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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Firstly, apologies, I haven't strictly followed the new reviewing system but I will try and do so in the future. I also failed to find any decent pictures of the quattro and I haven't got a digital camera, so if anyone else can find any, please add them on.

Audi quattro, a brief history lesson

The Audi quattro (small "q" on purpose ) was based on Audi's new coupe bodyshell which itself was based on the recent Audi 80. At this particular point in time Audi were starting to go through a technical revolution and were pioneering some fantastic automotive technologies. In 1983 they launched the Audi 100 which was the first car to have a drag coefficent of 0.30, they were the first mainstream manufacturer to fully galvanise most of their cars and offer a 10 year anti corrosion warranty ( although Porsche may have done it first, I am not quite sure of the dates ). They were the first manufacturer to use and develop the 5 cylinder engine layout throughout their product range and they invented the rather clever pro con ten safety system which utilised engine movement in an impact to pull the steering wheel and dash out of harms way whilst tensioning the seatbelts.

The quattro was launched at the Geneva motorshow in March 1980, it wasn't the first car to feature four wheel drive ( Jensen Interceptor was much earlier ) and Audi weren't the first company to use turbocharging ( Various Saabs had come before ), but the combination of the two was unique and Audi showed the world ( which at this time believed 4 wheel drive to be the preserve of agricultural vehicles and of no use in a road car ) that these two elements could deliver devastating all weather cross country pace. To prove this new technology Audi went rallying and in the early years wiped the floor with everything else, by the time the competition was catching up Group B had been born and the final rally quattros had 550 + bhp ( But that is another story ). The automotive press went nuts for the quattro and the car was heaped with praise, back in the early 80's when 240 horsepower Ferraris were considered supercars, the quattro was a revelation as it gave everyday people access to extraordinary performance that could be used all the time. Make no mistake, the Audi quattro had a revolutionary effect on the motor industry and gave birth to the concept of the affordable performance car, without the quattro there would be no Cosworths , no Scooby Impreza turbos, no Mitsi Evos or any other reasonably priced nutter wagons that have forced sports saloons and supercars to become even more powerful in order to justify their premium.

At the time the quattro was launched, Audi were slipping their recent 5 cylinder engines in everything, 5 cylinders were chosen as a halfway house between the compact economy of a 4 pot and the refined power of a six pot. For those who have never experienced a 5 cylinder engine, they really are wonderful, they have a lovely off beat warble which gives the car they are installed in bags of character. The early Audi engines were rather gruff and coarse but turbocharging smoothed them out and added some boost whistle, in my opinion there are few nicer sounding cars than a well pedalled Audi quattro.

The quattro landed in the UK ( Incidentally, the car's largest market ) in March 1981 with a 2144cc 5 cylinder, 10 valve, intercooled and turbocharged engine producing 200 bhp at 5500 rpm and 210 lbsft at 3500 rpm, it was left hand drive only.

October 1982 - RHD version launched

1983 model year - single piece headlamps, some suspension revisions

1984 model year - ABS as standard and now fitted with digital instrument panel and infamous talking dash, there were some trim and button revisions and the 8 inch ronals replaced the 6 inchers, now giving the quattro it's well known aggressive stance.

1988 model year, engine upgraded to 2226 cc ( in line with all other 2.2 Audi in line 5's ), now with hydraulic tappets, lower compression ratio and smaller water cooled turbo. No increase in power or torque but max torque was developed lower down the rev range and turbo lag was reduced. Most important was the adoption of the torsen (TORque SENsing ) diff that could split power up to 75% in either direction when grip was lost, and the death of the silly voice in the dash.

1990 model year, the last quattro,, now with heavily revised straight five with a new 20 valve head, 220 bhp at 5900 rpm and 228 lbsft at just 1950 rpm. Now with catalytic convertors, this wonderful engine (smooth and powerful) was also used in the S2, S4 and the Porsche engineered RS2 ( dustbin sized turbo amongst other things ). Also fitted with leather trimmed dash and 3 spoke Personal steering wheel.

The model is part of the recently launched millenium series and comes in a proper box rather than a window box like the peformance series, the accompanying literature describes the model as a 1988 car with 200 bhp. This then, I would assume is a model of the 1988 model year car, a 10 valve 2226 cc car , however, the engine in the model has a cam cover with the badge " 20v turbo " and the interior has a Personal 3 spoke steering wheel. So, it would seem that they have modelled the 20 valve quattro, not the car they are describing, it's not a major problem but it is a little slapdash nonetheless.

Exterior - In a word, fantastic, these millenium series models do seem to be a cut above the usual AUTOart performance items, the level of detail and accuracy of scale is astounding for a £ 50 model and this really is one of the few models I have seen that looks "real" from almost every angle. The paint is thick and lustrous and the panels gaps and edging are well crafted, the chrome highlights ( the badge and the door handle strip ) are well reproduced and the lighting, grilles and window trims are neat and very accurate. Overall this is a stunning representation of a stunning car and I cannot see how anyone could be disappointed with the exterior presentation of this model.

Interior - Again a decent reproduction of the original, but not to as high a standard as the exterior. The door trim and the dash and seats are accurately moulded and the interior and boot are actually carpeted, most of the metal highlights have been picked out and there are some nice material seatbelts with little buckles and seat height adjust levers, but the pedals seem to be out of scale ( too large and clumsily moulded ) and the switch pod on the binnacle is not as clearly defined as I would like. Whilst I am moaning, the audi sport badge on the steering wheel is crappy and the indicator stalks aren't the best, however, it is far from disappointing but just not as good as it could have been ( especially in light of the new Kyosho 5 series ).

Chassis - Underbody and underbonnet detailing is very good, the engine may seem a little bare, but the 20 valve quattro was much neater under the bonnet than the earlier 10 valves. The major suspension, diff and exhaust components are well detailed and picked out, but as I have never seen underneath a real quattro, I couldn't tell you if anything was missing or inaccurately reproduced. The suspension does not work, but I think this is a good thing as the car sits very well and has an accurate stance just like the real thing as the ride height is set. The wheels and tyres are excellent , the 15 by 8 inch Ronals have been superbly copied and they fit the arches just as they do in the original, the brakes are well detailed, the solid discs rotate freely of the calipers and look superb.

Overall - Superb, I was really chuffed when I first heard AUTOart were doing the quattro and after waiting a year to get one I was not disappointed. They really have done an outstanding job that couldn't be bettered for the money. It certainly bodes well for the other millenium series 80's classics and I expect the E30 M3s, the M635s and the SWB quattros in particular to be just as good. The only other company I am aware of that will produce the quattro is Sunstar who will be doing a few rally versions, but I doubt they will be as half as good as the AUTOart car. So, if you love quattros then you have to buy this model, it's brilliant.

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cool, didn't realise you could get those pics from the AUTOart website.

They must be pics of a prototype as the wing mirrors and headlights look a little wonky.
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