Complete Audi Quattro lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1980 Audi Quattro (Typ 85) - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1980 - 1991 Audi Quattro CoupeQuattro (Typ 85)5 Trims 160 to 306 Hp

The Audi Quattro is a 2-door coupe road and rally car made from 1980 to 1991. It is wroth noting that this is the only Audi model specifically named Quattro, however many Audi offerings utilize a four-wheel or all-wheel drive system known as the Quattro system. The word Quattro is based on the Italian word for four. This Quattro model is also referred to as the Ur-Quattro, showing that it is the first of the Quattro kind.

Audi Quattro Design and Introduction

First debuted at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show, the Audi Quattro was a revolutionary vehicle that was the first rally car to take advantage of rules allowing four-wheel drive in competitive rally racing. By doing so, Audi set itself apart from the crowd, won many competitions over the next two years, and established an enthusiastic fanbase around the world. The proposal for a four-wheel drive high-performance vehicle came from Jörg Bensinger in 1977 when he was an Audi chassis engineer. Audi used the Audi 80 as the base for the Quattro and developed it with Walter Treser, then Director of Pre-Development. Due to the distinct build of the Quattro, it was partially hand-built on a dedicated production line. The result was a turbocharged 2.1L longitudinally-mounted inline-5 engine strapped to a four-wheel drive system. It produced 197 horsepower and 210 lb ft of torque, and had a 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) time of 7.1 seconds with a top speed of at least 137 mph. Eventually the engine size increased to a 2.2L 10v inline-5 with similar performance numbers but peak torque available in lower rpms. Eventually, a 20v version came to be and pushed performance up to 217 horsepower and top speed to 143 mph.

Features and Changes 

At first, an analog instrument cluster was featured, which changed to a green digital LCD display in 1983, and an orange LCD in 1988. It stuck with the same exterior design for the entire production run (with the exception of changes to headlights from four separate housings to two), although the interior saw a fairly significant overhaul in 1984, with new steering wheel, dashboard, and center console. The Audi Quattro came to the North American market in 1983 and was one of the first all-wheel drive production cars available. To keep up with regulatory demands, the North American versions had larger bumpers. The anti-lock braking system was not included, but air conditioning and leather seats were standard. These versions also had slightly modified performance due to emissions standards. The boost pressure was lowered, the ECU was modified, and a catalytic converter was added, lowering performance to 160 horsepower

Performance and Historical Significance 

It was immediately praised for its performance by racing drivers and critics alike. Although the type of drive and handling was unique and took a bit of learning to get used to, it was a thrilling experience especially on wet or loose surfaces where traction was difficult. One could still rip away from a stop even if the surface didn’t provide the best control. Over the course of the eleven year production run, just 11,452 units of the Audi Quattro were produced. It was still a very niche car for the period, especially when compared to today’s modern market full of all-wheel and four-wheel drive options. Various concept Audi Quattros have been released in 2010 and 2013. Even though there were rumors of a small production run coming to fruition, that did not work out and Audi instead focused on the more modern small crossover SUV market and the two-door sports cars as separate entities. One thing is for certain, the Audi Quattro is a significant piece of automotive history. It forever revolutionized the world of four-wheel driving being applicable to fast-moving passenger cars and was perhaps decades ahead of the rest of the car market. While the sales and production numbers might not reflect the overall impact of this then-futuristic vehicle, it is forever entrenched as one of Audi’s all-time greatest hits.