Audi Quattro: A Beginning of New Technology

In the realm of rally racing, the Audi Quattro stands as an indomitable icon, leaving an indelible mark on the sport's history.

Table of Contents


Audi Quattro 1

The Audi Quattro is a legendary car known for its impressive performance and iconic all-wheel drive system. The Audi Quattro revolutionized the automotive industry, providing enhanced traction and stability in various driving conditions. With its quick power output and precise handling, the Audi Quattro has earned a reputation for being a thrilling and sophisticated ride. It’s a car that enthusiasts admire.

History and Trims of Audi Quattro

Audi Quattro 2

The history of the Audi Quattro is quite fascinating. It all started in the 1980s when Audi introduced the original Audi Quattro, a game-changer in the world of rallying. This was the first production car to feature a permanent all-wheel drive system named Audi‘s quattro permanent four-wheel drive system mated with a turbocharged engine- available for the European market at first, which gave it exceptional grip and handling on various terrains. The Audi Quattro quickly became a dominant force in the World Rally Championship, winning multiple championships and capturing the hearts of motorsport enthusiasts. Its success on the rally stages helped solidify Audi’s reputation for engineering excellence and innovation. Over the years, Audi continued to refine and evolve the Quattro technology, incorporating it into their road-going models. The legacy of the Audi Quattro lives on, as it continues to be a symbol of Audi’s commitment to performance and innovation. It’s truly a remarkable piece of automotive history.

MotorSport Variants of Audi Quattro:

Audi Quattro- A1 and A2 Evolutions

Audi Quattro A1 evolution

The Quattro A1 and A2 were two examples of Quattro competition cars. Mainly built on the body shell of the road-going Quattro models, they were infused with the DNA of Group B rally cars. The Quattro A1 and A2 had dynamic turbocharged inline-5 cylinder engines that would produce 350 horsepower, which helped Audi win major rally competitions and titles after debuting in the 1983 WRC season. 

Sport Quattro S1 

Audi Quattro S1

The Sport Quattro S1 variant’s development purpose was to fulfill Homologation for Group B Rallying Cars. It was developed in 1984 and was in the market in very limited numbers. It had a 2.1-liter turbocharged inline-5 engine supported by Bosch LH Jetronic fuel injection. The road-going model of the Sport Quattro S1 would produce 302 hp and 350 Nm of torque, while the competition model would produce an astonishing 444 hp, making it go from 0-60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. This variant had wider wheels and wheel arches than the standard Quattro model. More features included a steeper windscreen and a shorter wheelbase. The Sport Quattro S1 won major titles, including the 1985 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Sport Quattro S1 E2

Sport Quattro S1 E2

Unveiled at the end of 1985, the Sport Quattro S1 E2 was an updated version of the previously discussed Sport Quattro S1. It had the same 2.1-liter turbocharged inline-5 engine, but this time, Audi tweaked it by reducing turbo lag, making the S1 E2 faster than the S1. The Sport Quattro S1 E2 then produced “the officially quoted” power output of 473 hp, but the actual power output figure was an astounding 493 hp, and the final S1 E2 models that left the factory in 1986 were rated at 592 hp. In addition to all this wild power output perspective, the Sport Quattro S1 E2 had an aggressive styling. An aerodynamic kit, unique wings, and spoilers at the front and the back of the S1 E2 would increase downforce and give wild stability. The Sport Quattro S1 E2 won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1987.

Performance, Engine & Transmission of Audi Quattro

Audi Quattro engine

The Audi Quattro models are remembered for their aggressive power output. Under the hood, the Quattro offered three engine options. Initially, the engine was a 2.1-liter turbocharged inline-5, which generated 197 hp and 285 Nm of torque, shooting the Quattro from 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds and providing a top speed of over 137 mph. The rally version would produce 302 hp and 350 Nm of torque. 

Then comes the 2.2-liter turbocharged inline-5 engine, given a 10-valve DOHC setup producing the same 197 hp. This 2.2-liter turbocharged inline-5 was further modified in 1989 and given a 20-valve DOHC setup, making it capable of producing 217 hp. The top speed was also raised to 143 mph. The transmission was a 5-speed manual with a Quattro all-wheel drive system.

Drive of the Audi Quattro

Audi Quattro drive

The drive handling and stability of Audi Quattro models are fantastic! The Quattro all-wheel drive system plays a big role in enhancing the overall driving experience. It helps provide excellent traction and stability, especially in challenging road conditions like rain, snow, or uneven surfaces, ensuring optimal grip and control. With a solid chassis and a friendly clutch, the Quattro pulls away nicely and corners like a dream. Deceleration and control of the Audi Quattro are ensured with its strong and precise brakes and early-generation ABS. According to Car Magazine, the steering feels numb and slow in response. Its small size makes it very practical in the city as driving through the streets is carefree and easy.   

Exterior & Interior of Audi Quattro


Audi Quattro 4

The Audi Quattro’s exterior is all about sleekness, sophistication, and a touch of sportiness. The Audi Quattro boasts a design that exudes elegance and modernity. Its conventional and no-hassle design turns heads wherever it goes. It is a modestly sized car with straight, sharp lines and a cool vibe. The front fascia is characterized by a flat front grille having four headlamp lenses.

Audi Quattro Face lift

In 1985, the Quattro was given a facelift, which included a sloped grille, reinforced headlights, new badges, and trims. The rear is also very sophisticated as plain, small rectangular taillights have a small spoiler at the trunk.


Audi Quattro interior

The interior of the Audi Quattro is also kept simple yet effective, the same as the exterior. 1983, the analog instrument was removed from the dashboard, and the green digital LCD electronic instrument cluster was put in. The three-spoke steering wheel meets the driver, giving a sense of sportiness, and the center console, housing various switches and controls, gives a good overall experience. 

Audi Quattro digital meter

Graphics for the voltmeter, oil temp gauge, and differential status down by the gear lever could be by Kraftwerk, and there is a slight surprise that the Blaupunkt stereo gives good sound today as well. Tellingly, all the electrical features on this 33-year-old icon work perfectly.

Audi Quattro electronics

It’s also a reminder of how far German quality has come. This is from the era of sturdy, durable interiors; soft-touch plastics hadn’t been invented yet, and the Quattro’s dash betrays plenty of creaks, squeaks, and rattles. It’s pleasingly durable and tough, like a modern Subaru’s, and the seats are plump and comfortable.

Real-World MPG of Audi Quattro

The fuel average of the Audi Quattro models can vary depending on factors such as type, driving conditions, and driving style. However, the average these models can achieve approximately with these engines is around 28mpg. But it is always a good idea to check the specific fuel economy ratings of the exact model and engine variant you are interested in.

Expert Verdict

Experts from Top Gear:

“The car that did more to further the cause of the performance car than almost any other, Audi’s 4WD icon still has relevance today”


Audi Quattro 6

In the realm of rally racing, the Audi Quattro stands as an indomitable icon, leaving an indelible mark on the sport’s history. With its revolutionary all-wheel drive system and potent turbocharged engines, the Quattro redefined the possibilities of rallying in the 1980s. Dominating the World Rally Championship with unparalleled success, it showcased not only raw power but also an unmatched level of precision and control. The Sport Quattro variants, including the awe-inspiring S1 and S1 E2, became legendary for their prowess on diverse terrains, clinching victories and championships that solidified the Quattro’s status as a rallying giant. Its aggressive styling, distinctive engine roar, and unmatched performance make the Audi Quattro a timeless and awe-inspiring force in the exhilarating world of rally racing.

You want some more All wheel drive raw action? Take a look here.

Pros & Cons of Audi Quattro

Audi Quattro jumping

Pros of the Audi Quattro:

Cons of the Audi Quattro:

Written by: TAZ

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