This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Quattro; both the fire-spitting rally car and the all-wheel drive system that helped power it. Both of which have played a massive role in the success of Audi as a brand, which is why this milestone anniversary is so important to Audi. In this latest video, Carfection says happy birthday by driving the original Audi Ur Quattro road car.
The car in this video is one of the later models, packing the 2.2 liter, 20-valve turbocharged five-cylinder, a Torsen differential with a locking rear diff and even the snazzy digital gauge cluster. It looks great, even today, and it still feels quick. It’s obviously significantly slower than modern performance cars but there’s no denying that it still has some punch. Especially on corner exit, where its tenacious Quattro grip allows it to put all of its power to the road.
What’s nice about the Ur Quattro is that it still has a great suspension balance. There’s a good bit of wheel travel allowed, which, along with squishy high-profile tires, gives it a ton of ride comfort. Admittedly, a bit of body roll accompanies that comfort but it’s not enough to upset the car through corners. Though, due to its front-heavy nature, it’s no scalpel. It needs to be methodically and carefully driven hard through corners which, as Carfection’s Henry Catchpole notes, makes it more of a sporty grand-touring car, rather than an all-out sports car.
Personally, I also really like the old-school digital gauge cluster, as does Catchpole. It looks so wonderfully retro now and is actually more clever than you might imagine an early ’80s digital cluster to be. It has a little trip computer than you can control with some cleverly place buttons and even a simplified screen mode, which shuts off every gauge except for the speed and clock. Sort of like modern day track-modes in many digital clusters.
Overall, the Audi Ur Quattro is still such a compelling package, forty years later. It’s easy to see why it was so hugely important to the brand and how it launched Audi into the success it is today.