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    Thread: Audi quattro vs. Subaru Symmetrical-AWD

    1. Banned seadoo2006's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 03:50 PM #1
      So, we've finally started to get snow here in Ohio ... which is rather unsettling that until today, we had no measurable snow accumulation this year. Anyways, as an owner of both a Subaru AND an Audi, I'm always amused that these two companies never seem to go head to head in any AWD comparo's.

      I can find ones where Subaru obviously trounces on their competition,



      and I can find ones where Audi kills their competition,



      but I can never find any comparos where the two systems go head to head. That bothers me. They are both, arguably, the best AWD cars on the road, yet nobody seems to ever pit them head to head. The closest I've gotten is this Acura SH-AWD comparo where it highlights the drawbacks to Audi's reluctance to put mechanical LSDs in their cars. As such, this video shows when one side of the car has zero traction, how the quattro basically becomes useless. As my Subaru came with a rear LSD, in this scenario, it would've pulled ahead on the slope test.



      Anyways, the question is, does anyone know of any videos or magazine articles that pit Audi and Subaru against each other in snow/ice conditions?

    2. Banned SaagPaneer's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 03:55 PM #2
      I forsee this thread turning into a ****show

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      12-27-2011 03:58 PM #3
      I believe it goes something like this. Subaru vehicles have nowhere near the stellar interiors and brand prestige as an Audi so who cares. Audi complex AWD system will be more reliable long term than Acura complex AWD system. The end.

    4. Member RussWheeler's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 03:58 PM #4
      I often wonder, and this is a big wonder, if that someone had piles of time money and tools on their hand, they could take 2 Audis and 2 subarus...keep 1 of each stock, and in the other two, swap the AWD systems...then have some fancy drivers test all the cars blindly and see if anyone could tell the difference..


      point #2 not all quattro is created equally.


      and finally, before this turns into poo flinging, how about we post as many AWD test videos in action, winter driving is interest to me, I love anything to do with snow tires, AWD, 4wd, etc.

    5. Banned seadoo2006's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 03:59 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      I believe it goes something like this. Subaru vehicles have nowhere near the stellar interiors and brand prestige as an Audi so who cares. Audi complex AWD system will be more reliable long term than Acura complex AWD system. The end.
      I'm just looking for a direct Audi vs. Subaru comparo because I have not, as of yet, found any dirct comparisons against each other ... I could give a rat's ass about Acura ... lol

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      12-27-2011 04:00 PM #6
      I think what were seeing is both of these brands have spent so much of their money and marketing revolving their brands around an AWD system

    7. Banned seadoo2006's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 04:01 PM #7
      Oh, and just so I'm clear that I'm not biased in any way, these are the two cars I own:




    8. Member RussWheeler's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 04:04 PM #8
      Well, you obviously have a camera, and the two cars, why don't you do a test yourself and post it!

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      12-27-2011 04:04 PM #9
      As an owner of both... which do YOU find superior?
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    10. Banned seadoo2006's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 04:07 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by 89VWdieselGolf View Post
      As an owner of both... which do YOU find superior?
      I've gotten neither stuck ... so, I suppose that's something. But, in all seriousness, I don't have any of the traction machines or setups they are talking about in any of these videos. I was just wondering why, since both companies like to flout their relative superiority, nobody has ever thought to put them head to head or at least include one or the other in a comparison?

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      12-27-2011 04:07 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by RussWheeler View Post
      Well, you obviously have a camera, and the two cars, why don't you do a test yourself and post it!
      Came to post this.

      Report back w/ findings, OP.
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      12-27-2011 04:08 PM #12
      I remember back in the day when BMW did a demo of X-drive vs Quattro on one of those roller slopes, but they pulled the ABS fuse from the Audi demo car so the ESP didn't work right and of course it couldn't get up the ramp. Always take manufacturer videos with a grain of salt. That first video you linked was actually really informative, I liked the technical details and tests they did.

      As far as my experience, I haven't found any situation our A6 couldn't handle, including the 'one side on ice'.

      I've heard that slightly riding the brake can help with torque transfer in AWD systems in mutli wheel spin situations, does anyone have more info on that?

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      12-27-2011 04:23 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Rav_VW View Post
      I've heard that slightly riding the brake can help with torque transfer in AWD systems in mutli wheel spin situations, does anyone have more info on that?
      Correct. The diff/EDL would normally send power to the side with higher resistance (traction). If the low-traction side of the car could only get a little torque (small amount of traction), the higher traction side would get a multiple more torque. Not sure if it's 2x or 4x or whatever.

      However, if you have no traction, a multiple of 0 is still 0. So by applying the brakes, you are increasing resistance, allowing you to distribute some torque to both wheels, which will send power to the opposite wheel (that does have traction) as well.
      Last edited by Shmi; 12-27-2011 at 04:35 PM.
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    14. 12-27-2011 04:33 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Rav_VW View Post
      I've heard that slightly riding the brake can help with torque transfer in AWD systems in mutli wheel spin situations, does anyone have more info on that?
      A similar trick is used by some Jeepers to transfer power across an axle, and I've done it many times with my current Jeep when its rear limited slip diff is overwhelmed due to one tire being in the air. In that case, the difference in resistance is too great for the limited slip to handle; the tire in the air spins freely while the tire on the ground doesn't turn at all. To help transfer power to the tire on the ground, I will apply a healthy amount of parking brake; once the brake-induced resistance of the tire in the air is similar to the ground-induced resistance of the tire on the ground, both tires will turn and I'll regain motion. (This can be a bit tricky with my manual transmission.)

      I would think you could do something similar with AWD, though you'd be using the brake pedal rather than the parking brake handle.
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      12-27-2011 04:35 PM #15
      This is a test C&D or MT should do.

      Get an A4 quattro, CTS4, 3-series xdrive, TL SH-AWD, 4matic Benz, and a Subaru, set them loose on the same snowy/icy courses and see which one does best.

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      12-27-2011 04:39 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Rav_VW View Post
      That first video you linked was actually really informative, I liked the technical details and tests they did.
      That video seemed odd Passat. I thought it was funny that they suggested it was the non-symmetrical drivetrain that caused slip. That seems like a little bit of BS to me.

      Does VW really claim the B6 can drive on one wheel? If so, why did none (front, rear, either side) allow the car to move?
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      12-27-2011 04:46 PM #17
      two completely different systems . . . . . having owned an Audi and a Subaru, my preference is for the transparent and constant operation of the TorSen system in the Audi.
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      12-27-2011 04:48 PM #18
      They test a Passat with 4-Motion. Thats pretty much the same as an A4 or A6 Quattro. So I'd say the test is done.

    19. 12-27-2011 04:48 PM #19
      I think the reasoning is that the two companies are not direct competitors. You don't really cross-shop an A4 and a Legacy. While WE (TCL) would like to see this comparo, it hasn't happened because real world people don't really care.

    20. 12-27-2011 04:48 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by RussWheeler View Post
      point #2 not all quattro is created equally.
      Point #2a: not all Symmetrical AWD is created equally, either.
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      12-27-2011 04:52 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by macosxuser View Post
      They test a Passat with 4-Motion. Thats pretty much the same as an A4 or A6 Quattro. So I'd say the test is done.
      THat was a B6, transverse. Same setup as an R32 or Audi TT.
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      12-27-2011 04:54 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by macosxuser View Post
      They test a Passat with 4-Motion. Thats pretty much the same as an A4 or A6 Quattro. So I'd say the test is done.
      No. B6 Passat 4Motion has a Haldex system versus Torsen.

      The transverse-engine layout of the four-wheel drive version, marketed as 4motion, dictated a switch from the Torsen centre differential of the B5, to the Haldex Traction multi-plate clutch. The change to the Haldex system also changes the handling closer to a front-wheel drive car. Compared to the Torsen, the Haldex can direct torque more unequally to the front wheels (from 100:0 to 50:50 front-to-rear bias), thus providing a wider bias range than the 75:25 to 25:75 of the B5 Passat. Haldex is a reactive-type system, behaving as a front-wheel-drive vehicle until slippage is detected, at which point up to a maximum of 50% of the torque can be transmitted to the rear axle. See the Audi-related quattro (four wheel drive system) article for more information
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Passat

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      12-27-2011 04:59 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by VDub2625 View Post
      THat was a B6, transverse. Same setup as an R32 or Audi TT.
      This. Thanks guys for noticing that. I, too, thought that was it and then remembered the B6 Passats were Haldex-derived. Like the others have said, I was really hoping for a Torsen quattro vs. a S-AWD Subaru (preferably with a rear LSD like the 2.5RS GC8s and the WRXs had).

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      12-27-2011 06:14 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by TurboMinivan View Post
      Point #2a: not all Symmetrical AWD is created equally, either.
      As an auto without rear LSD Subaru owner I will attest to this. Subaru actually has 4 or 5 different systems that they have used in the last decade or so.
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      12-27-2011 07:07 PM #25
      This is posted about twice a year.

      You can tell that in the first video, the ABS/EDL/TC of the Passat was messed with, because the front wheel with traction is not turning. In the Haldex system, the front is permanently driven. In the video with only traction at one (left) front wheel, the rear wheels are spinning. This means that the other (not visible, right) front wheel must be spinning, also. However, EDL/TC prevents that from happening, when it is not disabled.

      In the real world, all of these systems between Subaru and VW/Audi are very capable, with just some nuances different. Additional front and/or rear LSDs are nice in extreme weather, but even Subaru is not offering that any longer on most cars. The reasons is that EDL/TC does a sufficiently good job to transfer torque from side-to-side.

      Under very extreme conditions (ice under 2-3 wheels), Haldex is actually better than a center Torsen (longitudinal engine Audis), because it can lock the back to the front like in a 4WD vehicle. But in real life, such differences will rarely ever be important. On the flip side, Torsen has some dynamic advantages over Haldex.

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      12-27-2011 07:26 PM #26
      Someone posted a video a while back of a German TV show that took an S3 and an STI on a track and they preferred the STI because the AWD wasn't as intrusive.
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      12-27-2011 07:29 PM #27
      Even between Subaru's, the electronic system that comes with the automatic gearboxes are generally regarded as superior compared to the mechanical setup that comes with the manual cars. So like Quattro, not all Subaru AWD systems are created equal.

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      12-27-2011 07:38 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by seadoo2006 View Post

      but I can never find any comparos where the two systems go head to head. That bothers me. They are both, arguably, the best AWD cars on the road, yet nobody seems to ever pit them head to head. The closest I've gotten is this Acura SH-AWD comparo where it highlights the drawbacks to Audi's reluctance to put mechanical LSDs in their cars. As such, this video shows when one side of the car has zero traction, how the quattro basically becomes useless. As my Subaru came with a rear LSD, in this scenario, it would've pulled ahead on the slope test.



      Anyways, the question is, does anyone know of any videos or magazine articles that pit Audi and Subaru against each other in snow/ice conditions?
      There is serious question to this video.

      A Q7 is more than able to transfer torque with tires being completely off the ground. I've done it many times. The EDL system will intervene and apply brakes shifting the torque over.

      A normal Q7 will not allow you to spin the tires that hard before something electronic intervenes.

      Here you can see how the electronics transfer torque between all 4 wheels on my S4.

      Quote Originally Posted by seadoo2006 View Post
      But, in all seriousness, I don't have any of the traction machines or setups they are talking about in any of these videos. I was just wondering why, since both companies like to flout their relative superiority, nobody has ever thought to put them head to head or at least include one or the other in a comparison?
      Neither does anyone else in the real world. Nobody's commute involves frictionless rollers and other contrived setups making these tests nearly useless.

      The weaknesses of any AWD system can be exploited in a calculated test when you're trying to prove something. Real world testing is always better IMO.

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      12-27-2011 07:44 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by Shomegrown View Post
      Neither does anyone else in the real world. Nobody's commute involves frictionless rollers and other contrived setups making these tests nearly useless.

      The weaknesses of any AWD system can be exploited in a calculated test when you're trying to prove something. Real world testing is always better IMO.
      I would say the opposite... tests like this show the end-all capability of the AWD. When compared on an equal level, you can tell which handle the different situations better. I'd like to see a comparison of how each different system works with 1, 2 and 3 wheels with no traction (front and rear for each too).

      THere was a video posted a few weeks ago that showed an off the cuff, non-offical test of several SUVs and wagons going up a hill. Some made it, some didn't. TCL invariably went into a whole feud about how a wet grass hill does not have the same tracion across the whole thing, and some cars had an advantage
      Last edited by VDub2625; 12-27-2011 at 07:56 PM.
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      12-27-2011 07:51 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by jmj View Post
      Someone posted a video a while back of a German TV show that took an S3 and an STI on a track and they preferred the STI because the AWD wasn't as intrusive.
      S3s also have the Haldex quattro system not Torsen..

    31. Member Shomegrown's Avatar
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      12-27-2011 08:04 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by VDub2625 View Post
      I would say the opposite... tests like this show the end-all capability of the AWD.
      Only for that particular situation. Acing that specific test doesn't mean it will also excel in more realistic situations.

      And as I already said, I don't trust that particular test. Something seems amiss.

      I'll take torsen quattro over SH-AWD any day due to mechanical simplicity, lower cost of maintenance, and being a proactive permanent system vs a reactionary part time system.

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      12-27-2011 08:11 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by Shomegrown View Post
      Only for that particular situation. Acing that specific test doesn't mean it will also excel in more realistic situations.

      And as I already said, I don't trust that particular test. Something seems amiss.
      Oh I would not trust any test by a manufacturer, of course. But you only have 4 wheels... there are only so many situations you can encounter. 0 traction on 1/2/3 wheels, while varying front/rear and side/side will definitely provide a comprehensive assessment of the system.
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    33. 12-27-2011 08:11 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by Rav_VW View Post
      I remember back in the day when BMW did a demo of X-drive vs Quattro on one of those roller slopes, but they pulled the ABS fuse from the Audi demo car so the ESP didn't work right and of course it couldn't get up the ramp. Always take manufacturer videos with a grain of salt. That first video you linked was actually really informative, I liked the technical details and tests they did.
      Only problem is that at least some of what they showed, is bunk. I have a particular beef with the claims concerning Subaru's "symmetrical" AWD.

      It's true that unequal-length halfshafts on some transverse-engine layouts can have an effect on torque steer, and I don't dispute this.

      But the bit about the Legacy pulling ahead with one wheel having traction being because of the "symmetrical" layout ... is BUNK. While the car may pull ahead with only one wheel having traction because of the design features of the system is all well and good, it is NOT because of having a "symmetrical layout". It's because of either having a mechanical limited-slip diff, or because electronic intervention is braking the spinning wheel thus transferring torque to the other one through an open diff (and I think this is what they do).

      This has nothing whatsoever to do with the drivetrain being "symmetrical" and the same thing can be done with a transverse engine. It doesn't even need to have all wheel drive.

      In fact, my ordinary front-drive Jetta has "electronic differential lock" and automatically brakes a spinning front wheel ... and it works. From how it's looking outside, I might even be making use of this feature tomorrow morning.

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      12-27-2011 08:14 PM #34
      I mentioned that in my post above. Seemed like a dubious claim that made me question everything else.

      Quote Originally Posted by GoFaster View Post
      In fact, my ordinary front-drive Jetta has "electronic differential lock" and automatically brakes a spinning front wheel ... and it works. From how it's looking outside, I might even be making use of this feature tomorrow morning.
      I miss my Passat that had the ABS with EDL. I felt like I could go anywhere. Because it was tied to ABS, even if the fronts both had low traction, the ABS saw the rear wheels not spinning and braked both of them. I even tried to do a speed test with the front wheels off the ground, the EDL refused to let the wheels go above 10mph, even with the gas floored
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      12-27-2011 08:23 PM #35
      I've had a Bugeye WRX and now an Audi A4. My feeling is this:

      Subaru- Great for sport driving. Heavy RWD bias. Predictable in the snow.

      Audi- Great for safe driving. No real bias. Predictable and boring in the snow.

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