It’s cold on the East Coast. Like, really cold. We’re in Florida, the state that’s supposed to stay frost free, and this past Friday morning, Feb. 20, had a wind chill of 29 degrees thanks to what the Weather Channel calls the “Siberian Express.”
So, that means the roads are still stuck in winter-weather-mode, and your car needs to be, too. Though we’re in Florida now, decades were cumulatively spent by our staff living north of the Mason Dixon, in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and so on and so forth.
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So trust us when we say that nothing can quite come close to the added grip of snow tires, but without all-wheel drive, those snow tires won’t do much to help your car stick to the road. But just because a car has good grip doesn’t mean it can’t be good looking. In fact, there are quite a few models that are just as comfortable topless in summer as they are on ice in the winter.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of our 10 Best AWD Sports Cars with that all-too-necessary drivetrain. Can you think of any others that we might have missed? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
Not only does this AWD coupe from Jaguar have a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds with a limited top speed of 186 mph, but it was the car used to test the crucial communications systems for the Bloodhound SSC Land Speed Record attempt. It was able to hit top speed while flying across the slippery sands of South Africa’s Hakskeen Pan desert, successfully confirming that the communications systems will, indeed, function at a speed of 1,000 mph. Click here to read more about this.
When the potent AWD drivetrain option is combined with the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) systems in the 911 Carrera 4 GTS, you’re driving a car that is nearly impossible to push off course. If traction is at all compromised, PSM is able to initiate braking interventions one wheel at a time to better stabilize the car.
An electronically controlled AWD system in the GT-R offers something few AWD drivetrains can. Traditionally, AWD splits torque 50/50 between the front and rear wheels, but in the GT-R, 100 percent of the torque is available to the rear, while the front has access to 50 percent. This means you can trust in the AWD when hitting slippery spots, but can also enjoy a rear-wheel drive feeling on drier days.
The Aventador comes with three separate drive modes to choose from, Strada, Sport or Corsa, and each has a different way of employing AWD. Strada will keep understeering light, while Corsa pushes power to the front to pull you through tight corners and turns.
Not only does the Model S P85D create 691 hp and have a faster 0-60 mph time than a McLaren F1, 3.2 seconds, but its AWD system keeps the electric car glued to the ground. The second motor added behind the front axle provides both the power and the new drivetrain, as well as 687 lb-ft of torque.
Audi quattro (1980)
Though it might not appear to be much from the outside, when the Audi quattro was introduced at the 1980 Geneva International Motor Show, it was the first to bring an AWD drivetrain to the world of mainstream and supercar production models. Without the quattro, it’s possible none of the cars on this list would be here. And now, Audi is looking to resurrect the quattro.
The Audi R8 is developed and produced entirely by quattro GmbH, the high performance private subsidiary of Audi AG. The name “quattro,” Italian for “four,” comes from the 1980 Audi Quattro, or the Ur-Quattro, which was the first to introduce AWD to the mass market. But while the Quattro was the first to offer Audi’s quattro drivetrain, the R8 is the impressive result of 35 years of development.
It’s the latest hypercar from one of history’s most successful automotive brands. It’s a hybrid. It has a 4.6-liter 8 cylinder thatproduces 887 hp and 944 lb-ft. And it has an AWD option, as well as front-wheel and rear-wheel drive modes. There isn’t anything about this car that lends itself to an ordinary driving experience, only an extraordinary one.
To keep the power of the Veyron’s massive engine under control and manageable, it was necessary to go with an AWD set up capable of splitting torque based upon driving conditions. Both the front and rear wheels can have anywhere between 0 and 100 percent of the torque split to them depending on speed and other factors.
When Bentley puts “Speed” in the car’s name, you know it’s a car capable of hitting some insane numbers. The Continental GT Speed is capable of reaching 206 mph, which means its drivetrain needs to be prepared to adjust itself and keep all four tires on the road. The AWD is able to split torque as needed, but usually sits at 40 percent for the front and 60 percent for the rear. The front can be increased to a maximum of 65 percent, while the rear can jump up to 85 percent.