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Known for producing some of the most stylish cars in the world, Audi continuously innovates its vehicles in terms of luxury and technology.
Their top-notch safety is also one of the main reasons people buy Audis. They are considered to be among the safest cars on the road.
When it comes to driving in snow, however, are Audis as good as they are made out to be? Let’s find out.
So, are Audis good in the snow?
Audis are great in the snow, particularly those equiped with ‘quattro’ all-wheel-drive. They benefit from outstanding traction, even in the most challenging icy conditions, thanks to a combination of adjustable suspension and cutting-edge driver-assistance technology.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons why Audis are considered to be good in the snow, and how their quattro system works to improve traction in slippery conditions.
We’ll also compare Audis to other popular brands when it comes to driving in the snow.
Why are Audis good in the Snow?
The renowned body stability, superb traction, and top-notch driver assistance technology all combine to make Audis particularly good in the snow. Audis with the famous ‘quattro’ all-wheel-drive system are even better when it comes to icy conditions.
It’s no secret that Audi has always strived to be the best when it comes to safety, and there are several reasons why their cars are good in cold climates.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why Audis are good in the snow in more detail.
Audis are fitted with especially sophisticated chassis that work to improve traction and stability in all weather conditions.
Some Audis are fitted with a chassis design known as the ‘Audi Space Frame’, or ‘ASF’ for short. This chassis has been at the cutting edge of dynamic weight distribution, body stability, and handling since the early ’90s.
Its all aluminum construction reduces body roll and gives its cars a perfect center of gravity, along with 50:50 weight distribution.
This is important in snowy conditions to prevent any of the wheels losing contact with the road thanks to a sudden shift in weight while cornering.
quattro All-Wheel-Drive System
Audi first launched its ‘quattro’ all-wheel-drive (AWD) system in the early ’80s, and it quickly rose to fame.
The setup was introduced to give Audi a shot at winning the World Rally Championship, which they duly did, and the Audi Quattro S1 and S2 subsequently became the legends of the sport.
The quattro nameplate has since been used for the AWD system in Audi vehicles, and has gone through various technological and mechanical upgrades over time.
Competitors in the World Rally Championship have to endure some of the most difficult conditions imaginable, including snow, and the quattro system was specifically designed to handle all of them.
The latest quattro system is now standard on the vast majority of new Audi models, and is one of the top reasons that Audis are so good to drive in the snow.
In fact, quattro-equiped Audis are the perfect vehicles to tackle snowy conditions.
Its intelligent sensors constantly monitor how much grip the tires have, and automatically adjust power distribution to compensate for any loss in traction.
It’s one of the most technologically advanced all-wheel-drive systems in the industry, and driving a quattro means that you can enjoy greater stability, grip, and confidence when driving on snow-covered roads.
Traction control is an extremely important system when it comes to driving in the snow, and Audi’s traction control system is one of the best around.
Working hand-in-hand with the quattro system, traction control prevents the wheels from spinning when accelerating from a standing start, or when accelerating hard on low-traction surfaces.
When it snows, there is typically far less grip available than in normal conditions, so the traction control has to work overtime to keep the wheels from slipping and sending the car into a slide.
Audi’s traction control system is extremely effective, and helps to keep their cars stable and under control when driving in freezing weather.
Interestingly, there are some situations where the driver may want to switch off the traction control, or at least turn it down to its minimum setting. For example, getting stuck in the snow.
While the traction control system will prevent the wheels from spinning, it will also prevent them from digging into the snow when stuck. Switching it off allows more wheelspin, which can help to get you out of a sticky situation.
Adaptive Damper Control Suspension
Many Audis are equipped with adaptive suspension. Ordinarily this means that the car can respond to potholes and undulations in the road to offer a comfortable, smooth ride.
Another benefit of this suspension is height adjustment, which allows the driver increase or decrease the height of the car based on the terrain and conditions.
In snowy conditions, a higher ride height is always advisable to avoid getting stuck, and Audis have several pre-programmed suspension settings that can be selected depending on road conditions.
How do Audis compare to other cars in the Snow?
Based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews from Audi owners living in snowy climates, along with the credentials of Audi’s famed quattro system, we can conclude that Audi produces the best road cars for driving in the snow.
We trawled owner reviews on car forums and on Reddit to find real-world examples of how Audi and its competitors fare in the snow. To summarise our findings:
- Audis with the quattro all-wheel-drive system fitted are far superior to those without
- Audi drivers are more confident in the snow than drivers of other car brands
- An Audi fitted with winter tires combined with a quattro system is pretty much unbeatable in the snow
- Some Audi owners look forward to winter just so they can take their cars out and enjoy the snow
But what about Audi’s competitors? Luxury segment competitors such as BMW and Mercedes have certainly upped their games in recent years, with BMW’s ‘xDrive’ system and Mercedes’ ‘4Matic’ system both offering impressive all-wheel-drive performance.
Another big competitor in the all-wheel-drive market is Subaru. The Japanese brand has been making all-wheel-drive cars for decades, and their vehicles are often lauded for their excellent snow performance.
Some of Audi’s competitors are innovating in the space, particularly with their SUVs. The Mercedes GLS, for instance, comes with a feature called “dancing car”. This bounces the car up and down to free itself from tricky situations, and is the perfect tool to have if you find yourself stuck in the snow.
But we prefer to stick to prevention rather than cure; it’s best to avoid getting stuck in the first place!
Overall, we found that all three of these competitors receive positive feedback for snow performance, with Subaru the closest to matching Audi’s performance.
And of course, a Subaru is a much cheaper way of getting about in the snow than an Audi.
The general consensus seems to be that, while all three manufacturers offer excellent traction in the snow, Audi’s quattro system remains the best of the bunch when it comes to cold weather performance.
The reputation that Audi has built for itself is well deserved, and it’s not only owner reviews that support this. Studies by various motoring journals and YouTube channels have all come to the same conclusion.
Which Audi is Best in the Snow?
The Audi A4 Allroad is the best Audi for driving in the snow thanks to its superb quattro all-wheel-drive system, its adaptive damping suspension, and its raised ride height in comparison to the regular A4. It also has less weight than Audi SUVs, so it’s easier to control in the snow.
The A4 Allroad has 23mm of additional suspension travel, along with a handful of other features that give it a tasteful off-road appearance while retaining the practicality of a wagon.
I’m sure many of you would have expected us to choose one of Audi’s ‘Q’ series SUV models as the perfect car for driving in the snow, and it’s true that they do offer better ground clearance and the same all-wheel-drive perks of an A4 Allroad.
However, the reason the Allroad outperforms Audi’s SUV range in the snow is thanks to its lighter weight and superior handling.
The Q7 in particular is a very heavy car, and trying to slow down or change direction quickly in the snow can be a challenge.
The Allroad, on the other hand, is much more agile and easier to control in slippery conditions, while offering enough space in the back for your shovel and snow chains in case you do get stuck!
Tips for driving an Audi in the snow
No matter how well-equipped your Audi may be for treacherous conditions, it’s still best to take appropriate precautions to ensure you reach your destination safely.
Here are a few tips that might come in handy:
- If you regularly experience snow over winter, consider switching your all-season tires for winter tires. This is the biggest step you can take to improve your traction in the snow.
- Ensure the tires are properly inflated and set to the correct pressures before you set out on your journey.
- If the snow cover is particularly thick, pack warm clothing, snow chains, a shovel, a flashlight, and a tow-rope in case you get stuck. Also make sure your cell phone battery is fully charged.
- Keep the quattro system engaged when driving.
- Don’t accelerate too hard, or apply the brakes abruptly.
Snow and ice are the most challenging conditions to drive in, so always drive slowly and calmly without sharp inputs.
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to tackle the snow in your Audi!
Audis are some of the best cars you can buy for driving in the snow, but as with any car, it’s important to take the appropriate precautions.
To summarize our findings:
- Audis fitted with the company’s renowned ‘quattro’ all-wheel-drive system perform very well in the snow.
- Features such as active damper control suspension and advanced traction control make Audis even more capable in the snow.
- When compared to other vehicles, Audis offer superior snow performance.
- Subarus are a good budget alternative, but can’t match the performance of Audi quattro.
- The Audi A4 Allroad is the best Audi for snowy conditions thanks to its higher ride height and off-road focused features.
Whichever Audi you choose, make sure it’s quattro-equiped if you’re going to be regularly driving in the snow. Audi is the world leader in AWD technology, and you can’t go wrong far wrong with one if you drive according to the conditions.