RE: Legacy | 40 years of Audi Sport

RE: Legacy | 40 years of Audi Sport

Tuesday 10th March

Legacy | 40 years of Audi Sport

The Ur-quattro made its debut at the 1980 Geneva show. It triggered a revolution...



No matter how significant to a specific marque or beloved a certain model is, it isn't often that a manufacturer can claim to have launched something truly game changing. A product which, in an instant, altered the landscape of not just its own segment, but potentially the industry as a whole. Forty years ago this month Audi did just that, when it revealed the original quattro in Geneva.

The concept had been devised four years prior, during winter testing of the VW Iltis - a somewhat cartoonish off-roader which Audi was developing for the German military. The four-wheel drive vehicle's prowess on snow and ice led engineer Jorg Bensinger to contemplate the installation of such a setup in a road-going vehicle and, following tests on a production Audi 80, the Quattro was born.


The notion of fitting such a system to a sports coupe like the 200hp quattro was even more revolutionary, and would go on to shape not just the future of rallying, but what was expected from consumer performance machines too. Most significantly, perhaps, it would also come to define the kind of cars which Audi's own sports divisions would build for years to come. Join us, then, as we peruse quattro GmbH's greatest hits.

  • Quattro


The original and still, some would no doubt argue, the best implementation of Audi's quattro technology came in the car which was so thoroughly characterised by it that it shared its name. The Quattro was available in various guises during its 11-year production run, but there's one which stands head and shoulders above the rest.

In order to take the Quattro rallying, Audi needed to build a minimum of 200 roadworthy homologation cars. These were 12.5 inches shorter than standard to improve handling, with carbon-fibre-reinforced Kevlar, fibre-glass and aluminium bodywork helping to trim almost 180kg from their overall kerb weight. Tremendous fender flares made space for nine-inch wide Ronal alloys, driven at all four corners by a 2.1-litre, all-aluminium inline-five. Thanks to its KKK turbocharger and Bosch fuel injection it produced 307hp and 258lb ft of torque, allowing owners to unleash their inner Walter Rohrl or Michelle Mouton at will (ish).

And now you can too, so long as you have a spare Β£485k down the back of the sofa, that is. Just 214 Sport Quattros were ever made, with only 164 sold to the public for road use, but wouldn't you know it, there's one in the PH classifieds. Having already had its aluminium block swapped for a steel one (a common switch to prevent failure due to cracking) this car looks to offer a perfect balance of condition, performance and usability.

  • RS2


While a coupe may have been the first Audi to benefit from all-wheel drive, it would soon become synonymous with fast estates. The RS2 was the car which set quattro on that trajectory, but its place in history isn't the only thing that makes it so significant.

The result of a joint-venture with Porsche - which took responsibility for the small matters of the car's engineering and construction - it produced 315hp thanks to a uprated version of Audi's 2.2-litre, five-cylinder turbo engine. A 40mm reduction in ride height, Porsche 'Cup' wheels and the first implementation of what came to be known as Nogaro Blue paint - but was actually dubbed 'RS Blue Pearl Effect' at the time - all came to be hallmarks of the car's sporting intent.

Today, the RS2 is an understandably iconic model, and is priced as such. Β£58,500 certainly isn't as costly as many might assume it to be, however, and does buy you an exceptional example. This car from the PH classifieds is one of just 180 right-hand drive RS2s ever built; with an extensive (yet subtle) list of recent improvements, it couldn't really be called entirely original, but may well offer the best representation of the RS2's exceptional performance in a modern context.

  • RS4


Like its predecessor, the B5 RS4 arrived at the turn of the Millennium in estate-only form. Again it was a more muscular, better performing version of the standard car on which it was based, although by now the work to make it so was no longer being carried out by Porsche. Audi itself took on a far greater share of the burden, with the engine's development and production outsourced to Cosworth.

Fast forward to 2006 and, after an absence from the B6 A4 platform between 2001-2005, the RS4 returned in B7 guise. Now available in saloon, estate and even cabriolet form, the B7 was arguably the highpoint in RS4 production, being as it was Audi's first fast four-door to go toe to toe with BMW's rival M car dynamically. Its 4.2-litre V8, meanwhile, produced 420hp and 317lb ft at up to 8,250rpm, enabling a 0-62 sprint of 4.8 seconds and a 168mph top speed.

Saloon and cabrio or not, the Avant remains our pick of the bunch. This 51,000-mile Daytona Grey car is available for just Β£24,000, which not only looks a steal compared to some of the other cars on this list, but represents decent real-world value too. It's also bloody good fun.

  • RS6


RS4 too shy and retiring for you? Then the RS6 has you covered. Though the original C5 generation was reasonably understated when it arrived in 2002, the model has become increasingly synonymous with powerfully-built director types ever since.

The latest C8 generation takes things to another level still, leaving the previous C7 looking suddenly rather subtle - even if those enormous wheels and that Β£67,490 price tag can't help but grab your attention. That's still a sizeable reduction on what it would have cost new, however, this being 605hp Performance variant. As such it was powered by an ECU-fettled version of the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 found in the standard RS6. Its 45hp increase was joined by 553lb ft of torque for a 190mph top speed and a 3.7-second 0-62 time, just enough to get the kids to school quickly enough to still make the train to the office.

  • R8


Quattro returned to a coupe with the introduction of the R8 in 2006; ostensibly a rival to the all-conquering Porsche 911. Ironically, it's the rear-wheel drive RWS which has proven to be our favourite iteration of Audi's supercar in recent times, but the all-wheel drive variants were the ones to forge the R8's legend. Particularly when they came equipped with three pedals and a manual gearbox, as this 2012 car currently residing in the PH classifieds does.

Outputs of 430hp and 317lb ft from the naturally-aspirated V8 were enough to see it to 62 in 4.6 seconds but, unlike many of the other cars on this list, the R8 is about far more than straight line, point-to-point performance. With a compliant ride, precise steering and bags of grip, the R8 has proven a joy to drive on nearly any road in nearly any conditions. A breadth of ability made all the more enjoyable when powered by the exploitable V8, rather than the all-consuming V10.

  • RS3


Which brings us to the RS3, Audi Sport's attempt to offer the everyman an entry-level into the RS brand. It didn't come along until 2011, a full 15 years after the first A3 arrived on the scene, but when it did its famed inline five - a hat tip to its thirty-year-old predecessor - delivered 340hp and 332lb ft to the (still relatively wealthy) people.

Six years later it was available in saloon form, a mightily tempting prospect for those who missed the tidy styling and compact dimensions of performance four-doors of yore. 400hp and 354lb ft were now the headline figures from the 2.5-litre motor, with the resulting 4.1-second 0-62 time being enough to trouble almost everything else on this list. Best things, small packages, etc.

This 750-mile example is as good as new. With the marque's trademark cabin quality inside and exceptional performance under the bonnet, it represents all that we've come to expect from Audi's all-wheel drive sports cars in the 21st century.


Something we've missed? Share your favourite RS models in the comments below...

Author
Discussion

Pereldh

Original Poster:

248 posts

67 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
In this era of 'sponsored content' (and the VW Group is VERY good at it) it is comically 'forgotten' how bad the Quattro did by the end of the group B era in 1986, they actually pulled out of the championship halfway thru due to the massive front overhang/understeer issues. There was no way they could keep up with Lancia Delta S4 or Peugeot 205T16 Evo.

They did have a successor coming for the Group S era in 1987 (as did everybody else) which was mid-engined, but the Quattro S1 is just that little bit too glorified IMHO.



Edited by Pereldh on Tuesday 10th March 10:23

BricktopST205

594 posts

89 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Pereldh said:
In this era of 'sponsored content' (and the VW Group is VERY good at it) it is comically 'forgotten' how bad the Quattro did by the end of the group B era in 1986, they actually pulled out of the championship halfway thru due to the massive front overhang/understeer issues. There was no way they could keep up with Lancia Delta S4 or Peugeot 205T16 Evo.

They did have a successor coming for the Group S era in 1987 (as did everybody else) which was mid-engined, but the Quattro S1 is just that little bit too glorified IMHO.



Edited by Pereldh on Tuesday 10th March 10:23
Also don't forget it actually lost to a RWD rusty Lancia in the manufacturers standings. :P

Jon_S_Rally

820 posts

43 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Pereldh said:
In this era of 'sponsored content' (and the VW Group is VERY good at it) it is comically 'forgotten' how bad the Quattro did by the end of the group B era in 1986, they actually pulled out of the championship halfway thru due to the massive front overhang/understeer issues. There was no way they could keep up with Lancia Delta S4 or Peugeot 205T16 Evo.

They did have a successor coming for the Group S era in 1987 (as did everybody else) which was mid-engined, but the Quattro S1 is just that little bit too glorified IMHO.



Edited by Pereldh on Tuesday 10th March 10:23
Yes interesting how the car that actually changed the sport entirely was so quickly made to look like an antique really. It was probably their own fault though as, while other manufacturers were willing to make entirely bespoke Group B cars, Audi seemed to prefer to stick to something more closely related to a normal road car. Still their impact on rallying and the wider performance car world has truly been something.

Surprised the TT didn't get a mention above. It may not have been the best from a dynamic point of view, but it did bring Quattro technology to a coupe quite a long time before the R8 appeared, and probably represents one of the most accessible forms of the technology in a sporting guise.

There is something very appealing about those RS3 saloons I must say. Anything with a five-pot turbo engine is instantly on my radar though.

sumpoil

379 posts

119 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Pereldh said:
In this era of 'sponsored content' (and the VW Group is VERY good at it) it is comically 'forgotten' how bad the Quattro did by the end of the group B era in 1986, they actually pulled out of the championship halfway thru due to the massive front overhang/understeer issues. There was no way they could keep up with Lancia Delta S4 or Peugeot 205T16 Evo.

They did have a successor coming for the Group S era in 1987 (as did everybody else) which was mid-engined, but the Quattro S1 is just that little bit too glorified IMHO.



Edited by Pereldh on Tuesday 10th March 10:23
Just thinking the very same thing when I saw the photo of the engine bay. Still a fantastic car though - of all the Group B cars the S2 definitely looked and sounded the most brutal ..... and did I read somewhere that the later S2's actually ran a very early version of a double-clutch gearbox? But somehow - regardless of the technology of the Delta, the brutality of the S2, the poise of the T16 and the Sierra-ness of the RS200 wink - the one I really want is still the 6R4 biggrin

Coatesy351

744 posts

87 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Pereldh said:
In this era of 'sponsored content' (and the VW Group is VERY good at it) it is comically 'forgotten' how bad the Quattro did by the end of the group B era in 1986, they actually pulled out of the championship halfway thru due to the massive front overhang/understeer issues. There was no way they could keep up with Lancia Delta S4 or Peugeot 205T16 Evo.

They did have a successor coming for the Group S era in 1987 (as did everybody else) which was mid-engined, but the Quattro S1 is just that little bit too glorified IMHO.



Edited by Pereldh on Tuesday 10th March 10:23
Audi withdrew from the 1986 championship because of the crash in Portugal. The E2 sport Quattro was much closer to the pace than you make out.

It won Argentina the previous year and lost the 1000 lakes by only 48 seconds. (When rally's were often decided by minutes)
Mikkola was leading the Rac when the engine failed and they were 3rd on the 86 Monte.

It was a difficult car to drive quickly and constantly and it definitely wasn't the optimal layout for rallying.

aeropilot

21,070 posts

182 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Coatesy351 said:
Pereldh said:
In this era of 'sponsored content' (and the VW Group is VERY good at it) it is comically 'forgotten' how bad the Quattro did by the end of the group B era in 1986, they actually pulled out of the championship halfway thru due to the massive front overhang/understeer issues. There was no way they could keep up with Lancia Delta S4 or Peugeot 205T16 Evo.

They did have a successor coming for the Group S era in 1987 (as did everybody else) which was mid-engined, but the Quattro S1 is just that little bit too glorified IMHO.



Edited by Pereldh on Tuesday 10th March 10:23
Audi withdrew from the 1986 championship because of the crash in Portugal.
Nope.

Audi withdrew from the WRC immediately after the end of the Tour de Corse after the death of Toivonen/Cresto.


Ahonen

4,509 posts

234 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Pereldh said:
In this era of 'sponsored content' (and the VW Group is VERY good at it) it is comically 'forgotten' how bad the Quattro did by the end of the group B era in 1986, they actually pulled out of the championship halfway thru due to the massive front overhang/understeer issues.
Utter crap.

The reason they pulled out, as you surely know, was a culmination of the Portugal and Corsica disasters.

I appreciate you only typed that to get a reaction and maybe that makes you happy but, the thing is, you look like an idiot.

soad

30,605 posts

131 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Hmm, RS2 still looks good...appealing. Don’t ever recall seeing one on the road either.

Pow3rL3ss

4 posts

4 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
I’m disappointed the first S car wasn’t mentioned in the article - S2

Shuthan_rs3

226 posts

84 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Love my 2019 Audi RS3 saloon, has been a dream car for me since I drove an RS3 a few years back and was hooked that I wanted to sell my new-ish A5 I had for just a month, when I finally got one, It was a special moment for me, the 5 cylinder is glorious.

Can appreciate the other RS variants and Audi sport models being an Audi fan myself.





Edited by Shuthan_rs3 on Tuesday 10th March 15:05

VR6 Eug

140 posts

154 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
The only thing Serria on the RS200 was the cut down doors and a few bits of switch gear, the rest of that car is bespoke for Group B

XIII

3,677 posts

53 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
I really dont see much to celebrate. It's just one more disappointing car after the other. I've driven them all (apart from the Sport quattro) and they're all blunt instruments with no suggestion of 'fun'. Far too many other cars that have that in spades.

I suppose you could argue they make good all rounders but having spent a lot of time behind the wheel of both an RS3 and RS6 they are immensely frustrating.

Coatesy351

744 posts

87 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all




Edited by Pereldh on Tuesday 10th March 10:23

[/quote]

Audi withdrew from the 1986 championship because of the crash in Portugal.

[/quote]

Nope.

Audi withdrew from the WRC immediately after the end of the Tour de Corse after the death of Toivonen/Cresto.


[/quote]

I checked it was definitely after Portugal.

rossub

2,824 posts

145 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
soad said:
Hmm, RS2 still looks good...appealing. Don’t ever recall seeing one on the road either.
As nice as they are, it totally baffles me why they are so expensive. It’s not like they’re the type of thing you keep for a sunny weekend early morning drive.

What do the owners do with them?

neilferg

26 posts

22 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
XIII said:
I really dont see much to celebrate. It's just one more disappointing car after the other. I've driven them all (apart from the Sport quattro) and they're all blunt instruments with no suggestion of 'fun'. Far too many other cars that have that in spades.

I suppose you could argue they make good all rounders but having spent a lot of time behind the wheel of both an RS3 and RS6 they are immensely frustrating.
Never heard anyone describe a b7 rs4 as a blunt instrument? All reviews to date highly rate it and having owned one for a couple of years now it's far from a blunt instrument . Makes many modern alternatives look dull in my opinion. Agree though that Audi doesn't have a great history of producing the best driver's cars.

neilferg

26 posts

22 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Jon_S_Rally said:
Pereldh said:
Surprised the TT didn't get a mention above. It may not have been the best from a dynamic point of view, but it did bring Quattro technology to a coupe quite a long time before the R8 appeared, and probably represents one of the most accessible forms of the technology in a sporting guise.
The TT isn't actually quattro though as it's a haldex based system so not permanent 4wd. Rs3 the same . Indeed many Audi's now badged quattro are really haldex .

AAGR

866 posts

116 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
The ur Quattro as a winning Group B car in the early 1980s ?

As the first of the four-wheel-drive Supercars they did a great job in rallying - but it helped enormously that they threw money at this sport, and hired Messrs Hannu Mikkola, Michele Mouton, Stig Blomqvist and Walter Rohrl to drive for them.

If they had not been winners with that sort of line-up, we would certainly have criticised them. But, to use the streetwise vernacular - Respect !

Dynion Araf Uchaf

2,501 posts

178 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Coatesy351 said:
I checked it was definitely after Portugal.
they had entries planned for Acropolis, Argentina, 1000 Lakes , San Remo and RAC. However shortly after the Corsica accident they withdrew from competition for the rest of the year, apart from a Dave Sutton run Quattro S1 for Harald Demuth in the RAC and a John Buffum Quattro S1 in rally Olympus. ( which wasn't official factory). So technically they withdrew after Corisca, but hadn't been seen since Portugal.

aeropilot

21,070 posts

182 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Coatesy351 said:
Edited by Pereldh on Tuesday 10th March 10:23
Audi withdrew from the 1986 championship because of the crash in Portugal.
Nope.

Audi withdrew from the WRC immediately after the end of the Tour de Corse after the death of Toivonen/Cresto.
I checked it was definitely after Portugal.
No it wasn't.
Suggest you check again.

RyanTank

2,842 posts

109 months

Tuesday 10th March
quotequote all
Its the Audi quattro, not Quattro. its literally printed on the car in the picture!

Pereldh said:
it is comically 'forgotten' how bad the Quattro did by the end of the group B era in 1986,
Impossibru. they withdrew from the championship after Portugal.

Pereldh said:
There was no way they could keep up with Lancia Delta S4 or Peugeot 205T16 Evo.
Somewhat true. still managed to finish 2nd in the championship behind Peugeot in '85.

It was also the only group B car built on an existing platform/configuration and not reconfigured for optimal performance like the R5T, 6r4, 205 t16, S4, RS200. To have carried on being competitive until its withdrawal against the rest of the field was nothing short of awesome.

The reason it also keeps being the Halo Group B racer is because of its ridiculous aero in the E2 configuration and that bonkers 5cyl howl.

VR6 Eug said:
The only thing Serria on the RS200 was the cut down doors and a few bits of switch gear, the rest of that car is bespoke for Group B
Rear lights were sierra too.

I think the B7 RS4 Avant is still a great looking motor. I was extremely tempted to take a punt on a 250k+ mile car that was for sale last summer. But i just couldn't swallow that brave pill.