An Italian word for the number four, it has been forty years since March 3rd 1980, when the Audi Quattro was first displayed at the Geneva Motor Show. Although the car went out of production in 1991, till date, the term Quattro is synonymous with Audi’s all-wheel-drive system it equips its current cars with. For the uninitiated, the Audi quattro was the first rally car to introduce four-wheel drive to competition racing. Evolutions of the original car, the A1 and the A2, followed by the Sport quattro and its evolution, won a record number of events during the Golden, Group B era of rallying.
Audi even developed a 700 hp prototype called the RS 002 for the 1987 season, which was to race under the Group S regulations. However, the new regulations, along with Group B, were scrapped after a number of accidents involving fatalities occurred during the 1986 season. The Audi quattro debuted at dealerships across Europe in 1980, powered by a 2.1-litre, 5-cylinder, turbocharged engine which cranked out 197 hp and 285 Nm of torque. Power was sent to all four wheels via a permanent all-wheel-drive system. It was the first high-performance vehicle to be offered with all-wheel drive – a drive system concept which was previously only reserved for use in trucks and off-roaders. More than 11,000 cars were made throughout the car’s production run. Such is the iconic status of this Audi, it’s not just wallpaper on many screens, but even the latest Audi Q8’s C-pillar pays tribute to this car’s design. A car many consider as one of the greatest rally machines of all time.
This year, Audi Tradition will be taking part in over a dozen national and international events, celebrating four decades of the quattro. Traditional items on the event calendar include the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Classic Days at Schloss Dyck, the Eifel Rallye in Daun and Donau Classic, where the quattro models will be placed in the limelight as part of this special anniversary year. The historical department within Audi AG will also be flying the flag at the GP IceRace (February 1 and 2) in Zell am See where an Audi quattro Rallye S1 will be drifted across the frozen lake. The big starting point in the annual program is traditionally the “Techno Classica” classic vehicle show in Essen (March 25 to 29). Audi Tradition will be present in hall 4 of the historical automobile show, where the theme this year will be “40 years of quattro – everyday all-wheel drive”.