The Audi quattro
The debut of the Audi quattro, known by some as the ur-quattro, at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1980 (it was voted car of the show), marked the culmination of three years of development. The project began in 1977 under the direction of Dr Ferdinand Piech (until recently head of the whole of VAG) using the running gear from the VW Iltis.
The initial plan was to build just 400 for motorsport, but due to strong demand the quattro had to go into full production. The first left hand drive versions were available in the spring of 1981 in the UK, but Right Hand Drive followed in the Autumn of 1982. The first cars are easily identifiable by their twin headlamps, six inch Ronal wheels (seven inch Fuchs as options) and black boot spoilers.
The engine is a turbo charged version of the fuel injected 2144cc 5 cylinder engine which originally produced 200bhp and a massive 210 lbf of torque. This phenomenal power would take the car to 60mph in 6.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 140 mph. This in itself was not revolutionary, the four wheel drive transmission’s ability to provide traction in all conditions meant that the car rewrote the rule book in terms of roadholding and acceleration. To this day there is little that can keep up with a well driven quattro.
The 1984 model year of the car was updated to become the technological showpiece of Audi’s range. It was fitted with advances such as ABS, power steering, electric windows, LCD instrumentation and speech synthesis (although most owners have had this particular feature switched off!).
The cars real reputation however was created on the rally stages. Starting in 1980, Audi revolutionised rallying making the rear wheel drive competition immediately obsolete off tarmac. Audi won the 1982 manufacturers title, in 1983 Hannu Mikkola won the drivers championship and in 1984 Audi won both the drivers (Stig Blomquist) and manufacturers championship. The competition had to build bespoke rally cars under the group B regulations to compete against Audi’s roadcar based machines. Audi eventially withdrew from rallying due to the fatalities that occurred with the now phenomenally fast group B cars. This was not before Audi had competed with the S1 quattro. The last of the S1’s – the Pikes Peak Evolution was a 750bhp monster that set the quickest time with Walter Roehrl at the helm at the 1987 hillclimb.
With the arrival of the MB engined cars Audi took the opportunity to improve the traction available with the addition of a Torsen central differential. This allows an infinitely variable torque split between the front and rear axles. A Torsen equipped car feels notably more able on tight twisting roads where the car will fight to maintain the direction that the driver aims it. For raw original quattro appeal the late MB Torsen diff cars still take some beating.
The ultimate quattro. Audi created 213 of these kevlar monsters to maintain its domination in Group B rallying. These cars are shorter than a regular quattro, and have a 20 valve head on their performance tuned 5 cylinder engine.
The RR prefixed engine code was the final evolution of a car that started out ten years before. It is the most refined edition of the quattro and the extra power that the new engine provided is easily handled by the quattro drive train. The interior was revised and updated and the floorplan remodelled to fit catalyst converters. The front suspension was also modified together with the rear braking system. The car is not in an overly high state of tune as standard, and we can provide a range of tuning accessories to make it considerably quicker. Please see our parts page for details.