Arguably the greatest driver's car of the 80's, the
original Audi Quattro had superb handling due to its innovative
The Quattro was also innovative in that Audi had become
the first car maker to put full-time 4wd to mass production.
That's easy to understand, since the contemporary 4wd
systems of the time were heavy, energy-inefficient and
expensive. Moreover, for most road cars, 4wd was always
thought to be unnecessary.
Ferdinand Piech, chief of the Audi's engineering department,
also a member of the Porsche family, thought different.
He believed 4wd not only could win world rally championship
(which was Audi's core racing program) but could also
help improving the handling of cars.
Under his leadership, engineers developed a lighter
and more efficient 4wd system called Quattro (means "4"),
which used 3 differentials - one between front wheels,
one in the rear and a center differential responsible
for dividing torque between front and rear axles. As
a result, energy waste was reduced a lot.
Other parts of the car were also impressive. Although
based on the model "Audi Coupe" to cut cost, Quattro
was wider, more elegant and beautifully styled (especially
the wide C-pillar).
Power came from a turbocharged version of the distinctive
5-cylinder engine which output 200 hp. Handling was first
class, with plenty of feel so that it's great fun to drive.
Besides, cabin space was as large as a sedan, since the
Audi Coupe was derived from Audi 80. Quattro was so perfectly
engineered that even its second generation could not match
its pure steering feel. Therefore it is still regarded
as the best Audi ever built.