Even the most bombastic phrases about how the original Audi Quattro, or the Ur-Quattro is a true legend in the world of rallying can’t be considered an overstatement. This titan surely massively influenced the revolutionizing of the whole industry in its 11 years of production. The world got to see the first Audi Quattro in the 1980 Geneva Motor Show, where the first four-wheel-drive sports car shined like a star with its unprecedented all wheel drive performance of reaching 100 km/h in just 7.1 seconds and its unequalled road-holding.
It was in the late 70s when the history of the Quattro began. Jörg Bensinger, Audi’s chassis engineer returned inspired from a trip to Finland, where he saw the impressive performance on snowy roads of the Iltis, Volksagen’s powerful four-wheel-drive truck-like vehicle, developed for forestry and the army in Germany. He got the idea of developing a similar all-wheel drive variant of this for the Audi 80 and proposed it to Walther Treser, the Pre-Development Director of the German automobile manufacturer. Treser was convinced and soon a prototype was created and tested until it finally received VW’s management board approval for production in March 1980. Its price was just as hot as its features: 50,000 DM. That was more than double the price of a Coupe GT, built on the same shell. The differences were, however, uncontestable. An incredible 200 hp turbocharged engine, two lockable differentials, Audi 200 brakes, permanent all-wheel drive and soldier-like resistance in all conditions set this incredible car apart. More than 11,000 units were soon sold.
When the Quattro entered its first World Rallying Competition, it was certain that the rally world would never be the same. The winning Quattro became a global sensation, while its driver, Michele Mouton marked also her own revolution, becoming the first woman in the world to win a WRC. The victories kept coming and by 1986 Audi Quattro won a total of 23 World Rally Championships.
With such an impressive history, no wonder the brand still takes the Quattro to all sorts of motorsports events, promoting its heritage, and celebrating the legacy left behind by the model three decades later. Indeed, if there is one car that can truly illustrate Audi’s slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik", loosely translated as "progress through technology", that is the Quattro.