One of the rarest and most iconic Audis ever built was the 155 mph (250 km/h) Quattro Sport. With a short wheelbase, all-alloy 300 bhp engine, and a body made of aluminum-reinforced fiberglass and Kevlar, it has all the charisma, and nearly all the performance, of a Ferrari GTO.
The Quattro changed the way we think about four-wheel drive. Before 1980, four-wheel drive systems had foundered through high cost, weight, and lousy road behavior. Everybody thought that if you bolted a four-wheel drive system onto a performance coupe it would have ugly handling, transmission whine, and an insatiable appetite for fuel.
Audi’s engineers proved that the accepted wisdom was wrong, and by 1982, the Quattro was a World Rally Champion. Gone but not forgotten, the Quattro Sport is now a much admired collectors’ item.
While the dashboard layout is nothing special, everything is typically Germanic—clear, neat, and easy to use. The only touch of luxury in the Quattro is half-leather trim.
In competition trim, Audi’s remarkable turbocharged engine was pushing out 400 bhp, and by 1987, the fearsome S1 Sport g
enerated 509 bhp. To meet Group B homologation requirements, only 220 Sports were built, and only a few destined for sale to some very lucky private owners.
From any angle the Quattro Sport is testosterone on wheels, with a butch and aggressive four-square stance. The cinder-block styling, though, meant that the Quattro’s aerodynamics were poor.
Long nose and hood bulge cover the intercooler for the turbo unit.
Bodyshells were welded by a team of just 22 craftsmen.
Roof sections were made of aluminumbonded fiberglass.
Of the 1,700 Audis produced each day in the mid-1980s, only three were Quattros, and of a year’s output only a tiny amount were Sports.
Darkened rear lights were included across the whole Quattro line in 1984.
The five-cylinder 2133cc alloy engine is 50 lb (22.7 kg) lighter than the stock item, with twin overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, a giant turbocharger and Bosch LH-Jetronic injection. Center Torsen differential gives a 50/50 front-to-rear split. Rear differential lock disengages when the car passes 15 mph (24 km/h).
Turbo lag was a big problem on early Quattros; from 20–60 mph (32–96 km/h) in top it was slower than a 900cc VW Polo.
Four-wheel drive cars are now part of most large carmakers’ model lines and, along with airbags and antilock brakes (ABS), have played their part toward safer driving. We must thank the car that started it all, the Audi Quattro.
Box wheel arches are a Quattro hallmark, and essential to cover the fat 9Jx15 wheels.
Though the ride was harder than on normal Quattros, steering was quicker.
While it looked like a four-seater, in practice only two could fit in.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Audi Quattro Sport (1983–87)
PRODUCTION 220 (all LHD)
BODY STYLE Two-seater, two-door coupe.
CONSTRUCTION Monocoque body from Kevlar, aluminum, fiberglass, and steel.
ENGINE 2133cc five-cylinder turbocharged.
POWER OUTPUT 304 bhp at 6500 rpm.
TRANSMISSION Five-speed manual, four-wheel drive.
SUSPENSION All-around independent.
BRAKES Four-wheel vented discs with switchable ABS.
MAXIMUM SPEED 155 mph (250 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 4.8 sec
0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 13.9 sec
A.F.C. 17 mpg (6 km/l)