Paul Horrell30 September 2010

Audi Quattro is reborn in Paris

Audi celebrates 30th anniversary of legendary Quattro with lightweight, RS5-based show-car

Audi Quattro Concept

 

It's 30 years since the Audi Quattro rocked the sports-car world, and Audi wants to remind of us that fact. Very badly wants to remind us. Oh yes, look how much trouble Audi has gone to.

This is the Audi Quattro Concept, unveiled at the Paris show. It's a one-off show-car homage to the ur-Quattro, and more specifically to the short-wheelbase Group B Quattro Sport rally car.

But it's not just about retro design fluff. The overall design - especially the nose and headlights - is dead modern and sets sail for a new era for the whole model range.

See more pics of the Quattro Concept

And the engineering is incredibly thorough. They aren't mucking about here, and we've spoken to several people at Audi, all the way to the top, and they're all optimistic that it'll go into production.

So if you were looking for a lightweight, cultish, Nissan GTR rival, you might have found your car.

 

The concept is loosely based on the RS5's mechanicals. Very very loosely. The engine is replaced. It's the five-cylinder out of the TT RS. But where the TT is transverse engined, the Quattro is longitudinal. A longitudinal five-cylinder 2.5-litre. Just like the original, then. Well yes, but this one has 408bhp.

An RS5 weighs 1,750kg. The new Quattro concept is dramatically less: just 1,300kg. Which is the same as the original. So we've got the same weight and a whole lot more ponies. We like the sound of this. It gets to 62mph in 3.9 seconds.

Compared with the chunky RS5, the pounds were shaved off by cutting 15cm out of the wheelbase, replacing much of the body steel with aluminium, and then going further by using carbon for the bonnet and hatch. And then things like the chassis and brakes could be made lighter, too.

Usually, concept cars take about six months to design. This one took two-and-a-half years. See, they're serious.

Quattro clues are everywhere: the black strip between the tail lamps, the black at the base of the inset rear windscreen (here a lifting spoiler). The shape of the rear pillar. The bonnet air intake, and the turbo vent on one side only. Even the instrument binnacle has echoes. And it carries digital instruments. But not the Pac-Man era graphics of the ur-Quattro.

Most of all, it's the sheer hellacious pugnacity of the thing. It just says ‘throw me down a narrow twisty slippery roadway'. And we ache to do just that.

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