A person who knows about Audi definitely knows about Quattro. Such is the legacy behind the term Quattro. Quattro basically means four in Italian, but to a car enthusiast, when he hears the term Quattro, his mind shifts to a rally track where a four-ringed behemoth is sideways entering a turn at full speed and is the undoubted winner of that race. The original Quattro or also knows as, Ur-Quattro, was first launched in 1980. Although the idea of a high-performance four-wheel-drive car was proposed in 1977 by Jörg Bensinger.
In the 1980s, the rally scenario was fast, unforgiving, dangerous, and filled with wet-your-pants cars. Manufacturers like Ford, Lancia, and Fiat were dominating the rally scene with their two-wheel-drive cars, but only till 1980. After that, the rules changed and four-wheel-drive cars were allowed to race. This was the moment when Audi rose from the dust and left Lancia’s Stratos lost in the trails. The Quattro shared its platform and a few parts with the Audi 80 but featured additional flared wheel arches and independent front and rear suspension. The car also featured a 2.1-liter, inline 5-cylinder. 10 valve, turbocharged engine that churned out 197 BHP. This engine was soon replaced with a new 2.2-liter unit that delivered all the torque in the lower rev band. But again in 1989, this engine was tweaked around with 20 valves instead of 10, which led to an increase in power from 197 BHP to 217 BHP. The Quattro made its debut at the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 1980 and Finn Hannu Mikkola won the driver title in a Quattro in 1983 and Swede Stig Blomqvist bagged the title in 1984. Audi even came up with an array of models of the Quattro for the WRC which included, the A1 & A2 that churned out 350 BHP, the Sport Quattro S1 that belted out 444 BHP, and the Sport Quattro S1 E2 that delivered 500 BHP. Audi did not stop here and even made a 690 BHP Sport Quattro RS 002 but never used it in any competition.
Apart from creating rally history, Audi sold road-legal versions of the Quattro from 1980-1991. In 11 years, the brand had made their legacy as everyone wanted a piece of the WRC champion car. The German brand sold 11,452 units of the Quattro during these 11 years, which was a staggering figure back then. It is no doubt that Audi shook the WRC stage when it entered it with the Quattro but where the Quattro made its mark was at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Back then, the roads were mostly gravel which was an easy task for the four-wheel-drive system of the Quattro to fly past. The Quattro was so good at the event that it won a staggering six Pikes Peak events in one year. The Quattro was not the first car to feature a four-wheel-drive system but surely revolutionized the whole industry.
After Audi had turned the rallying world upside down and conquered Pikes Peak three times in a row in record time with the Sport Quattro, the brand then made Quattro drive suitable for circuit racing. Yeah, that’s right, the company named its four-wheel-drive system after the WRC legend. The company exited the world of rallying after 6 years and then shifted its focus to circuit racing and tweaked the Quattro drive system according to those conditions. Well, they created magic in circuit racing too with the Quattro system. The Audi 200 Quattro in 1988 won the Trans-Am Series and the Audi 90 Quattro won IMSA-GTO in the USA in 1989. It was followed by 2 championship titles for the Audi V8 Quattro in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in 1991. The Audi A4 Quattro also won the Super Touring Cars title in seven countries in 1996. Talk about a winning streak right?
Audi has made its legacy with the Quattro four-wheel-drive system and it has been 40 years since the Ur-Quattro was brought to us. To date, the Quattro drive system is the benchmark in unmatched traction and power delivery. Almost all Audi cars feature the Quattro four-wheel-drive system and it is one of the main and enticing features of the brand. Each car in the current line-up of the brand has a Quattro system in regards to the model specifically. The system has been evolving with time and today it is still the best in the market and will only get better. If you don’t believe it, go to your nearest Audi dealership and see it for yourself. With more than eight million models produced with Quattro technology, Audi is the most successful premium manufacturer of vehicles with permanent all-wheel drive worldwide.