I’ve always love the Audi Sport Quattro, as it was just a homologated rally car that Audi had to develop so it could go rally racing. This meant that it had proper rally racing bits underneath its skin and had genuine blood ties to the thing that dominated on the dirt and in the mud. More so than usual, I’ve been in a bit of an Audi Quattro mood lately, obsessing over everything from the era when Audi finally became the four-wheel drive monster we know today.
This video is a very old one from Chris Harris, now of Top Gear fame, and you can really tell. The quality is nowhere near the quality of his more recent videos, but it’s still great to watch. In it, he first drives the Ford RS200 Group B Rally car which was just a prototype owned by Ford UK. It was a car that competed against the Audi Quattro back in the day and is a magnificent thing. It’s noisy and violent and difficult to drive but it all adds to that awesome rally experience.
After driving the Ford, Harris jumps into the Audi Sport Quattro and is immediately struck by how normal it feels. Compared to the Ford’s prototype spartan cabin, the Audi is nicely trimmed and has every modern day (of its time) luxury and convenience you could ask for. It has heated seats, power windows and leather-trimmed Recaro seats.
The 2.1 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine supposedly made over 300 hp, which is impressive as hell for the time and the turbo lag is immense. Yet, as Harris points out, that turbo lag is actually charming now. When driving an old rally car, you don’t want it to feel like a modern supercar, you want it to feel old-school and difficult. There’s charm to its lag and learning curve.
It’s a great video and one worth checking out, even though it’s old.