... Quattro Expense and test drive results

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Dick writes:


Congrats! Way to go! Dave
http://hometown.aol.com/davplac/myhomepage/index.html
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On 20 Jan 2004 21:51:44 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comPirate (Dave LaCourse) wrote:

Easy for me. All I had to do was the drive the car. Audi has done all the hard work. Maybe except for me getting the dough for the car.

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No it is not. This is what marketing wants you to believe.
If it was a safety feature, you can bet that Mercedes-Benz S600, SLR and Maybach would have it standard, no question asked. But there are questions. The only thing that AWD does it better is accelerating on slippery surfaces. All the rest is urban legend. It adds mass and is less predictable when going over the limits. Car&Driver did many times comparos between twins 2WD and AWD. Their conclujsion is always repetitive. Addtional mass of AWD is more of a detriment. This is not to say thatyAWD can not be fun in winter (it is), but as a safety feature, NOTHING supports this claim... except marketing.
Actually, it is a safety measure; it saved Audi and Subaru from going in bankruptcy. ;o)
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On Sat, 24 Jan 2004 08:42:54 -0500, "Saintor"
Another thought from the ramblings of an antagonist. Thank you so much for your viewpoint, it's always entertaining.
AWD vehicles have more even tire wear. The odds of having two bald tires is greatly reduced. If you end up with four bald tires, that's your problem, not marketing. Not a factor? Keep in mind that most drivers can't drive, nor do they maintain their leased junk. Even treadwear = safety.
Would I buy a quattro for even treadwear? Hell no. I drive quattros so I can drive 80Mph in 4" of loose snow. Same reason I buy new studded snows every winter. Because I can.
FWD sucks. It is simply not safe to have the steering wheels lose traction due to torque application or weight shift. FWD cars exist for one reason, and one reason only; It's cheaper to produce.
AWD, with torque applied to all four wheels, is safer in all weather conditions, as torque is not concentrated on any two wheels, but all four. The tendency to understeer/oversteer is greatly reduced. Lose adhesion in an AWD car, and you pushed physics too far. It's more difficult to lose adhesion in an AWD car.
Most cars do not offer RWD any longer. It's FWD or the bus, which is still, for now, RWD.
My old 1988 BMW 535is was RWD, and the most fun you could ever have on four wheels. Wow, I miss that old car. At 145, I could eat a sandwich, drink a beer, and drive with my knee. In the snow, it was very predictable, and it went through it very well. On four studded snows. It was no quattro.
FTR, I bought a Land Rover. I put four studded Hakka SUV tires on it. It's good in the snow. In fact, you could say it's damned good. It will indeed go through anything, I drove the thing through a field full of snow that was a couple of feet deep, and blowing up over the hood. It is nowhere near as confident and secure on the streets as my Audi V8 quattro in the snow with four similar tires. And Holy shit, does it gobble fuel! It makes the Audi V8 look like a Prius.

Or Bentley, or the 760Li, or Rolls Royce. It would seem that when the demographic audience hits 60+, and the entry ticket hits $120K, those folks spend slippery season in Florida. Ever go to Teluride? Aspen? Tahoe? What do rich folks drive in the winter? Hummers, Escalades, Range Rovers. Now *that's* marketing.
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JPF writes:

d;o) Hey, wait a minute. This 66 year old phart is enjoying his winter in New England with his RS6. Screw those pantywaists who head south, although if my balls don't drop down from my chest (because of the cold), I too may soon be on an aircraft for sunnier climes. d;o) Dave
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What does tire thread have to do with this conversation?

I disagree. I prefer my cars FWD thank you. So does most people from Sweden and Nordic countries. And there is more snow here than a normal person would bear. When going 40-60mph on an iced highway and drifting, FWD is easier to recover than AWD. I have experienced this extensively. And don't tell me AWD don't drift.

On what planet do you live? RWD is the way to go on higher priced cars. Lexus, BMW, Ferrari. 4-MAtic is not even proposed on Mercedes S600, neither AWD is proposed on Porsche top cars. GT, GT2, GT3... no mistake. Traction control is enough, and common sense will do the rest.

I agree; winter tires make all the difference in the world in winter.

LOL! You have a point here. But it does not change that AWD is mostly often sold on false assumptions.
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FWD
Can't say I've noticed it (uncontrollable drift, that is). I suppose in theory that towing the car behind the front wheels would help to straighten things out (assuming that you're still facing the right way!) On the downside, of course, you can get interesting effects when driving on roads that aren't straight.. which might explain why it's been a bit popular with rally drivers, over the years.
So, I have to say that I have to agree (in part) with whomever you were arguing with - what's the relative availability of FWD against RWD and AWD, on an average car budget?
Pretty much all FWD, I would have thought; mostly because of lower productions costs and better packaging.
You might also want to remind me again of how many FWD Saabs have won Scandanavian rallys, compared to the RWD ones..? ;o)

neither
Traction
Well, I won't get into a fight about the price of a Lexus compared with, say, a Volvo or Saab. OTOH, you may be aware that BMW have launched AWD cars over here in Europe (they've been selling them in the US for yonks), and I'd suggest a quick recount of the number of driven wheels on the average 911/Carrera, these days ;o)
Just in case you suspect bias - I personally prefer RWD as a concept (I like small, light cars), but tend to take each car that I drive on individual merit.
FWD certainly has its place, and between about 1935 and 1959 it was Citroen ;o) Just to stop any other thoughts of bias - my first car was a Mini, and I've owned a Citroen.

and
Bit of a sweeping statement, that.. you might have changed your mind if you ever had the opportunity to drive the Mk.I TT - you could literally feel the traction transfer around the car. Unfortunately, they modded that behaviour out before I took delivery :o(
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The point is *NOT* winning rallys, but safety and ease of driving. Just the fact that AWD accelerate harder on slippery surfaces is enough for them to win rallies. I will never argue with this.
But people keep confusing safety and winning rallies. ;o) I guess that it is where marketing succeeded.
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On Sat, 24 Jan 2004 16:20:30 -0500, JPF

Well, I think in fact he's not entirely wrong.
You can see it that way: AWD distributes the acceleration forces (not decceleration) to all four tires. That itself is undoubtedly an advantage when accelerating. Now if in a fast curve all four tires are at the edge of friction (sorry, can't find a better word for it) any change of balance would make it lose friction on all four tires whereas in the case of only one powered axle only this would loose traction. Now if that is bad or good or easier or harder to cope with is a different story.
It's just Kamm's circle of friction. Don't know if it's named identically in english :-)
Personally I think that the rather neutral behaviour of Audi quattros more stems from a different balance of weight front and back than from the actual drive train concept.
Really, quattro is at it's best in getting you forward when RWD or FWD get stuck. As far as braking is concerned AWD itself has no effect. BTW: physically mass is not a factor in braking.
And now feel free to flame me ;-)
Regards
Wolfgang
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wrote:

Don't expect me to flame you! :o))) Your explication is indeed very plausible. After having driven tens of cars (FWD, AWD, RWD) in extreme conditions particularly on windy and icy highways, I find FWD more predictable *and* safer.
"When theory and pratical experience are in conflict, pratical experience always win".

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wrote:

Exactly.
A FWD car loses adhesion on the drive wheels much easier than a RWD or AWD car. What happens in a turn in a FWD car when your drive wheels lose adhesion? You cannot steer. You cannot turn. Your car understeers, and the car continues in the path it was on before the traction loss. A RWD loses adhesion on the drive wheels much easier than an AWD car. What happens in a turn when your drive wheels lose adhesion? The tail swings out, the car oversteers, and if uncorrected, the car continues in the path it was on before the traction loss. If the front tires have traction, however, the car can be steered by a competent driver. Worse case scenario, the drivers makes a feeble correction and veers into oncoming traffic. An AWD car powers all four wheels. When it loses adhesion in a turn, the car continues on the path it was on before it loss adhesion. That point, however, is significantly higher than the point at which either FWD or RWD lose adhesion. That's not safer?
Why do two-wheeled drive cars have traction control? So inept drivers can steer.
AWD is safer than FWD or RWD. It cannot overcome the laws of physics, stupidity, or lack of reason.
AWD is not a marketing tool. Cupholders are a marketing tool. DVD players are a marketing tool.
Take a moment and do a search on "Ice Racing." Ice racing is a perect display of the physical forces exerted on a vehicle. You have accelleration, decelleration, lateral adhesion around a course. Compare times on AWD/FWD/RWD cars.
Then convince me that AWD is a gimmick.
Boston BMWCCA does some events. One guy in particular runs a Subaru and an M3. Same driver, same course, same tires. Care to guess which times are significantly lower?
As for what planet I live on? I live on the one where most cars are FWD, and at least here in the US, most drivers have no clue as to how to pilot them.
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JPF writes:

True. I used to race on Newfound Lake in NH with the Boston BMW CCA. An Audi Quattro with snows on all four corners was faster than any of the FWD or RWD cars equipped with studs on all four corners. There was one gentleman (forget his name) who ran with his son. Their times with awd were much faster than with rwd or fwd.
Are they still racing on Newfound Lake? Have to get up there some Sunday. Dave
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On 25 Jan 2004 14:43:57 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comDumbo (Dave LaCourse) wrote:

They're racing today!
http://www.boston-bmwcca.org/events/bulletin.asp?id &1
/daytripper '00 s4 6spd
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Quite the opposite. FWD have more traction than RWD because there is more weight on the driving wheels. In the olds days of RWD cars, we were adding sand of bags to increase traction.

The point here is 'predictability' and easiness to recover in a drifting situation; AWD has no more lateral adhesion at all. As for losing adhesion of the driving wheel, this is what traction control is for. It does 90% of the job right.

AWD is a marketing tool since it is sold on false assumptions that it is safer. Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW, SAAB and Volvo clearly do not believe this. Why would you?

Again confusion between safety and rally performance. Sorry but when there is a snowstrom, it is not the time to play rally on roads.

AWD does *NOT* stand out in Solo racing series. IIRC, it was not a Subaru that won the last season (Integra Type R?) BTW, if it was a WRX Sti, it is already a quicker car than a M3 at the start.
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On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 09:35:18 -0500, JPF

I agree, but what happens in an AWD car if the front or rear wheels lose traction? Exactly the same.

The point is that despite AWD the traction is dependent on the rubber/tarmac combination and not on the drive concept used.
I.e. the tires build up the same traction, so the actual maximum curve speed (for a given curve) is identical.
The only difference is that as soon as acceleration is coming into play (i.e. increasing speed in a curve) the additional force vector is distributed across four wheels. So in fact, if you are at 80% of the maximum friction you can use the 20% of _all_ wheels to accelerate. And that in turn means you can drive higher curve speeds and accelerate harder with an AWD car without flying off.
If you brake during this phase, there is no difference between AWD and 2WD

Depends. You can accelerate harder. If that counts for safety, then so be it.

Why does the A4 1,8T quattor has traction control (ESP) if it would not be needed? You can fly off with every drive train concept.

Could you please argue physically why? I mean really, I am a fan of the quattro drive train for reasons of uphilldriving in snow et al, but why would it be _safer_ (except for obviously this uphill driving ;-)).

Full ack.

I don't want to or even have to convince you because AWD is not a gimmick. It does have it's merits, but in every day driving it's IMO grossly overestimated. I just laid down physics. I might be wrong, but I haven't seen a proof yet for it. And the reason why AWD car's are faster in rallies or ice racing is that they can accelerate harder and much earlier than 2WD. That gives them an advantage on the track.

I would guess it's the 4WD if you ask like that. Yes, why not. Different cars, different setups, different suspension. And yes, the 4WD will give it's share to the better performance.
I just say this is limited to acceleration. Which is an advantage on the track, but does not help you the least bit if you emergency brake on a wet road in a curve. Or even if you brake downhill on a steep road which you travelled up just an hour ago with the quattro.
In that case, 4WD is just plainly no advantage. It does not help, because it's not even engaged.

Oh, the same here. And I personally think extended driving lessons and dedicated training weeks on track (as example) would be very _very_ beneficial.
No doubt.
Regards
Wolfgang
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On Sat, 24 Jan 2004 08:42:54 -0500, "Saintor"

I believe what I want to believe. I also understand the relationship between active and passive safety. Quatrro is active, airbags are passive. Like that. You believe that the extra 110 lbs of h/w for quattro is wasted, fine, stay FWD, RWD or take the bus.
And I don't have the $1M for the MB. The A4 is an expense I can rationalize: safety is my concern.

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Of course, you can believe in pink flying elephants, too.
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*** post for FREE via your newsreader at post.newsfeed.com ***
Saintor wrote:

So tell me: Do you have a religion? A political affiliation?
People tend to believe the craziest things sometimes, and often those beliefs aren't too far off from your pink flying elephants example. Point being, *every* man believes what he wants to believe, almost always including the belief that he's too smart to believe something that's wrong. We all have our pet convictions, and none of us is completely innocent of clinging irrationally to something that's just not true. Any person who thinks he's the exception is deluding himself. So everybody: lighten up.
- Greg Reed
Sig #211: "Convictions are more dangerous to truth than lies."
[F. W. Nietzsche, "Human All-too-Human," 1878]
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Richard,
I drove BMW's for over 15 years, and I can attest to your comment on "too much dough". They are nice cars, but I just could not justify the expense. I purchased a new '00 A4 1.8tq with all the options and could not be happier. I've owned it since new, and this is the first year that I've driven it in the snow. (only had the Dunlop 8000E's on it till now). It's great in the snow, and in 4 years and 38K miles, it's only needed regular service. I'm ready for another, and as much as I want to like the new BMW's, I just can't. So I'm hoping that the new A6 will appeal to me(as I want to move up to that class of car over the A4). Anyway, good luck on your purchase.
Glenn
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