German luxury maker Audi will soon offer a range of new high-tech driving technologies including four-wheel steering and possibly a new electric iteration of its quattro all-wheel drive system.
The Audi Prologue coupe concept debuted technology such as four-wheel steering – which is also seen on Volkswagen Group products such as the Porsche 911 GT3 – and Audi’s chief technical officer professor Ulrich Hackenberg told CarAdvice at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show that technology will be a mainstream addition to the brand’s line-up in years to come.
“Four-wheel steering will be quite a normal technical feature for premium future cars. It will be offered in most of the cars in the future,” Hackenberg said.
“If you have the steering system, then you have two situations – one is to increase the stability, you need very small angles; and one is to increase parkability, so you need bigger angles then you have around four to five degrees for parking situations. But for stability, it’s only a very small angle,” he said.
Hackenberg also explained that all-wheel drive systems can yield further CO2 reductions, and one such example is a new version of quattro with axle decoupling and a level of hybridisation.
“We are working very intensively to bring the four-wheel drive in to our program of CO2 emission reductions,” Hackenberg said.
“So in the future we will have a four-wheel drive range which are controllable, which we, for example, can use by situation, by demand, on the mechanical side but also on the electrical side.
“We will have disconnection, we will have specific connection based by the situation, so that means we will use the four-wheel tension whenever it makes sense. And if it doesn’t make sense, then we will go CO2-oriented,” he said.
“Based on electromechanical system, where we are also to have an inference on the single wheel; but also an electronic or electric systems where we have a specific electric motor in the rear or in the front in addition to the combustion engine,” he divulged, hinting at new future production models with electric quattro all-wheel-drive systems.
Using more electric components rather than heavy hardware also allows weight reduction, something Hackenberg describes as a “core competency” for the Volkswagen Group in its aim to cut emissions over the coming years.
“We are quite far to optimise that, and to go beyond the next target,” he said, before confirming that the systems can become “even lighter”.