Questions about quattro in audi 80,a3 etc

I'm contamplating moving back from the US to Europe sometime soon and would like to get a car that 1. has permanent AWD 2. Is relatively cheap to operate
So Subaru is out of question (too expensive to maintain where I'm moving to) and I'm thinking about something along the lines of Audi quattro. Was Audi 80 a good car? Is A3 cheap to operate? Does it have quattro?
I'm pretty ignorant about quattro in the 5-10 y.o. audis. What are good readings on this? Is it a symmetrical system like that found on subaru's with a 5SP gearbox? What is the power distribution between the front and rear axels under normal driving conditions?
Does Audi like Subaru require that all tires are of the same circumference? That is, could you run different tires on front and rear wheels?
Thank you.
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On Wed, 11 Feb 2004 15:53:52 -0800, John Opezdol
All 80, 90, 100, A4 and A6 have Quattro with a centre differensial with 50/50 split forward and rear. Older models have possibilty for locking central diff. (for low speed use). Recent models have Torsen type centre diff. This will always distribute a minimum torque to the non slipping pair of wheels (front or rear). The centre diff. will adjust for different wear of tyres front and rear. Towing with with the front or rear end lifted of ground can not be performed over distance without uncoupling the axle to the rear differencial.
Th A3 have the "Golf" system, i.e FW drive with add on RW drive. Slipping front wheels will generate torque to the rear wheels. More easy to drive as the car will always act like a front wheel drive, i.e understeer. Quattro's are described as a bit vague, and can switch from understeer to oversteer. Not that I would now, as I have never driven other than FW Audis. Driving on snow or ice, there has ben no need for quattro, neither in the 80 from 86" or the A6 from 97"
more info can be found at www.audiworld.com
regards
--
Ottar Tverberg
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Ottar said "Quattro's are described as a bit vague, and can switch from understeer to oversteer" - nope! Only had one Quattro, an A6 Avant - fantastic car, and most certainly not vague in any way. No transition between under/over steer, all it ever did was go round corners, very fast, like it was on rails.
The only time it misbehaved was when it went sideways having lost grip on a freshly gravelled road, on a corner. Even then, it just "stepped over", and came back under control easily and safely.
Superb system - reliable too I understand as it's vastly over-engineered.
Mike.
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Well I *do* know, having driven Quattros for over a decade, both on track and off. Quattros aren't 'vague', they're wonderfully *neutral*, at least at higher speeds. They are understeerers at substantially lower speeds (like when I *really* want some power oversteer in an autocross). The 'switch' comes over a fairly wide speed range, so you can be pretty sure what you'll get, depending on your speed, when you push it near its limits. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; drove that)
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Never having spent a day at the track I must ask what do you do to make a quattro audi turn in quicker at lower speeds?

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