All the way to the track, I’d struggled to pin down the modern car that best represented what the Audi Quattro was in its day. I knew it was waiting there for me, and when I arrived I wanted to do so with a context, a reference point already fixed in my mind so that I could approach this genuine legend ready to grab hold of it and not be overawed by its status and history.
The Audi Quattro never really changed, visually, from first arrival in 1980 to end of the road in 1991. That’s not something that happens often, if ever. It won the World Rally Championship in 1983 and 1984. It spawned an entire generation of four-wheel-drive rally cars and rally-car wannabes. It won the gruelling Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with Michèle Mouton in 1985, setting a world record in the process. And it won again in 1987 with Walter Röhrl at the wheel.
Words: Richard Hammond
Pics: Justin Leighton
This feature first appeared in the August 2012 issue of Top Gear magazine