In this new piece from Fifth Gear, we get to not only learn about how the original “Ur” Audi Quattro came to be but we also get to see it in action and learn a bit about how it works.
Back in the ’80s, Audi engineer Jorg Bensinger was helping Volkswagen test a military vehicle called the Iltis. With its Torsen-based all-wheel drive system, the Iltis was unstoppable on muddy and uneven terrain and was even faster than some of Audis fast sedans in the snow, despite only having a small diesel engine. This was due to its incredible traction and Bensinger took notice.
Immediately after that, Jorg and his team decided to put a similar all-wheel drive system, complete with a Torsen center differential, into an Audi road car. So they took an Audi 80 and completely revamped its powertrain and drivetrain to fit a Toren-based all-wheel drive system underneath. The, they gave it a turbocharged five-cylinder engine, as it needed some extra grunt to power than heavy all-wheel drive system, and the Audi Quattro was born.
At the time, four-wheel drive vehicles were barred from WRC (World Rally Championship) racing. However, the rules changed soon after and the Audi Quattro went rally racing. Once in the WRC, the Ur Quattro dominated, becoming one of the most successful rally cars in history and was piloted by such legendary drivers as Walter Röhrl and Michèle Mouton.
If you’re an Audi fan, this video is a must watch. It provides a great history lesson about the Audi Quattro, short but sweet, and also shows us how the car drives in action. We’re also super jealous and want to drive one now.