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Motoring: Audi Quottro - 1980

The Audi Quattro is the epitome of the Hot Hatch, a famous and historically significant road and rally car produced by the German automobile manufacturer Audi. Notably, it was the first four-wheel drive grand tourer (GT) since the Jensen FF of 1966 ("quattro" means "Four" in Italian). It is considered one of the most significant rally cars of all time, and was one of the first to take advantage of the then-recently changed rules which allowed the use of all-wheel-drive in competition racing.

Many critics doubted the viability of all-wheel drive racers, thinking them to be too heavy and complex, yet the Quattro was an instant success, winning a rally on its first outing. It won competition after competition for the next two years. To commemorate the original vehicle, all future Audi Quattros were badged with a lower case Q. The original car with the upper case Q is highly sought after as a collector's piece. The Audi Quattro shared many components and the core of its body style with the Audi Coupe, which was a member of the Audi 80 (B2 model) range.

Audi released the original Quattro in 1980, making it both the first car to feature Audi's quattro four-wheel drive system (hence its name) and the first to mate four wheel drive with a turbocharged engine. The powerplant was originally a 2.1 L (2144 cc), SOHC, 10 valve straight-5 producing 200 PS (147 kW); this was eventually modified to a 2.2 L (2226 cc) 10 valve straight-5 and then to a 2.2 L (2226 cc) 20v DOHC straight-5 setup producing 220 PS (162 kW). Audi Quattros are often referred to among owners and enthusiasts by their engine codes, to differentiate between the earlier and later versions: the earliest (2144 cc 10v) being the WR engine, the 2226 cc 10v being the MB engine and the later 20v being the RR engine. Hence, Quattro models may be referred to as either the WR Quattro, MB Quattro, and RR or "20v" Quattro, respectively.

Total road car production is 11,452 vehicles over the period 1980 1991 and through this 11 year production span there were no major changes in the visual design of the vehicle. For the 1983 model-year the dash was switched from an analog instrument cluster to a green digital LCD display (later changed for 1988 to an orange LCD display). The interior was redesigned in 1985 and featured a whole new dash layout, new steering wheel design and new centre console design, the switches around the instrument panel were also redesigned at this time.

Externally, overall styling received very little modification during its production run. Originally, the car had a flat fronted grill featuring four separate lenses, one for each of the low and high beam units. This was altered for the 1983 model year and replaced with combined units featuring a single lens, but housing twin reflectors. This was changed again, for the 1985 model year, in what has become known as the 'facelift model' and included such alterations as a new sloping front grill, headlights, and trim and badging changes. The RR 20v Quattro also featured a new three spoke steering wheel design.

The Audi Sport Quattro was a Quattro program car developed for Group B rallying homologation in 1984, and sold as a production car in limited numbers - it featured a 2.1 L (2133 cc) 20v DOHC engine slightly smaller than that of the Audi Quattro (in order to qualify for the 3-litre engine class after the scale factor applied to turbo engines). In road-going form the engine was capable of producing approximately 305 hp (257 kW), with the competition cars initially producing around 450bhp. The vehicle also featured a body shell composed of carbon kevlar and boasting wider arches, wider wheels, the steeper windscreen rake of the Audi 80 (requested by the Audi Sport rally team drivers for improved visibility) and, most noticeably, a 320 mm (12.6 in) shorter wheelbase. This was carried out in order to improve handling potential in the face of newer, smaller competition, such as the Lancia 037 and the Peugeot 205 T16, which had been purpose-built from the start for Group B rules.

The Audi Sport Quattro S1 was introduced in 1985 as an update to the Audi Sport Quattro. The car featured a inline 5-cylinder engine that displaced 2110 cc and produced an extraordinary 560 bhp. In addition to the improved power output, an aggressive aerodynamic kit was added that featured very distinctive wings and spoilers to the front and rear of the car. The S1 proved to be an immediate success in the rally circuit, helping Walter Rahrl and Christian Geistdarfer win the 1985 San Remo Rally. A modified version of the S1, was also driven by Michele Mouton. The S1 evolution would become the final Group B car produced by Audi, with the works team withdrawing from the Championship following the 1986 rally in Portugal. Twenty years after the cancellation of Group B, the Sport Quattro S1 was still widely regarded as the most powerful rally car ever fielded in international competition, with the final factory machines of 1986 rated at 600bhp. In addition to Group B competition, the S1 won the 1985 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb with Michelle Mouton at the steering wheel, setting a world record time in the process.

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