Getrag aims to be an awd specialist

Cologne, Germany. Transmission specialist Getrag plans to launch its new Twinster all-wheel-drive system within three years.

Getrag created Twinster because it wants to be seen as an awd specialist, not just a manufacturer of transmissions.

Werner Hoffmann, managing director of Driveline Systems, a Getrag subsidiary, believes that a market launch in 2007 is possible.

By then, winter tests of the new system and stability program tuning will be completed.

Getrag already manufactures awd systems in Koeping, Sweden, for Volvo.

The Twinster system uses two independent electronically-controlled multidisc wet clutches to transmit power to the front wheels. That means that the differential on the front axle and the center differential no longer apply.

"Our aim is to increase the dynamics through calculated distribution of propulsion torques," said Hoffmann.

Driveline Systems was responsible for engineering the system. Its engineers did not set themselves an easy task as they chose to use the Mini Cooper as the test vehicle.

"This car already has very high driving dynamics and it was a challenge to integrate the all-wheel system," Hoffmann said.

Getrag's engineers managed to build an all-wheel-drive system in the Mini that weighs almost 80 kilograms without raising clearance height or modifying the body platform.

The system has a permanent torque flow to the rear axle while the front wheels can be individually supplied with traction power by the two wet clutches.

Getrag also designed electronic control of the couplings, which is the key to higher driving dynamics.

The system works differently than ESP. While ESP stabilizes a car through calculated brake intervention, Twinster stabilizes it through specific torque distribution.

Said Hoffman: "ESP is for people who like using the brakes, Twinster is for active drivers."

Getrag is negotiating with several automakers interested in Twinster, which it developed over the past 12 months.

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