IN DETAIL: AUDI QUATTRO CONCEPT
We have a poke around Audi's Paris show star and chat to the man who styled it
What the car's British designer, Steve Lewis, could tell me when I managed to grab a chat with him at the VW Group's pre-Paris show bash was that Audi does at least want to make it - this is not a pure pie-in-the-sky dream.
It does, of course, depend on how good the public's reaction to the car is (and the P.H. O'Meter is naturally going to play a crucial role in that), but it seems that a 500-car production run is at least a possibility. As for how much it's going to cost? Well, there's absolutely no line on that, but you'd surely be looking at 911 GT3 territory.
The genes of the A5 and RS5 on which the Quattro Concept is based are evident in the curvy haunches, although the car's wheelbase has been shortened by 150mm - a move that adds to the car's agility and also reduces weight. Like the original 1984 Sport Quattro - which was introduced so that the rally car could compete with ever-more extreme Group B rally competitors - the looks of the Quattro Concept are therefore a result of function first and form second, although the rear overhang has been chopped by a significant 200mm to keep the shape balanced, something that was most certainly not done on the 1984 car.
Even if Audi doesn't make this car, the Quattro Concept is a statement of serious intent. Its 1300kg kerb weight (almost identical to the original Sport Quattro's) is getting on for supermini hot hatch lightness and is a clear signal from Audi that it is ready to bring its lightweight technology to bear on mainstream cars. "We've seen what the supercar makers can do with lightweight materials," an Audi insider told me at Paris. "Now it's time to see what the big boys can do."
The drivetrain, meanwhile is as performance-focused as the rest of the car. Out goes the woolly Haldex four-wheel drive system, to be replaced by the crown-gear differential affair from the RS5. Heck, the concept car even has a proper, honest-to-goodness conventional manual gearbox (with three pedals and everything).
The Sport Quattro has the potential to be the most focused Audi for more than a quarter of a century. Let's hope Ingolstadt has the balls to make it happen.