Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson 21 days ago 11
DIY

What's The Better AWD System: Audi Quattro Or BMW xDrive?

In tricky conditions, which of these arch-rival system works the best? Tyre Reviews decided to investigate

Remind me later

Audi Quattro and BMW xDrive might just be the two biggest names in the world of all-wheel drive systems. But when the going gets slippy, which setup are you better off with?

YouTube’s favourite rubber expert Tyre Reviews decided to find out, by testing an Audi A4 against an example of the outgoing F30 BMW 3-series at the ‘White Hell’ test centre in Ivalo, Finland. To spice things up, there’s an all-wheel drive Jaguar XE in the mix. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta is used as a control tyre, to make sure the results are all about the AWD systems rather than the boots.

Audi - What's The Better AWD System: Audi Quattro Or BMW xDrive? - DIY

Where it gets a little complicated is the Quattro name - these days it’s merely a brand that’s used for several different systems. In the case of the A4 seen here, it uses the Quattro Ultra system. This forgoes the Torsen centre differential usually seen in Audi products with longitudinally-mounted engines, opting instead for an electronically-controlled clutch pack.

The system operates similarly to modern transverse Quattro-branded cars - which use Haldex-type differentials - only powering the rear wheels when necessary. This saves fuel when front-wheel drive is sufficient, but is just as capable as ye olde Quattro when the rear axle comes into play, Audi claims.

Audi - What's The Better AWD System: Audi Quattro Or BMW xDrive? - DIY

The cars are put through their paces on a snow handling course, on an iced-over straight, and a snowy hill. Give the video a watch to see how they compare.