If You're Not First....

There's no other way of getting from point to point faster than rallying.

A new set of regulations set in place by FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) for WRC (World Rally Championship) in 1979 meant that four-wheel drive was allowable for competition. The series was updated due to growing interest from automobile manufacturers and an increase in favourable competition to participate in rallying.

Group "B," "A," or "N" required a certain number of road-going cars for homologation purposes, and the cars were separated into different classes by engine displacement. The organization established 2000, 2500, 3000 and 4000cc categories. Cars that used power adders (such as turbos or superchargers) had their displacement reduced to be competitive. For example, 3000cc would be divided by 1.4 to equal 2143cc (or 2.15 litres) as maximum engine size with forced induction.

A high-performance four-wheel-drive car was proposed by Audi's chassis engineer, Jörg Bensinger, for motorsports after he concluded that Volkswagen's Iltis military vehicle could outperform other vehicles when tested in the snow. Audi produced a developmental prototype based on the 80 coupe (known as the 4000 in North America) with great results on rallying stages and greenlit it for production.

The new Quattro Coupe would be the first front-engined turbocharged four-wheel drive car, with Subaru's Leone and the AMC Eagle debuting shortly before it as some of the first cars to send power to all four wheels. The Quattro took advantage of the new FIA rulings, adding flared arches to its liftback design and otherwise keeping it simple. The interior consisted of minimal creature comforts such as highly-bolstered Recaro seats to keep the occupants in place.

The Quattro Coupe would win many stages over the new few seasons piloted by Michèle Mouton, the first woman to win a WRC driver's title and further helping Audi win multiple constructors titles with her behind the wheel. The Quattro Coupe would debut here in Canada for the 1983 model year after much success, being sold until 1986. In those three years, only 99 units would make it to the land of maple syrup, and this is one of them.

Powering the Audi coupe is a "WX" 2.1 litre inline-five equipped with a single overhead camshaft, K27 turbocharger, air-to-air intercooler, and Bosch Jetronic fuel-injection all combine to produce 160hp and 210lb/ft of torque, muffled by a mandated catalytic converter (This engine combo was only available for North America, Japan and Switzerland due to advanced emissions control). Power is sent through a 5-speed manual transmission and out to all four wheels via front, center and rear differentials. This makes the Quattro capable of shooting from 0-100km/h (62mph) in 7.1s, through the quarter-mile in 14.9s and onto a top speed of 222km/h (138mph). In addition, the center and rear diffs are unique to the Quattro, carrying vacuum-operated lockers to promote positive power engagement.

Being based on the 80 means, the Quattro employs Macpherson strut front suspension and a multi-link setup at the rear. Braking is handled by single-piston calipers all around combined with vented and solid discs. Additionally, 15" Ronal Aluminum wheels wrapped originally in Pirelli P5 tires help to ensure the power gets put down to whatever surface the Quattro may end up traversing.

This little coupe from Ingolstadt changed the face of not only rallying but the direction of performance cars, and we have Audi to thank for that.

- Team 604

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