The Audi S1 Quattro crushed Group B rally racing in the late ’80s. It was an absolute monster and one of the most iconic rally cars of all time. One of the main reasons why it was so brilliant, aside from its incredibly innovative Quattro all-wheel drive system, was its engine. The Audi S1 Quattro’s 2.1 liter turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine made 444 bhp in rally racing-spec. However, its power was the not what made it so famous. What made the little turbo-five famous was its noise.
In this video, we get to see a Group B Audi S1 Quattro rip through some tight European streets and we get to hear that glorious engine loud and clear. Thanks to its odd firing order and massive turbo, the Audi S1 Quattro’s turbo five-pot is one of the most charismatic engines we’ve ever heard. It makes burbly growl at low revs, which becomes a buzzing howl at high revs. It sounds like a genuine racing engine because, well, it is. As the S1 Quattro slows down for a corner, on downshifts, you can hear the turbo flutter right before it fires out of the corner and that five-cylinder growls and wails again.
We love this engine and this car and listening to it scream and flutter is simply intoxicating. There are some engines that have history, there are some engines that make great noises. There are few engines that have both. The original turbocharged five-cylinder engine in Audi’s Quattro rally cars was simply brilliant and one of the greatest motorsport engines of all time. It’s no wonder that Audi continues to use turbo five-cylinders in many of its new cars, engines that are pretty incredibly themselves.
If you need a bit of a pick-me-up, grab some headphones, watch this video and crank the volume up. If the sound of that engine doesn’t give you an adrenaline rush, you might be dead inside.