The Audi Quattro is a four-wheel driving system that debuted at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show. It was initially developed for competitive racing, enjoying many wins in the years that followed. Audi commemorated the tremendous success of the quattro system through branding it with a distinctive, lower case “q” that has remained virtually unchanged.
Jorg Bensinger, Audi’s chassis engineer at the time, suggested the idea of a high-performance four-wheel-drive car. The first iterations were available only on the European market. The original engine was a 2.1-liter turbocharged inline-five-cylinder SOHC that produced 197 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, which topped out over 137 mph. This was eventually replaced by a slightly more powerful engine that boasted twenty more horsepower.
Between the years of 1980 and 1991, approximately 11,452 Quattro vehicles were produced with minimal changes to their exterior aesthetics. A few interior changes occurred through the years: color of the LCD cluster, layout of the dash, design of the steering wheel, and design of the instrument panel. Still, the Quattro was unmistakable.
In the North American market, the Quattro began selling in 1983. The United States and Canadian models were equipped with larger impact bumpers with built-in shock absorbers. Throughout the years, the cosmetic updates took place concurrently with the European cars. Aside from a different camshaft, addition of a catalytic converter, and fuel control, the mechanical specifications were identical to its kin just across the Atlantic.
Here is a white-knuckling video that demonstrates the power and control of the Audi Quattro:
Audi produced the last original Quattro on May 17th, 1991. Redesigns and concept cars have since continued the tradition established thirty-four years ago.
Known for its affordable opulence, the Audi brand has become synonymous with luxury. The rich experience of driving one of these German automobiles stems not just from the features and options, it also is grounded in handling and performance. This is what makes the Quattro a legendary innovation: it distributes power to the wheels that need it most and improves control during inclement weather. It, in short, provides its drivers with a distinct advantage through intelligent driving.
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Did you know…
The original Quattro is often referred to as the Ur-Quattro – the German prefix “Ur” means “primordial” or “original”; the word quattro is derived from the Italian word for “four” and refers to the four-wheel-drive system.
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