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No holds barred

Audi quattro:

it´s more than just a technology

They say there´s no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. For drivers, there´s no such thing as bad conditions, either. As long as quattro is on board.

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Nowadays, nobody looks out the window to see what the weather is like. According to statistics, we’re much more likely to check our smartphones. Doppler radar, percentage of precipitation, satellite maps: The information we can access is getting more complex all the time. To hear the experts tell it, the pre-installed apps today’s phones come with are usually not that accurate. So it’s probably worth checking out one of over 500 available weather apps.

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Audi Magazine Spotify playlist quattro
No holds barred

  • Marvin Gaye – Sunny
  • Angie Stone – Snowfl akes
  • Coldcut – Autumn Leaves
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Snow (Hey Oh)
  • The Supremes – Bad Weather (Single Version)
  • Robin Schulz feat. Akon – Heatwave
  • Madonna – Frozen
  • Oran Juice Jones – The Rain
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer in the City (Remastered)
  • Flight Facilities feat. Reggie Watts – Sunshine
  • Kavinsky – Blizzard
  • Nina Simone – Here Comes the Sun (Remastered)
  • Flash and the Pan – Walking in the Rain
  • Klangkarussell feat. Will Heard – Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine)
  • America – A Horse With No Name
  • Anoraak – Long Hot Summer Night
  • Eurythmics – Here Comes The Rain Again (Remastered Version)
  • DJ Zky & Fritz Kalkbrenner – Stormy Weather (Original Mix)
  • Jamiroquai – Canned Heat
  • Nathalie Saba – Snow
  • Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Heatwave

 

This link will take you to the Spotify playlist. To listen, first set up a free user profile. It’s worth it! Look for additional Spotify playlists in future issues of Audi Magazine.

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Weather forecasts are a science unto themselves. Take Germany, for instance. The German Meteorological Service (DWD) alone gathers data from 11,000 stations, 1,400 weather balloons, countless buoys, satellites, ships and planes. That adds up to 20 million items of information bombarding the DWD’s central computer system every day. It takes data from the entire northern hemisphere to compile a rough weather map of Germany. Today, 24-hour forecasts are about 90 percent accurate.

There aren’t many things people get as worked up about as the weather. And there aren’t many topics everyone can argue about at such length. The weather affects our feelings and moods, for the better or for the worse. It can put paid to the best-laid plans or turn a trip into an adventure.

 

If you took all the rain that falls all over our planet in one year, it would total around 500,000 cubic kilometers water on average. That’s 500 quadrillion liters — written out, that would be a five followed by 17 zeros. Some places get more of it than others, of course. Mount Waialeale on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, for example, experiences virtually nonstop precipitation and is considered the wettest spot on Earth. The place with the least rain — the yang to Hawaii’s yin, so to speak — happens not to be in a desert, as you would probably assume. In fact, the driest place on the planet is in Antarctica. With their special geographic and topographic features, some of the areas known as dry valleys have been ice-free for millions of years. No snow, hail or any other form of precipitation ever falls there. The landscape is dominated by icy winds whipping through at up to 320 kilometers an hour and temperatures below –50°C. Conditions nearly as extreme can be found in Chile’s Atacama Desert, which contains areas where not a drop has fallen in living memory; the average annual rainfall amounts to 0.1 millimeters. Germany typically gets 750 liters per square meter each year.

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During the meteorological winter, blizzards can hit suddenly — like, well, a blitz. They form when cold arctic air moves south and meets warm, moisture-laden air masses. These storms happen mainly in Canada and the northeastern region of the US, as there are no protective mountain ranges running east to west between the two weather extremes. When the air masses collide, the result is massive snowfall accompanied by severe, icy winds.

Top speed: 29 kilometers per hour. That’s as fast as a raindrop can fall. Of course, clouds often pass overhead without producing any precipitation. Statistically speaking, 40,000 cubic kilometers of water float overhead in the form of clouds every year without any of it coming down. When it does rain and the drops hit cold asphalt, for example, the water turns to ice. In early winter, that only happens when temperatures have been well below freezing for quite some time, as it takes a while for the roads to get cold enough. In the dead of winter, however, this may also happen when temperatures are above freezing. Incidentally, snowflakes float gently to the ground at just 4 kilometers per hour. More or less.

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Before people had modern technology at their disposal, the weather belonged to the realm of spirituality. Incantations, dances and prayer were employed to make rain fall, or make it stop elsewhere. From Adad in Mesopotamia to Chaac, the Mayan god of rain, thunder and fertility, rain deities played key roles in the world’s ancient cultures.

All that data can be derived from statistics. And calculated and projected. But rain, snow and dry weather don’t always behave according to statistics. The weather is erratic, full of variables and subject to whims. We keep trying harder, gathering ever more data — and we are getting better at it. We have come a long way from rain dances to weather satellites. Today, the weather apps on our smartphones tell us how the weather is, was and will be, anywhere and any time. We have weather balloons, radar, computers and empirical values. Yet to a certain extent, forecasts still remain a matter of chance. Blizzards, those dreaded snow storms in North America, occur suddenly and often with little warning. Thunderstorms, which are frequently accompanied by torrential rain or hail, can brew so quickly that we have just a few hours’ advance notice.

480Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI quattro
The completely new drive train in the latest Audi Q7 is much slimmer than its counterpart in the previous model. It has shaved 20 kilos off its weight. A new center differential replacing the previous transfer box is integrated into the eight-speed tiptronic.

For such events, it’s good to know this: Thanks to all-wheeldrive technology, even the smallest Audi can be equipped to handle the elements. Because quattro drive is available for all the models with four rings — from the Audi S1 to the Audi A8, from the Audi Q3 to the Audi Q7, from the Audi TT to the sporty spearhead, the Audi R8 V10 plus. A total of 6,000 times per minute, quattro checks and calculates all the physical parameters relevant to driving while it processes information from 121 power control units. It regulates the distribution of power to the four wheels within one one-hundredth of a second — between the axles and, if equipped with the Audi sport differential, also between the rear-axle wheels. With the Audi e-tron quattro concept, recently presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show close to series production, Audi is also driving the e-tron quattro idea forward. This couples the benefits of quattro drive with the potential of electromobility.

 


All these models share a technology that delivers a high degree of agility, dynamics, safety and traction, even under tough conditions — whether on gravel roads in Tuscany, on snow-covered Alpine passes, through cloudbursts on the highway or on city cobblestones. Like we said: no holds barred.

 

 

Patrick Morda (text), Anke Luckmann (photos)

More on the topic:
Audi has been driving quattro technology forward for 35 years. With over seven million models produced featuring quattro technology, Audi is the world’s most successful premium manufacturer of vehicles equipped with permanent all-wheel drive. And in the Audi lunar quattro (page 26 in this issue), quattro may soon hit the moon.

  • Audi R8 V10 plus Coupé fuel consumption urban/extra-urban/combined (in l/100 km): 

17.5/9.3/12.3. CO₂ emissions combined (in g/km): 185-145.

 

  • Audi Audi A6 allroad quattro fuel consumption urban/extra-urban/combined (in l/100 km): 

10.1-6.0/6.7-5.2/8.0-5.5; CO₂ emissions combined (in g/km): 287. Where stated in ranges, fuel consumption, CO₂ emissions and efficiency classes depend on tires/wheels used.

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