[torsen] A4 Quattro - the thinking man's WRX? :-)

Andrew Jackson Andrew.C.Jackson at Halliburton.com
Thu Aug 1 21:00:28 EDT 2002

Hi everybody.

I'm a newbie on the list, so I'll give just a QUICK summary of my
I used to live in England - I'm now in Houston, TX.
In England, I owned a Sierra XR4x4 (= 5 door Merkur, 2.8v6 with awd)
Then I owned a 1991 Audi 90Q 20v
Since coming to Houston I have owned a Cherokee and a Pickup.
Now I NEED to return to my true love: a sporty awd sedan/saloon.

I have a soft spot for Subarus too - so I had pretty much persuaded myself
to get a new 5speed WRX Wagon.

But then I started to read about the awd system on the Manual WRXs ... and,
to be honest, it sounds pretty lame!
It's a viscous diff that prevenst the front and rear axles from rotating at
significantly different speeds.
It bothers me that Subaru only use this system on the 'bottom of the rage'
WRXs. The Manual cars.
The Auto WRXs, and the Stis have a much more sophisticated system.

So, given that Quattro (with the Toresen diff) is something I know and like,
I'm veering back towards getting an A4Q.

BUT - in an attempt to give the WRX a fair chance, I posted to an WRX forum
to see if anybody could explain to me how the WRX system works (beyond the
breif explanation above) - and convince me that it is a good system.  I was
actually quite amazed to find that, although many people replied, it was
clear that many WRX owners really have little idea how their awd system
works.  Basically, they were not able to answe my questions, and were unable
to give me a 'warm and fuzzy' feeling about spending my hard-earned $ on a
lame awd system.

So, in my search for the righteous path, I though I'd see if y'all could
shed more light on the relative merits of Quattro (the torsen system on the
A4) verses the viscous diff on the standard WRX.

Do any of you Audi fans also own WRX's ?
How do you find the the two systems compare ?

My specific concerns include:

1) A comment I read that said the WRX diff will lock under braking (because
it locks when 2 axles turn at different speed ... eg when your front wheels
skid under heavy breaking)

2) Since the viscous fluid is presumbaly very heat-sensitive, how is it
affected by the high ambient temperatures in Houston?

3) In my head, I interpret that the Subaru system will 'force both axles to
rotate at the same speed', whereas Quattro/torsen systsem will 'deliver
power to the wheels/axles that have most grip'.  Although the terminology is
different, do these both amount to exactly the same thing?

MANY MANY thanks!

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