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FWD, AWD, RWD and the Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • you are correct, infact its AWD that will be gone in a matter of time, if all racing circuits keep banning audi quattro from racing (especially from the boys at porche).

    so my question to habitat1 is, why doesnt porche put the GT2 in, and race the awd audi boys?

    imho any rwd boys have no chance of victory against QUATTRO, so they banned them instead.

    kind of makes you think who's making a, d a statement.

    happy & healthy new year to you & your's!

    UJ
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Look, Joe, you can make or justify your decision for getting an AWD sedan based upon its use an Audi race car if you want. Heck, you can base it on sunspot events, for all I care, with about the same degree of relevancy.

    Audi's success with their R10 TDI race car is impressive. But it has nothing to do with my evaluation of or decision regarding a family sedan, sport sedan or sports car. With the exception of the limited production R8, Audi doesn't even make a sports car, and the company's "sport" sedans are exceedingly heavy and dull compared to every one of their comparable counterparts from BMW, IMO. I have driven the A4 and A6 Quatro's on several occasionas as service loaners and was entirely underwhelmed by their performance and driving feel.

    With respect to the R8, I'll get my chance to give an informed opinion on January 24. My Porsche dealer is also an Audi dealer and they are having a special charity event to celebrate their move to a new location/showroom. I have been promised a 10 minute test drive in the R8. I am working on the Porsche GM to allow me a test drive of his personal GT3 back to back to compare. But, for what it's worth, look at the numbers:

    R8 vs. GT3

    Horsepower: 420 vs. 415 = Audi 5 more
    Torque: 317 vs. 300 = Audi 17 more
    Curb weight: 3,605 vs. 3,075 = Audi 530 lbs more (ouch!)
    0-60: 4.4 vs. 3.9 = Porsche 0.5 faster
    EPA: 13/20 vs. 17/24 = Porsche 25%+/- more fuel efficient.

    You are welcome to pretend you are in a R10 TDI driving your AWD sedan. Of course, to be true to the Audi, you'd need to replace your engine with a diesel powerplant. And replace your manual transmission or slushbox automatic with a $25k+ DSG. And replace your tires with 150 mile treadlife slicks, lower the car down to 1/2 inch over the pavement, stiffen the suspension to handle 3 g turns, put in a roll cage and 5 point racing harness, throw in a fire extinguisher or two....

    Me, I'll stick with the reality that a street legal production sport sedan or sports car is a different animal than a multi million dollar purpose built race car. And Audi might do well to take just a little of that engineering prowess from Formula One and redirect it to making their production cars a little less obese.
  • jc07jc07 Posts: 5
    As a recent Audi purchaser (2008 A6 4.2) I relied heavily on all these boards to learn about other owner experiences and, of course, make the fateful BMW vs Audi comparison.

    I think Habitat1 has hit the nail on the head: a street legal production "performance luxury sedan," Audi or BMW, that I can find in a showroom or order from a dealer is so far removed from the racing vehicles that we read about in these discussions that the debates basically become purely hypothetical. These are not vehicles I am going to be driving anytime soon -- at least not on the way to work on with my family!

    And my two humble cents on why I chose the Audi over the 5-series:

    1) Interior quality blew away BMW. Not even close.
    2) Exterior A6 design is cleaner than the busy, over-designed 5 series. (IMHO)
    3) The 4.2's V-8 and sport suspension helps adjust for "obesity," although it still does not touch the 5-series for handling.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,354
    Is there that much of a difference in the AWD "feel" of the A6 vs. the 5'er to make a difference. Obviously, not in your case. It seems to be like splitting hairs.

    The 5 is a porker to an enthusiast due to the way over 3,000 lb. weight of an E60/61. That is why it is in a different class and I would think from the amount of these I see on the roads, quite a popular car for an non-enthusiast.

    The A6 must be very close to the 535xi.

    As previously reported, I see more xi versions than the standard i where I live. The marketing hype seems to be doing just fine for BMW. The real answer is these are all fine cars and there is no collusive plan to overthrow the enthusiasts at BMW.

    This seems to be a new day at BMW and the weight thing is relative. The new M3 is not going to change anytime soon retrospect to the pre-2000 M series weight/size class. At >400 HP, there is enough sport in this evolution and I am sure the chassis should handle the added power just fine.

    Regards,
    OW
  • jc07jc07 Posts: 5
    I found a difference in handling (but not that I drive in a way that will remind me of that). Also - the 535i & xi have the new straight six with twin turbos. That engine is unbelievable from a dead stop. But again, I am not going to typically operate the vehicle that way.....

    Overally very happy with my Audi.

    Regards
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,354
    Here's wishing you the best in your A6.

    Regards,
    OW
  • how are you,

    we must have some kind of misunderstanding, my feeling with you is that rwd is more superior than awd?

    if i'm wrong, EXCUSE ME please.

    because my opinion has been obvious, that AWD vs RWD is only tenths of a second difference, either way!

    safe & fun driving gentleman! :)
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 216
    that as we grow older we learn to compromise.

    I test drove a 528XI and found it handled great but did not have enough power. I tried the 535XI and was wowed by it. I read the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report on side impact and decided against it.

    For me the next best thing is an A6. Because I'm old and learning to compromise I drive an AWD with all seasons. I get in the car and whatever nature throws at me I pretty much can deal with it. So maybe Shipo and the rest of you guys should calm down, learn how to be tolerant and let us old guys feel good about driving our AWD's:). We feel safe in them.
  • well said, infact when my son who is 22 is pasing me at the track,( amongst many other highend RWD sport cars. i also own a Z06) yes i worry for his safety, but understand the joy of racing, and that his somewhat modified R32 is a blast to ride!
    so to say whats better is only in theory( awd or rwd ) in which is more faster or nimble comes down to the driver, and how fast or hooked up his ride is.

    when it comes to stock cars, in everyday driving, the significant difference comes down to weather, be it dry, wet, snowy or even sandy, for me it will always be AW Driving!

    safe & fun driving gentleman. :)
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Actually, it has nothing to do with which is quicker, more stable, or safer. It's all about how satisfying it is behind the wheel.

    If I had to deal with a lot of inclement weather, instead of a 335xi, I'd buy a 335i and a 10 year-old Nissan Pathfinder.
  • to each his own.

    happy new year FLM.

    UJ
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    we must have some kind of misunderstanding, my feeling with you is that rwd is more superior than awd?

    My opinion is that neither AWD nor RWD can/should be described as objectively "superior" in a general sense for all circumstances. They each have their pros and cons and it is the subjective priorities/preferences of the buyer that will dictate which might be better for them.

    Track times are certainly interesting. But my preference for "nimbleness" and "responsiveness" can't be fully measured with the standard 0-60, lateral g's or even Nurburgring track times. From my personal experience, two cars can have similar "numbers" but feel very different, especially if one weighs significanly more than the other. But again, that is my personal, subjective preference. As I think circlew and I agreed long ago, one person's "nimbleness" can be another person's 'lightfootedness" and one person's "heavy" can be another person's "planted".

    Cheers.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,354
    Spot On, as usual. When a car impresses you and meets your special requirements, go with it. If it feels right for you, it is.

    Regards,
    OW
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    RWD is superior to AWD, F/AWD that is.

    If I can't have a R/AWD then a good alternative is RWD.
  • when you say superior to f/awd, i guess you mean your own opinion, driving experience, when you test drove the vehicles.
    because audi racing would beg to differ, they are banned from most events.

    i no that they where banned for being, truely more superior!

    safe & fun driving.
    UJ
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    because audi racing would beg to differ, they are banned from most events.

    I can concede that a highly sophisticated, lightweight race car version of AWD might be an advantage on some tracks. Just like a thumb activated SMG gearbox has an advantage in keeping both hands on the wheel as you try to negotiate 3 g hairpin turns. But I still prefer a three pedal manual in a sports car that is "only" capable of 1.0 g's. Race car analogies have their limitations. Otherwise, Goodyear would be trying to sell racing slicks to AWD sedan buyers gullible enough to think that because Shumacher uses them, they must be right for the street.

    I don't know the full story of Audi and why, at least by your posts, they seem to be beating their head against the rules of Formula One or whatever circuit(s) you are referring to. There are tons of rules about what you can and can't do that all of the automakers have to comply with. And, if you recall, its been 20 years since the AWD Porsche 959 was introduced and obliterated everybody in a few racing contests, including Audi, I believe.

    My issue with Audi is similar to my issue with Acura. They both clearly have some extraordinary engineering talent from their racing division. But that talent hasn't made its way into street production cars to the extent I would like. Rather than applaud Audi for having a race car that doesn't compy with the rules, perhaps you and others should encourage Audi to take some of that technology into the showrooms. There is no reason, IMO, that a two seat "sports car" should weigh 650 lbs more than my old 1995 Nissan Maxima, AWD notwithstanding. For my part, I'll try to encourage Acura to do something with their engineering prowess other than just the Honda S2000. Like a RWD TL or a flagship RL that actually performs like a flagship and not a gussied up Accord, SH-AWD notwithstanding.

    So many problems to fix and so little time. ;)
  • :) hello H1,
    was basically replying to wwest on his superior comment, so if you care to surf the web on audi racing and there history, be my guest, maybe youll come to a different conclusion on superiority then me.
    sorry that the R8 & RS4 dosent cut it for you, and personaly i appreciate the great bang for the buck on the S2000, but not into convertables, but my wife is, has TT quattro.
    getting back to great bangs for the buck, for me i feel the GT-R (and to show you i do have an appreciation to rwd) the Z06 are dynamite bangs for a buck, especialy comparing it to the GT2, which is a 100k more.( out of my league.)

    but to each his own.

    oh yea, my cars all have three pedals

    as for me, not to many problems to fix, just to little time to have fun with. :)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Again, my ideal AWD design would be one that distributes engine torque as a function of roadbed traction capability. Heavier in the front, fine, more torque to the front appropreate to weight biasing.

    But just as soon a lateral forces begin to build I want engine traction, leading or lagging, removed from the front in order to dedicate front tire traction to directional control. Apportioning engine torque to the front inverse to lateral forces would be perfectly fine, IMMHO.

    It appears to me that the 4runner AWD mode does exactly that, and maybe the Acura SH-AWD system.
  • nisisnisis Posts: 1
    You are totally right in your appreciations, because the awd mode of the 4runner is a torsen certen differential, just like quattro of audi. The main characteristic of this diff is that it`s internal friction an oposition to un-locking, when cornering, make it change the torque split from an initial 50:50 (or 40:60), to a more rear biased distribution, up to 25:75(the more you turn, more power and retention is taken away from the front wheels and send to the rear). This is caused by the high speed of the front diff in corners due to the need of the front wheels to move faster, because they have to make a longer path than rear wheels. The torsen absorbs this higher front diff spee, but offers a great resistance to un-lock, so the internal friction tries constantly to acelerate the rear wheels sending more power to the rear diff. That`s why an RS4 under a very wet track with low traction tends to oversteer under heavy aceleration.

    This behavior of the torsen is purely mechanical.

    The SH AWD system is a very complex system, wich uses a multi-plate clutch to engage the rear diff(just like like haldex, in this case with a 70-30 torque split on normal), but unlike haldex and other Front biased AWD systems, between the multiplate clutch and the rear diff, there is a planetary gear set, that absorbs the speed diference between front and rear diff, but tries to acellerate the rear wheels.

    The only thing that doesn`t make sense about the SH-AWD is how can split torque up to 30:70 if there is no center differential and the front diff is always fully connected to the transmission. in theory when the clutch is fully locked no more than fifty percent of the torque can go to the rear wheels

    I
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Only the sedan has the planetary gearset in series with the rear driveline. The SUVs have a fixed overdrive ratio to the rear driveline. It is this overdrive ratio, variable in the case of the sedan, that allows for more than 50% being apportioned to the rear.

    Basically with the rear left and right clutch paks locked the rear wheels turn ~5-15% faster that the front wheels. Not something that can be done on a constant basis but certainly quite viable for adverse/slippery roadbed conditions, applied only to the outside rear wheel when turning, or even brief periods of hard acceleration.
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