A development version of the forthcoming all-wheel-drive premium sub-compact hatchback has been testing on snow-covered roads around Montreal in Canada recently.
The newcomer will ensure quattro has full representation across the Audi range, from this latest A1 quattro prototype to the A8 luxury sedan.
The little A1 is currently undergoing a baptism of fire in the freezing conditions on Canada's snow-packed roads. The development car is one of the stars of the 'Fascination of quattro' event taking place in Montreal to celebrate the past, present and future of the legendary four-wheel-drive system, which reached its 30th anniversary in 2010.
The car has been built to affirm the commitment made at the 2010 Paris Auto Show to underpin future high performance variants of the A1 with the all-wheel drive system.
The latest member of the quattro family uses technology very similar to that used in A3 and TT models. At its core is an electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch located ahead of the rear axle for optimized weight distribution. Inside the clutch is a package of plates that rotate in an oil bath.
During normal driving, the clutch sends most of the power to the front wheels. If the front axle loses grip, the clutch can instantly transfer torque to the rear axle by forcing the plates together. A pressure reservoir helps the electric pump develop the necessary oil pressure instantly.
There is no indication yet as to when the quattro model will be offered for sale, nor whether the car will be introduced to North America.