. That was on 4 new GoodYear Eagle F1s.

As Arad says, now I drive an S5 I wouldn't even consider FWD. the idea of putting even more power and torque on a FWD would just drive me nuts personally. He reaction from quattro is addictive.

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post #4 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 09:44 AM
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People's opinions will vary as always, and will depend on many factors, not least driving style. I'm a Quattro fan having driven them for nearly seven years now, and there's folks here abouts who have had Quattro for longer than that I'm sure. The benefits of Quattro vs FWD for me are more to do with general handling and particularly understeer, which is god awful in a FWD when you lay the power down out of a corner or exiting a roundabout. Not to mention the wheel spin from standing of course. For winter driving, winter tyres give more benefit than Quattro ever will, so combining the two is unbeatable. Just my 2p!


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post #5 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 09:56 AM
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7 years ago I bought my 1st quattro and I still have it.
I have never had a car which was so stable, under various conditions.

I would like to add aquaplaning to the discussion.
if you have some standing water along the side of the road and not in the middle of the road, a FWD will definitely suffer sooner and much more from aquaplaning.
with a quattro, the driving-power is divided over 4 wheels and aquaplaning is much less noticeable.
I can tell this from my own experience
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post #6 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 10:07 AM
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4WD is far superior to FWD as far as traction is concerned.
A tire is only able to handle so much.
On FWD all the power goes through the front wheels, which also have to do the steering.
Once the wheels are turned traction is reduced.
Once power is applied, the weight transfer is to the rear wheels, which reduces weight on the front wheels, which translates to less traction.
With RWD, the front wheels 'just' need to steer.
With 4WD (or AWD) the power is shared between all of the tires.
If FWD was better than 4WD/AWD, then why are off-road vehicles all 4WD/AWD?
I've had FWD, RWD and now a Quattro.
Like the others have stated... it's going to be difficult leaving Quattro.
Any motorcycle rider will inform you of the limits of tires, and how the duties it has to complete are shared/compromised in each situation.
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post #7 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 11:56 AM
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Quattro all day long
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post #8 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonRoma View Post
I have NEVER had a problem of grip UNLESS I provoked it.
One other salient point. I can guarantee that the point of "provoking it" in a FWD car is going to be way lower than "provoking it" in a 4WD car of the same performance.
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post #9 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 02:03 PM
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The A5 is my first AWD experience and... I wont be going back to FWD or RWD. The ability to put power down without wheel spin, the confidence-inspiring levels of grip through twisty bits, and the traction in wet or dry conditions, has absolutely sold me.
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post #10 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 05:10 PM
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My diesel Zafira wheel span at junctions, 4motion golf & A5 never

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post #11 of 49 Old 8th May 2017, 06:44 PM
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Not to worry - 265 ponies is hardly considered "too much" power. That's 3 HP less than a Toyota Camry
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post #12 of 49 Old 9th May 2017, 04:26 AM
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Simon, your car is relatively front heavy, with a V6 engine and auto gearbox, plus I assume that you have wide low profile tyres, maybe 245 or 255? That's going to give you good traction. Plus you use winter tyres. You are not getting the full disadvantage of FWD.

Last year I did a skid pan course. One of the cars was a BMW Mine One FWD. I didn't even need to be on the skid pan to make it lose control!

Like the others there is no question of the advantages of 4WD to me. When I was looking to buy a new car I discounted cars like the BMW M3 purely because they are 2WD.
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post #13 of 49 Old 9th May 2017, 04:29 AM
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Re the comment about aquaplaning. The driven wheels have nothing to do with aqauplaning. This is caused by speed and the inability of the tyres to clear the water. Any wheel that can not clear the water will aquaplane whether driven or not.
On the other points, I agree that getting off the line can be problematic but with skillful use of the controls quick launches are possible.
Regarding understeer, I have done a few days of really quick road driving in my FWD A5 and have never understeered. I would suggest that if one has experienced understeer coming out of a bend its probably most likely down to too early application of the power and too much of it.
In general at the limit 99% of modern cars are set up for understeer (BMW included) for the general safety of the average driver.
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post #14 of 49 Old 9th May 2017, 04:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the various very interesting points guys and I agree with nearly all. Yes the weight of my V6 surely helps the front grip, more than the lighter 4 cylinder versions I guess. Yes I have experience of 4WD when I worked for Land Rover for 12 years. When I recently borrowed a Golf R32 for a weekend I had GREAT fun on mountain roads trying to provoke slip but I failed, I know the roads well when I ride by motorbike. Call me an old fart but I love my 2WD car and from what you guys say when I replace this I need to find an S4 or an S5 eh?????

Ok many many thanks for the reactions.
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post #15 of 49 Old 9th May 2017, 01:10 PM
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The laws of physics prove categorically that with appropriate tyres for each specific situation, effective traction control (beit artificial computer systems within the car, or organic within the driver) awd will give the most effective power delivery with the least drama.

That having been said I could probably get a 2cv or Renault 4 up a hill with 6 inches of snow better than a rs5.
And a couple of years ago I happily drove past numerous 4wd SUV's who thought they were invincible.......until they came to corners.


Finally, over to Mr James hunt who lived so long ago that the world was still analogue..

When he wasn't driving f1 cars his favourite road car was an a30 van because he could get the thing unstuck (and therefore drive it on the edge) below the 30 mph speed limit.

In deference to current times this is the only image of James hunt I could find where he didn't have a fag on

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post #16 of 49 Old 9th May 2017, 01:44 PM
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quite right, Mr. R

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post #17 of 49 Old 9th May 2017, 02:46 PM
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I'm not sure what Mr Hunt is doing with his left hand... but I'm sure they had a lovely time after that picture was taken...

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post #18 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 02:20 AM
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My 2.0 FWD is pants when I put my foot down, the torque steer is a nightmare. Absolutely fine when you're steadily increasing speed, but if your in a low gear and floor it to overtake you have to be really careful how you do it.
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post #19 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 02:28 AM
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please note, we will have to be careful in the near future
Audi is introducing quattro ultra, which is a step back if you ask me.
quattro ultra works more or less like quattro with Haldex.
in short, it is no longer a permanent 4WD, but something like FWD with 4WD on demand.

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post #20 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 03:41 AM
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Quote:
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in short, it is no longer a permanent 4WD, but something like FWD with 4WD on demand.
Bring on the plug in box, or better, VCDS setting to change this back to as it should be! I guess the only up side I can see of this is in theory better mpg, so you will get the economy of a FWD car, with the performance/handling capabilities of 4WD but only when its neccissary- might not be a bad thing. Cant say I hammer mine round much, but its sure nice knowing its there and getting that "planted" feeling rather than that of being dragged!

My A5 has been my first 4WD car that I've owned, my friend has one which is FWD, I can honestly say I prefer mine in all areas, from the "foot down" feeling, to the general performance. Before I even bought mine he was paising the car but said "do you know what, I wish I'd got quattro though, this things crap when you put your foot down around a roundabout.. look", and low and behold on a damp road his 2.0TDI (170) spun its front wheels up and proceeded to oversteer moderately across the roundabout (naturally he chose a safe moment for this not one where other drivers were at risk), at far from abnormal speeds. I've never experienced this on the same roundabout... and I'm 80bhp with a lot more torque up from him.

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post #21 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 04:50 AM
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Based on what I have read, Audi won't use Quattro Ultra for S or RS cars.

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post #22 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 09:41 AM
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Some time ago I have driven A5 2.0TFSI FWD chipped to 185kW, I drove it like mine S5, but in first right 90 degree curve, I turned right as usual, but FWD A5 goes nearly straight, I was really surprised, because inside of the car looked the same as mine, but on the road... That's it.

But at that time my wife had had A4 2.0TDI FWD, I had no problem with it, because I knew it was FWD, I didn't drive it like S5, so I understand FWD is enough for many people, as it was for me for 25 years before I did buy Quattro.


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post #23 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 10:26 AM
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I'm a big fan of the quattro system. I had a FWD B6 A4 (2.5tdi) which was remapped and had a fair amount of grunt. I didn't notice wheelspin regularly however I was always aware that it was a FWD car.

This became even more apparent when I changed to a B7 A4 (3.0tdi) which had quattro. The a5 (3.0tdi) I've recently bought is also a quattro and I wouldn't have bought a FWD variant.

I think perhaps the loss of grip is more to do with high levels of torque rather than bhp, which is more noticeable with the tdi especially when remapped (the 3.0tdi was remapped also).

For me, Quattro every time if combined with a large enough engine.

Also the audi quattro system is regarded as one of the better 4wd systems, the torsen version in the a4 at least, so my comments may not be directly transferable to all 4wd systems.
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post #24 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 01:12 PM
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ultra? looks the same setup as i had on the 8l s3, front wheel drive most of the time then when needed the haldex engaged the rear wheels.
must be updated now though.

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post #25 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 01:33 PM
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Depends which version of AWD.
Torsen is a good variant.
Haldex is not.

I'd rather have a FWD car with a good mechanical diff than any Haldex effort (of which I've had a few).
Haldex, IMO, sucks the life out of driving.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
Based on what I have read, Audi won't use Quattro Ultra for S or RS cars.

I still can't find any conclusive evidence that this is the case, but it certainly seems so, which is good.

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post #27 of 49 Old 10th May 2017, 01:58 PM
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I still can't find any conclusive evidence that this is the case, but it certainly seems so, which is good.
From carmagazine: Review: Audi?s new-for-2016 ?Quattro with Ultra? all-wheel-drive system by CAR Magazine

Quote:
Depending on model, it will be available with both DSG auto and manual gearboxes, and with certain engines only. The system is currently designed to work with engines producing maximum torque below 370lb ft or so, meaning that RS variants and certain other engines will stick with developments of the current Torsen system.

Transverse-engined Audis A3, A1, TT and so on continue with their current systems for the time being, developed by VW rather than Audi.
370 lb ft... ppffttt...

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post #28 of 49 Old 11th May 2017, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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Hahahaha thanks to all the very valid contributions guys, most interesting. I LOVE a good debate, always have. When I was with LRL many moons ago we tested all of the competitors from the Suzuki Jeep, various very good Japs (Toyota, Mitsubishi et al) as well as the European cars all off-road of course. I still remember that as a RR competitor the Mercedes G Wagon was (and still is as far as I know) head and shoulders above the rest cos it had 3 diff locks!!!!!!!! Amazing car.

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post #29 of 49 Old 11th May 2017, 07:14 AM
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If you had Quattro you'd get up those mountains with summer tyres


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post #30 of 49 Old 11th May 2017, 06:46 PM
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Fwiw --I think everyone will be surprised when they drive one of these Quattro Ultra cars. I have tracked a Haldex TT a lot over 10+ years. --- The electronically, clutch engaged rear drive CAN be advantageous over conventional Torsen based AWD. Because there is no center differential, it is possible for 100% of torque to be available at the rear axle. This makes slippage of an unloaded front inside tire exiting a sharp low speed corner far less of an issue since the torque available at the rear axle is unaffected. My newer S5 has conventional Quattro but with a 60/40 torque split to the rear and has torque vectoring via the sport differential. Now THAT is magical in how well it works. Complicated though. I hope it still works in a few years.

Y'all Have a Great Day!

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