Supercars now-a-days are puffed up with lot of technologies to ensure smooth and fun to drive cars, with safety. But what these technologies are all about and what they offer? What is different in these cars from lease cars? Apart from speed, off course!
In this article you will understand what real AWD is and how different German giants implemented proper AWD systems in their supercars. So, let’s understand some basic stuff first, so you don’t get lost in the terminology realm.
What is AWD and drivetrain?
Drivetrain: The components or the system of the vehicle responsible for providing power to the wheels are known as drivetrain.
All-Wheel Drive: AWD essentially means a system in which your car’s engine’s torque is distributed among the entire axle (a rod connecting both wheels either in front or in rear) at the same time. This means your front axle and your rear axle both get the power to push your car forward. This really helps in a following number of ways:
- When roads get wet, tires usually loose their grip on the road and the car becomes a victim of uncontrollable weather. Here AWD shifts the torque to the front or the rear axle, which has the grip with the road, and saves the day.
- When climbing on a steep hill or muddy areas AWD is the key role player, as it can generate power on any axle to push the car forward. This is not the case with 2 wheel drive systems, where only either front wheels push the car or the rear wheels.
- With AWD you get more power right in your hands and you can reverse and accelerate at ease.
With these keeping in mind let’s move to engineering mastered with Quattro, XDrive and 4Matic AWD systems. To keep things simple and understandable, I will only be touching the surface of these systems, as it can get very complicated if we dive to the knowhow of these technologies.
Audi implemented its All-Wheel drive system in a family car and from here, they started a revolution for AWD systems back in 1980s. In its basic configuration Quattro splits the power in a 50:50 ratio, means 50% of the total torque produced will be on each front and rear axles.
Quattro implement this with its differential gears which are nothing but a set of mechanical differential rings which sense the wheels motion, if the motion of the wheel on any axle loses grip it is sensed and locked by the differential gear. Thus, transferring power to the other axle, this maintains balance and grip at the same time.
BMW was not behind in its schedule to bring its Xdrive system in its BMW series. Xdrive is a permanent AWD which, in its basic configuration, it splits power in 40:60 ratio. Here Xdrive is rear axle biased, provided more power to the rear wheels ensures more thrill and sporty drive.
Unlike mechanical locks in Quattro, Xdrive system uses electronic sensing or you can say a computer is continuously monitoring the motion of the wheels and when in need it can send power to any one axle in 0.01 second, that’s something really quick. The power delivery can go from 0 to 100% on any axle
It would had been a shame if Mercedes did nothing and used their AWD systems, So here comes 4matic AWD, which works almost same like BMW’s Xdrive but splits 45:55 in its basic configuration. So, we get one more rear biased systems.
Motion and grip sensing is done electronically, in the same way as Xdrive did in BMW. The advancement in 4matic is that it works with your car’s ABS (Anti-Braking system) and ESP (Electronic Stability Program).
Well, who’s the chosen one?
Unfortunately, prophesy says nothing at all about this, It’s not a valid question here either, because these three can knock out each other almost in every aspect. 4matic is less popular here, not because it’s not good but because it came later. It all depends on your choice of brand, whether you are a fan of Audi, love BMW or married to Benz series, they all are good.
As the advancement in technology, all these systems are coming with finest engineering touches today. So, just choosing a car on the basis of AWD system it implements does not make any sense.
What Automen recommends?
Now if you want us to choose a winner over all (which is 99.99% impossible, in theory) then we recommend XDrive here, forgive us the legendary Quattro.
This 0.01 second timing of power delivery in XDrive sets it apart from rest, after we tested and analyzed in practical for our customers, we found out BMW’s response to the output delivery is too quick and this is the whole idea behind AWDs, right? To shift power to the right axle at the exact right moment.
Again, the choice to choose a car depends on number of factors, these AWD are all too good to compare but we did as you left us with no choice!