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Audi A4 2005+



  • I hope this doesn't get "us" in trouble -- but since this mostly an Audi topic (AWD/quattro/TorSen), I will take a chance.

    Over on the now dead LPS blog, I wrote a lengthy (who me?) discussion of TorSen, on the one hand, vs "everybody" else, on the other, as a method of differentiating "why" TorSen is technically superior in the quest for traction, control and performance. I also did and do acknowledge the two main penalties associated with TorSen -- it is if not the most expensive it is the #2 most expensive system for AWD power distribution, today. And, it is heavy -- weight as we generally violently agree (with each other) is the enemy of performance, economy and handling.

    Conversely AWD does bring with it many benefits, most notably for "civilians" (and that includes me) the go anywhere sense that the quattro encourages and facilitates.

    TorSen is NOT predictive, of course -- and I actually said in my previous blog that it ACTS instead of reacts.

    My point, and I am not upset that you called me on it was to suggest that the speed at which TorSen "reacts" is instantaneous. There is virtually zero lag time from when a loss of traction event begins until the TorSen "binds" to instantly transfer power to where is can be used.

    Other systems need wheel slippage to get this the AWD benefits underway.

    There are real, demonstrable benefits.

    quattro vs the rest

    Yet, a point I also make and concede is that it almost may be an issue of "who cares."

    The pro TorSen crowd argues that TorSen is "for all practical purposes" the best AWD system because it transfers power essentially "in anticipation" of wheel slippage where the other AWD systems only transfer power ONCE WHEEL SLIPPAGE has already begun. Big difference, to be sure. But from a practical point of view does the person looking at the $50K Acura, Audi or even Volvo know, let alone appreciate, the huge difference between a car that has deployed a Torque Sensing AWD technology versus Haldex (like the TT?) Do customers at this level understand the difference between BMW's X drive and quattro (TorSen) and Infinitis AT ESSA (or whatever the heck it is called) or Acura's SH-AWD?

    Audis system can be demonstrated to be costlier, heavier and superior.

    Does anyone care?

    The folks at some weblog sites basically think that without TorSen Audi (again) squanders its reasons for being able to lay claim to having the best AWD cars in the world (at the price.) But, others argue that customers and prospects A: don't know and B: don't care.

    What/how does Audi differentiate itself from the rest of the All Wheel Drive Premium Performance Sedans, then? Style, colors, options, content, price/value?

    Beats me -- TorSen may not carry the weight as it should or could have due to the fact that Audi did not educate customers over the past 25 years.

    Now, it seems, all AWD is created equal.


    Probably, but not technically.

    Perception is reality, not the "proof" that can be offered.

    The cat is out of the bag, AWD is a very rapidly growing segment based on who offers it and how many are sold.

    AWD is darn close to be a prerequisite to being allowed to play in the Luxury Performance Class and the Near-Luxury Performance Class (just as Dr. Piech predicted almost 25 years ago.)

    That and $.50 gets a cup of coffee from the machine.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I'm still having problems with the language. :blush:

    "The pro TorSen crowd argues that TorSen is "for all practical purposes" the best AWD system because it transfers power essentially "in anticipation" of wheel slippage where the other AWD systems only transfer power ONCE WHEEL SLIPPAGE has already begun."

    To my way of thinking, any AWD system that isn't prescient MUST react "ONCE WHEEL SLIPPAGE has already begun", TorSen or no. I'm thinking that the hair that needs to get split here is "How much wheel slippage?" and/or "What duration of wheel slippage?" before any given system alters its torque distribution. My bet (based much on what you've written) is that the TorSen system is the quickest of the "Reactive Systems" currently available on the market, but still reactive none-the-less. Yes, no?

    Best Regards,
  • "My point, and I am not upset that you called me on it was to suggest that the speed at which TorSen "reacts" is instantaneous. There is virtually zero lag time from when a loss of traction event begins until the TorSen "binds" to instantly transfer power to where is can be used."

    Put another way and in answer to your question: yes.

    Maybe this will help:

    "Unlike conventional speed sensing, limited-slip differentials, TORSEN T-3 is a full-time torque-sensing, torque biasing system. Torque and differentiation are continuously managed between the front and rear axles and biased instantaneously according to variable road conditions, automatically shifting the power to the wheel with the most traction before any wheel slip can occur. There are no clutches or preload to worry about, in fact, the TORSEN T-3's patented helical planetary gearing system is designed to perform for the life of the vehicle.

    TORSEN T-3 Traction Differentials are available with a locking capability range of 20-30% and a nominal split from 65:35 and 35:65, front to rear. The T-3 can be designed to fit most transmissions or transaxles with no modifications required. In addition, it is fully compatible with ABS, Traction Control Systems, and Stability Control Systems, providing the ultimate traction management systems."

    "ENHANCED PERFORMANCE The TORSEN T-3's capability to immediately respond to variable driving conditions not only provides better traction, it also enhances the general performance of a vehicle. There is a marked improvement in total tractive effort as compared to open or speed-sensing center differential equipped vehicles. In addition, the exceptional efficiency of the T-3 allows the engine's torque to be used more effectively, delivering more horsepower to the road. The combined improvement in traction and the augmented power results in a nimble yet sure-footed vehicle that provides better handling, increased acceleration and an improved margin of safety."

    "With TORSEN, the vehicle has true all-wheel drive, driving all the wheels all the time. This can provide optimal traction management and deliver more power to the wheels, resulting in improved vehicle stability, handling, and performance."

    - JTEKT Torsen North America, Inc.

    And this:

    "A far more efficient (and expensive) 4WD layout is the one involving a TorSen ( which stands for TORque SENsing) differential. This extraordinary device, invented by the American Gleasman (patent pending, 1958) and manufactured by the Gleason corporation, is based on the non-reversibility of worm gears and worm wheels (i.e. when you turn the worm wheel the worm gear turns but not vice versa). The TorSen is the only mechanism which acts like a differential and locking device at the same time. It has the advantage of being fully mechanical which guarantees its instantaneous response and progressiveness. Its main advantages therefore resume to:

    Instantaneous response

    The linear character of its locking to speed difference curve (smoothness)

    No locking or speed difference inhibition under braking (it acts only when power is applied to it)

    Integrates a "free" differential and a locking device in one part

    Its compactness, the TorSen has only 8 moving parts

    No wear as opposed to more traditional self-locking differentials based on friction plates"

    "The most important difference between TorSen differentials and viscous couplers is that the TorSen has a torque sensing characteristic while the VC has a rotation sensing characteristic. That's why TorSen differentials only lock when power is applied to them whereas viscous couplers lock both when power is applied and while braking."

    - Tryphon Georgallides 2006
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I think this horse has been beaten within an inch...

    That said, I need to go one more round, sorry about that.

    So, the above text includes the following language:

    "Torque and differentiation are continuously managed between the front and rear axles and biased instantaneously according to variable road conditions, automatically shifting the power to the wheel with the most traction before any wheel slip can occur."

    I'm thinking that the above is marketing biased language and that the "...before any wheel slip can occur." statement supports that thought. I mean, if zero wheel slip has occurred before the system shifts around the torque split, then it is indeed prescient, something that we know that it isn't. So, to my way of thinking, there must be at least some wheel slip (maybe only a degree or two of rotation), before the system senses the need to send the power elsewhere.

    Asked another way: If the system is truly capable of shifting the torque prior to even a single fraction of a degree of wheel slip, then what event process is employed to control said torque split?

    Best Regards,
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,516
    From what I know (not a lot), the main difference can be described as "electronic" or "mechanical". Torsen or multiplate clutch systems (as I understand it) are mostly "mechanical" splits (not that there is no electronics there), thus the "reaction" is instant by its nature. "Electronic" systems rely on some "brain" to tell them what to do - as a processors speeds are stil finite, there must be some time between the input and output data, thus perceived delay in response, especially that as conditions change due to very response of the system response, new response needs to be recalculated. Such delays do not occur in "mechanical" systems, which are "analog" in their nature, as input/output is continuous.

    That would be, very simplistically, a reason why Torsen Audis and Subarus (and say Mistubishi Evo) are still the "best in the pack" in terms of actual behavior of their AWD vehicles (those that are actually available to purchase).

    2018 330i Gran Coupe

  • I have read and read stuff for years and the net I always walk away with is that it "acts in concert" or "acts at the same time as the slippage WOULD otherwise occur."

    It is not predictive per se, of course, it is just that no slippage happens as the action is entirely "solid" -- there is no lag because it is entirely mechanical in its "action" (or if you like, reaction.)

    The key take away does seem to be that this system does NOT require wheel slippage PRIOR to acting.

    Big advantages can accrue.

    Audi has almost exclusively used TorSen (except in the transverse engine mounted autos.)

    Hope the horse is on its last legs! :shades:
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Boy, great stuff from our two favorite board elders ( said in respect) . To further the thought of "pre crime" or pre slippage, whats to say there wouldn't be a false slippage read, that did not occur?

    I have very simple needs, how about Audi purchase a "rolling" RWD chassis and 50/50 weight bias from BMW and slap on their beautiful skin,... Now that would be the ultimate compromise in my mind.

  • Hi... I have, from the beginning used minimum 93 Octane gasoline in my now 10 month old 2005.5 A4, which has just passed the 10K mile mark.

    It had its 5K service on time at the dealer, who I presume used the prescribed oil in the change.

    My wife drives a 2005 A4 cab, has a couple of K more miles than mine. She drives it gently, I don't drive mine gently... use the Tip a lot etc.

    This weekend I noticed something troubling. My shiny chrome tail pipe extensions aren't shiny any more. They're pretty much covered with black sooty stuff. I wiped most off with a rag, but couldn't really restore the shine. I looked at the cab... shiny with minimal sootiness...

    Am I being paranoid... is this just normal for my car vs hers, or is this an indicator that maybe my engine is burning dirty?

    Does anyone think this is worth mentioning to the dealer?

    Otherwise I wouldn't suspect any problems. The car knows my driving style now and is very responsive. Any thoughts???
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    " about Audi purchase a "rolling" RWD chassis and 50/50 weight bias from BMW and slap on their beautiful skin..."


    I think I just wet myself... :surprise: :blush:
  • Does anyone know if Audi increased the invoice price on their models in 2006, specifically the 3.2Q manual trans?

    I have a car on order, negotiated in Dec, and when checking the price again on Edmunds saw something different than in my notes.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    Yes........the A4 had an across the board price increase of $600 after Jan 1 2006
  • Well, when we negotiated the lease for my wife's custom ordered BMW X3 3.0, we negotiated the MSRP, CAP cost and mo pay for a 36 month lease with $250 out of pocket, first month and sec dep.

    Then, when the car finally came in we paid what we agreed, no more, no less.

    MSRP was ~ $46,500, down payment $250, Sec dep $600, mo pay @ 36 months 15K per year $581 including sales tax.

    No games when the car came in. We gave them a signature and $250 at the time of the order.

    Car took about 8 weeks to come from Europe to America.

    No games!

    Of course, we've done this with our Audis for years and also no games (unless we order a car that does not have an MSRP yet -- like our first TT or my first A8 -- my only A8 to be clear.)
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    $46,500 X3 :surprise: WOW, you need to do an ED on that thing !

  • I have always dreamed of picking up my new Audi in Ingolstadt and driving it for a week or so. . .

    What does the MSRP have to do with the equation, however?

    A $44K A4 3.2 was $603 per month same deal -- at the time the stick shift plus $103 less per month cinched the deal.
  • I did some comparatives on pricing, and either the US is getting great deals on most models or Canadians are taking it up the ... ever since the dollar has climbed.

    At Audi Canadians pay a 14% premium for 4WD compared to an 8% premium for 2WD

    Generally speaking across the Toyota lineup we're paying between 10% and 20% more than the US after factoring in the current exchange rate.

    Subaru is even worse with 20% premium on the WRX and Honda has a 13% additional markup on an SI with Aero and 18" wheels.

    The new VW GTI gap starts at 14% for the base but when you add some extras it drops to 7%

    Given the free trade laws I think it's at the point where it might cost less to import the car from the US rather than buying at a Canadian dealership.

    PS - don't give me the line about supply and demand. This is the corporate machine exploiting the under informed consumer.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,516
    There may be more than just Pure greed": size of the market (i.e. "fixed" cost operations having higher unit cost), special requirements (certifications etc. - again, even with same "price" to certify the model, price per unit may be higher due to smaller volume). But, yes, it all comes upt to willingness of customers to pay.

    Europe has been suffering gouging for very long. Not only higher taxes (VAT 15-25%), but also simply higher prices, after adjustments for sale taxation are made (by law European list prices include VAT, American list prices do not include sales tax). Comparing feature by feature, some "entry luxuries" prices are over 50% higher, even after those corrections, dpending on the country.

    2018 330i Gran Coupe

  • I wouldn’t mind seeing a very public site that does region to region price comparisons in relative currencies.

    Corporate globalization is leaving regionalized consumers defenseless as to the true value of the goods they buy.

    A local consumer has no chance against a global corporation, so the field needs leveling via a global consumer, where one can determine the value of goods at a global scale.

    Don’t you think a regional consumer would have a better chance at negotiating a fair price for goods if you knew what the global community is paying for it.

    As for certification having a significant impact on the price of a vehicle I don’t buy it.
    Car manufactures use testing centers with the broadest recognition, and getting a car certified in most parts of the world amounts to not much more than paperwork derived from those tests.

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,516
    Well, I would actually argue that regardless of some obvious problems, American consumer is on winning side - incomes (for same jobs) matched only by few, prices by none.

    As long as the market remains competitive (i.e. no government overregulation or no anti-competitive over-cosolidation), the consumer has always final vote by their wallet. It does not mean they'll get product of their dreams for the price of their dreams, but they'll get the best the market can offer. And it is ALWAYS more than say a government can offer - and I know, because I "tasted" government offer back in my country 15 years ago - Yugo was then considered about a midlevel product :sick: .

    But lets go back to our main topic.

    2018 330i Gran Coupe

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    not to overdo this topic but how does HALDEX compare with TORSEN? Advantages? Disadvantages?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Almost an Over-simplification, Almost:

    o W/Haldex wheel slippage occurs a split second before power is directed to a non-slipping wheel.

    o W/TorSen (Torque Sensing) the power re-direction happens in "real-time."

    Torsen is technically "better."

    Torsen is more expensive and weighs more, generally speaking.

    Practically speaking, however, you may notice virtually no difference between them in everyday driving.

    Often, the Haldex cars are nominally 95% FWD and 5% RWD with the ability to react almost instantly to shift power from the front to the rear -- nominally changing, for instance, from 95/5 F/R to 35/65 F/R.

    Torsen, originally, was nominally a 50/50 F/R split. Bowing to pressure (and probably having some benefit, but on the public hiways and byways that is somewhat up for debate) Torsen's newest incarnation is 40/60 F/R torque split. All of the other advantages of Torsen remain in its newest incarnation.

    My biggest gripe, remains: Audis (employing Torsen for the sake of this gripe) are nose heavy. Deploying a 40/60 F/R Torsen set up is fine. IMHO, keeping Torsen 50/50 and figuring out how to better balance the weight of the cars Audi produces would be my preference. And, in a world that obeyed my magic wand, both would be dandy.


    From How Stuff Works:

    "The Torsen differential* is a purely mechanical device; it has no electronics, clutches or viscous fluids.

    The Torsen (from Torque Sensing) works as an open differential when the amount of torque going to each wheel is equal. As soon as one wheel starts to lose traction, the difference in torque causes the gears in the Torsen differential to bind together. The design of the gears in the differential determines the torque bias ratio. For instance, if a particular Torsen differential is designed with a 5:1 bias ratio, it is capable of applying up to five times more torque to the wheel that has good traction.

    These devices are often used in high-performance all-wheel-drive vehicles. Like the viscous coupling, they are often used to transfer power between the front and rear wheels. In this application, the Torsen is superior to the viscous coupling because it transfers torque to the stable wheels before the actual slipping occurs."

    More Good Stuff Here:

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,516
    Haldex is used in transverse-mounted engines (I can't think of any longitudinal Haldex), Torsen requires longitudinal alignment.

    Also, the transfer mechanism itself is different, I think. If I'm not mistaken, Haldex is multiplate clutch, whereas Torsen uses a differential-type of split mechanism.

    Like Mark said - Haldex is "almost instantenous", Torsen is instantenous. The difference in the "decision making" boils down difference between electronic processing (Haldex) and mechanical processing (Torsen). Of course today's Torsen is also heavily aided by electronics, but the underlying principle is mechanical reaction to changing conditions, whereas in Haldex it is run through some CPU, which decides on course of action and then its output becomes instant input, as conditions of course change. So its limitations are still due to speed of the sensors, speed, speed and efficiency of its algorithms. Kind of like comparing a lever that will push a button when pressed with a "button pusher" controlled by a computer. When you do it once there is no difference, when there is enough signals how hard to push, how often, etc. are processed, you start seeing advantage of the old-fashioned lever response - it will always transmit the impulses the way they are intended and at instant.

    2018 330i Gran Coupe

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Great info! Will be interesting to see if Audi eventually adopts TORSEN for a transverse engine.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,516
    They can't. The nature of the differential - you would have to run the power through too many turns and than back again. Would be completely insane to even think about it. Basically oximoron.

    2018 330i Gran Coupe

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Although technically possible, this would be quite expensive, inefficient and [I think] less effective.

    Take an A3 3.2 w/DSG out for a nice long test drive, then take an A4 3.2 w/stick shift out for the same long test drive (try to make certain the A4 has the sport package to more or less compensate for some of the differences between the two -- e.g., wheelbase.)

    Take some corners at speed with some late braking, wait for the load shift, carve through the corner, at the apex come out at full throttle (probably in one gear lower than your initial approach) -- see how it feels.

    There will be differences and there is no way to mask them since the A3 and A4 are cousins NOT fraternal twins.

    But, under the circumstances the proof that the differences are minimal even under the condition and approach I have described should become evident.

    Most of us, even us TorSen bigots, will not be able to determine the Haldex vs the TorSen AWD implementation under even these circumstances -- and most of the time most of us will NOT be performing these maneuvers.

    In an ideal world:

    Audi quattro with 40/60 F/R torque split, DSG 7 speed transmission, torquey engine (by that I mean torque that comes on at fairly low RPM's relatively speaking) and a better than 55/45 F/R weight distribution and some UHP low profile (LE 45 series) tires on 18 or 19 or 20" wheels -- with the AWD being of the TorSen persuasion.

    Instant Tang! ;)
  • gcurnewgcurnew Posts: 1
    Anyone have any experience with (or an informed POV on) the Haldex PreX product?

    The idea seems sound, but how does it perform in real-world, real-road situations? I've seen claims that the VW/Audi Haldex systems require 1/7 of a wheel rotation to detect slippage and start channelling torque to the rear wheels. Would the PreX actually be able to send torque rearward BEFORE wheelspin occurs just based on throttle inputs?
  • vharrisvharris Posts: 7
    Can anyone out there tell me if MMI is available as an option on 2006 A4's or not. Thanks in advance
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343

    MMI-like is the best you can get in a 2006.

    MMI is almost certain to be in the next A4, I would not count the 07's out -- but, I would also not be shocked if full on MMI didn't come out for the A4 until the
    B8 A4 in MY 2008.

    What are you looking for in MMI that MMI like doesn't do?

    MMI is easy and requires voice command -- MMI like offers voice according to Audi's web site.
  • vharrisvharris Posts: 7
    Wife currently has a 2000 A6 4.2 that we want to get out of. Maintenance costs are getting to be out of control and we were looking at the A4 Avant with the S-line package and navagation. The 3.2 with those options are around 48K, which is making me reconsider the A6 w/ the 3.2 engine. The price is not that much more expensive than A4 as optioned and could get the voice package.

    What do you think???
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    The A6 is less sporty, more luxurious, bigger, a little more thirsty and a true LPS car -- the A4 is one of the best "near" LPS cars.

    The A6 has a real back seat.

    The A4 has an abbreviated back seat.

    I would, however, consider them apples and oranges and in that regard they are "equal" but different.

    The deal du jour may, as you say, make the two be close enough in price to be competitive.

    If I rarely needed a back seat, I am certain I would be quite happy with an A4, especially since it can be had with a 6-speed manual. The A6 cannot be had that way.

    If you are getting an autotrans car, go ahead and get the A6. If you want more and better performance, go with an A4 SLine manual transmission.

    More and better lux -- the A6.

    The A6 SLine, however, which is sort of the best of both worlds, may not be within the price range you stipulated.

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Talk about lookers, the new "spy shots" of the upcoming A4 and A5 (dubbed the Audi B8's) are quite becoming.

    If the array of technology that is in my A6 is replicated and perhaps improved upon, AND the engine choices include TDI's 4's, V6's and V6 and V8 FSI's with (perhaps) the DSG transmission upped to 7 speeds -- well cut off my legs and call me shorty! I'm in.

    I just enjoyed another trip from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh and back over the long weekend. Drove the mountains (foot hills really) of Eastern OH and the surrounding WVA and PA -- the V6 A6 with four people in it performed flawlessly (too bad I can't say the same for the cellular coverage.)

    Miles to empty went to 635 and the trip from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh showed 1/4 of a tank of fuel used (which is a distortion of reality, but reality turned out to be almost 31 MPG.) I kept wondering how the A4 would do with the same engine.

    I have almost always railed against automatic transmissions and still am a bit suspicious of them, but I must say, putting my tiptronic in "S" mode and setting the cruise control in the hills of WVA for 55 yielded a totally rewarding drive (of course not hurt by the smooth as glass road in that state compared to the pock-marked Ohio roads.)

    Anyway, with 23 months to go on my A6 lease, and hardly ever using my back seat, an A4 or even A5 sure seems to be an attractive alternative -- especially if the SLine option soldiers on.

This discussion has been closed.