Audi Testing A1 Quattro Prototype in Canada, First Photos

Ever since the presentation of the all-new A1 in early 2010, we have been wondering if and when Audi will introduce its trademark all wheel drive quattro technology that we've come to know as synonymous with the brand to its premium supermini. Well, it appears that this may happen sooner than expected as the Ingolstadt-based automaker revealed that it is currently testing an unmarked A1 quattro prototype on Canada’s densely snow-packed roads.

The German firm stated that the one-off development car is one of the stars of the ‘Fascination of quattro’ event taking place in Montreal to celebrate the past, present and future of the legendary four-wheel-drive system, which reached its 30th anniversary in 2010.

The all-wheel drive technology used on the A1 prototype is very similar to that found in A3 and TT models. At the heart of the system is an electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch located in front of the rear axle. Under normal driving conditions, the clutch sends most of the engine’s power to the front wheels. If the front axle starts losing traction, the clutch can instantly transfer torque to the rear axle by forcing the plate packages together.

Audi's decision to develop an all-wheel drive system for the A1's PQ25 platform, which also underpins the VW Polo, is believed to be linked with the presentation of several new models from the group, including an S1 and possibly and even more powerful RS1 variant, as well as an AWD version of the VW CrossPolo and a range-topping Polo R.

Currently, the most potent model of the A1 series is the front-wheel drive 185HP 1.4 TFSI, which was launched at the Paris Motor Show last September.