• Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi

Vital Stats

Engine:
2.1L Turbo I5
Power:
302 HP / 258 LB-FT
Transmission:
5-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
4.7 Seconds (est.)
Top Speed:
155 MPH
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
2,866 LBS
Seating:
2+2
MPG:
15 City / 22 HWY (est.)
Base Price:
$100k+ (est. in 1984)
There I was, standing next to this 1984 Audi Sport Quattro painted Malachite Green – one of only 15 units ever delivered in said color – in the northern Italian mountain town of Merano. I was about to be encouraged to tear-ass over a few famous high altitude passes in this short-wheelbase iconic machine.

The Sport Quattro street version was a homologation program car to let the Audi S1 Group B cars qualify to go nuts in the World Rally Championship circuit in the mid-1980s. So, only roughly so many as were necessary for this homologation were built (in this case 214 total) and sold at really heady prices ($100k+ back in the day), hence the rarity of having any shot at actually driving one of them over the types of roads for which they were really designed. Much less driving it as it was meant to be driven to the best of my abilities.

Once upon a time, short wheelbase sportscars were the cure for finding maximum agility. The theory was to make them as tossable as possible in order to make curves your allies in beating pants off your competition. With quattro all-wheel drive, the tossing with the Sport Quattro is different, the goal being to get set up on the right line so you can then just hammer it through and out, thereby making the absolute most of every subsequent (relatively) straight section.

Driving Notes
  • There's nothing quite as hearken-back-worthy as a fragrant leatherette interior with tall cabin windows, only adequate "sport" seats from the 1980s and a bare naked five-speed manual shifter tapping against your right knee every now and again.
  • Of course, this was a perfectly maintained Sport Quattro from the Audi Heritage attic. I was barely able to heel-and-toe it smoothly with the pedal placement, frequently opting not to do so in favor of just moving my right leg more. The shifts from the five-speed were extremely sweet, too.
  • In 1984, there was no series production car with a greater specific power output. The in-line five-cylinder turbocharged longitudinal all-aluminum engine has a 2.1-liter capacity and chugs out 302 SAE horses at 6,700 rpm and 258 pound-feet peaking at 3,700 rpm. Yes, there is turbo lag in boat loads, but you need to learn to never lug it. Keep revs north of 3,200 rpm and she's a smooth rocket.
  • Tthe body was entirely crafted of a combination of bullet-proof aramid fabric, fiberglass and Kevlar by limited-production coachbuild specialist Baur of Stuttgart. This custom work was necessary for maximum weight savings and rigidity, but also because the Sport Quattro slices 12.4 inches off the wheelbase of the standard Quattro. Total curb weight is quoted at 2,866 pounds and the Sport Quattro drives like something this light and abridged.
  • The standard wheelset here is four 15-inch-by-9-inch Ronals and my treads were heritage-style 225/50 ZR15 Pirelli P Zero Asimmatrico. There is always thought to be some archaic disadvantage to using such a setup, but I beg to differ. Along with the unique driving style required for these shorter wheelbase racers, the hooking-up advantages of winter-style traction patches on all four corners on these roads are notable.
  • Firsts for Audi in the Sport Quattro were also the cross-flow engine head, four valves per cylinder and early ABS braking. They knew it was early and imperfect, so here you can also deactivate the system. Switching off ABS was a neat trick with this particular car and I vastly preferred the feeling of pedal input equaling actual braking desired with it deactivated.
  • You have to love a four-spoke steering wheel in this rectangular style; great grab-on spots are everywhere. The other nice bit is that the nimbleness at speed of the truncated-wheelbase chassis translates perfectly through the steering wheel, especially once you're flowing from curve to curve and keeping those revs up through the Pirellis, knowing when to stay with second gear or third gear and using fourth almost exclusively on briskly sailing downhill sections.
  • What a thrill this all was for around 150 miles of nothing but asphalt amusement park driving. An honor.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      AcidTonic
      • 1 Year Ago
      Came for the engine bay shots..... aaaaaaaaand there was none.
        Matthew Davis
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        I had some taken on my smartphone and sent them with the folder of other images. Perhaps the resolution was not compatible with the Gallery requirements. Sorry.
      Dan Murphy
      • 1 Year Ago
      The color of that Sport Quattro is called Goodwood Green…. Which ironic as I'm sure Matt was sporting good wood whilst driving it!
      Bungle
      • 1 Year Ago
      That interior actually looks fairly modern for a 30-year-old car.
      imag
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why make this a quick spin. Surely, after driving it, you could have more to say. Most of your "driving impressions" are stats and facts that could be observed without driving the car. " the hooking-up advantages of winter-style traction patches on all four corners on these roads are notable." Could that be sentence be any more bland?
        Matthew Davis
        • 1 Year Ago
        @imag
        imag - Of course I would have liked writing a full feature, but the decision was out of my hands a bit. Autoblog carries such stories on such cars very rarely, so it was nice to do at least a QSpin.
      Kent Kangley
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm so envious of you, Mr. Davis. I've lusted after a Sport Quattro for nearly 30 years. To drive a perfectly preserved example would be a dream come true.
      Willie
      • 1 Year Ago
      i understand why this cars cool, but i imagine this as one of those hero cars i never want to drive, pretty much because audi's drive like pigs.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Willie
        pretty sure that's why it won so many championchips in rallye spec.
        Dan Murphy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Willie
        Really Willie… I owned an Audi R8 and it did not drive like a pig. My dogs car is an 07 Audi A-4 Avant, chipped to almost 300hp and I assure you that it drives really well. I had a C5 Vette… I never warmed to that car.
        JayP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Willie
        I'd drive it full well knowing it is a nose-heavy pig. A 300hp, turbo monster SWB pig.
      m3jordi
      • 1 Year Ago
      Car & Driver just labeled this one of the ten worst supercars of all time. Sensationalist? Maybe.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the best cars from the 1980's.
      Max Fortino
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the worst B Group ever made, said even by Walter Rhorl, it was all about the wrong engine disposition/weight distribution, beyond the front axle so the car was very understeering and too reactive, that's why was surclassed by the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 before and then by the Lancia Delta S4, these two finest french and italian beasts were the best B group in the bunch with a perfect weight disposition and the best handling possible.
        JayP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Max Fortino
        Audi was hard headed about leaving the car as close to production based as possible. By the time they came around with the quattro Gruppe S car, the those cars were banned.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      There is a spot for one of these in my dream garage.
      You missed it
      • 1 Year Ago
      You are given a chance to drive (not just get behind the wheel, but DRIVE) this ... and all you give us is the Notes? For shame, so much jorno potential wasted. I opened this article expecting a 3 course meal of a read, but it was only smell of a gourmet candy shop that one passes on a weekend's downtown walk.
        Matthew Davis
        • 1 Year Ago
        @You missed it
        Decision was out of my hands. Autoblog is not in the habit of doing much with these sorts of drives due to the prevailing audience preferences. Hey, a QSpin is better than nuthin.
      ERNSTEVERYTHING
      • 1 Year Ago
      Best car of all time.. Been lucky enough to have been a passenger in one.. :)
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