Audi Still Wants to Bring Back the Quattro
Audi has been dangling an all-new Quattro in front of our noses since it showed off the first of its new Quattro concepts 2010. The original Quattro was introduced in 1980 and redefined what a sports car could be. Under its boxy, yet sporty, coupe shape was a turbocharged five-cylinder engine and a repurposed all-wheel-drive system from the Volkswagen Type 183 Iltis military vehicle. It went out and dominated Group B rallying and continues to define Audi’s corporate philosophy.
Like the original, the 2010 Quattro concept was powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder displacing 2.5 liters and featured Audi’s AWD system of the same name. It looked utterly fantastic and it pushed all the right buttons for fans of exciting cars. Then, all went silent, until the 2013 Audi Sport quattro concept was introduced. It featured similar styling to the 2010 concept but was slightly larger and came with a V-8 powered 690 horsepower hybrid drivetrain. It was more grand tourer than rally special-stage bomber.
Whichever of the two concepts you prefer, you might be glad to know that Audi is still hard at work on a new Quattro. Speaking to Autocar at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Audi design director Marc Lichte says a new Quattro is still very much on the table. “We are working on Quattro, it is still alive,” Lichte said. He also hinted that the production version could be even more extreme than the concepts. “The two concepts we did had base potential but we can do something more extreme. We have restarted this project and made them more extreme. It’s still a secret though… There will be surprises.”
Note: Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight Concept pictured here.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi Quattro.
Why it matters
Audi’s current portfolio is so incredibly crowded that it’s difficult to predict where a new Quattro would fit in, but it’s safe to say it will probably be built on VAG’s MQB modular architecture chassis technology. In a perfect world it would sit somewhere between the 2016 Audi TT and the next A5 coupe, but that honestly seems like a tight fit, so it’s possible the Quattro could be closer in execution to the V-8 hybrid grand tourer of 2013.
Personally, I’d prefer to see something more in the spirit of the original Ur-Quattro — something that would fit between the Subaru WRX and Nissan GT-R in terms of both price and performance, but, you know, more German. We would love to see Audi’s excellent turbocharged five-cylinder under the hood, per the original concept, but the company seems to be winding down production of that engine, so the ubiquitous EA888, 2.0-liter turbo seems like an obvious go-to. Especially since VAG seems to be throwing it at every compact, sporty concept it rolls out.
No matter what shape it takes, the idea of a new Quattro is incredibly exciting, and going by what Mr. Lichte has said, it could be end up being way different from even our wildest speculations.