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Jalopnik recently enrolled at the Team O’Neil Rally School to test two rally legends’ legendary AWD systems. The snowy test pitted the Audi 4000 S Quattro against a non turbo Subaru Impreza.
The two systems differ, as the the nearly 20 years between them allowed for technology to become much more civilized. As Jalopnik host Raphael Orlove point out, the Audi’s system now seems pretty crude.
Crude, but effective, as this video proves. Although the Audi’s much bemoaned layout—with its engine ahead of the front wheels—means that there is a degree of understeer, with the help of Team O’Neil instructor Wyatt Knox it can be tamed.
Both cars must be driven with momentum in mind in the snow, but according to Knox, the Audi must be man handled. Unlike the delicate Subaru, the Audi demands to be chucked around corners and handled aggressively.
For Orlove, or any regular driver, that means that the car is difficult to handle. Orlove spun the 4000 on his timed lap, spoiling it. For Knox, though, the 20 years makes no difference and the two cars run the school’s ersatz training course in just about the same amount of time.
The two cars, though, are then drag raced up a snowy hill and it’s here that the Audi’s Quattro system really shines. In two drag races the 4000 walks away from the Impreza easily, finding grip where the Subaru simply spins its tires.
The Impreza is doubtless a great car for winter fun, but the crude efficiency of the Quattro makes it the clear winner.