Audi Unveils Quattro Concept to Celebrate its Original Rally Monster's 30th Birthday

Audi has finally revealed its 'quattro concept' in Paris to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original car's 1980 debut. The new quattro, much like the original, gets driven around the rally stages of your dreams by a turbocharged 5-cylinder.

In this case, though, the 2.5-liter unit makes 408-horsepower / 300 kW and uses a 6-speed manual transmission to drive all four 20-inch wheels with 480 Nm / 354 lb-ft. Behind the center-locking dubs are carbon-ceramic discs wearing 6-piston grippers.

With its high-output 5-pot and diet, the new quattro is said to be able to spring to 100 km/h / 62 mph in a scant 3.9 seconds and return a fuel economy of 8.5 liters/100 km (27.67 mpg US).

That's fairly quick and efficient, and it's all thanks to a fantastic 9.48 lb / horsepower ratio and a huge weight reduction.

Using the venerable RS5 as a starting point, designers have cut 150 millimeters (5.9 inches) out of the wheelbase - now 2.6 meters - and chopped the roof by 40 mm in order to save weight from the get-go. Dimensions officially come in at 4.28 m long, 1.86 m wide, and 1.33 m tall.

In order to reach a svelte 1,300 kilograms / 2,866 lbs (200 kilos / ~441 lbs less than the TT RS), Audi used an abundance of aluminum and carbon fiber. The carbon fiber was primarily used for the hood, hatch, spoiler, and other bits. Designers have also thrown out the rear seats, which have been replaced with a helmet / luggage shelf.

Within the front fascia is an all-LED light setup (same goes for the rear), between which sits Audi's signature wide-mouth grille. Move to the front wide-body fenders and appreciate that underneath lies a 5-link suspension with "key components" in aluminum.

At the rear, the separate springs and dampers of the track-controlled trapezoidal-link suspension use elastic bearings as mounts on the steel subframe. Now look at it from about 20 feet back and you'll see that the fenders just appear to be too integrated and not sharp enough to do the original car justice.

Open the door to see a very nicely detailed (albeit a bit spartan) interior. The two 18-kilo passenger seats have either three- or four-point harnesses, while the driver faces a fully digital display which has two modes, "normal" and "race". If opting for race mode, Audi says the graphics "revisit and refine" the Ur-quattro's digital display.

Above the readout, Audi has given the driver some more throwbacks: four buttons (two on each side) to control the stopwatch and MMI functions. One such multimedia function is the neat web-radio, which uses a cell phone to connect to radio stations worldwide. Need more? There's also a readout of the rally driver's "prayer book" (track description) available in race mode.

So, dear readers, is this a fitting tribute to the original bad boy of rallying, or is this simply another marketing campaign using the memory of awesomeness to push some more product?

By Phil Alex