Audi Quattro: The Legend Is Back

I’d heard about this concept making an appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show a few months ago, and in an excited frenzy almost wrote a short piece about the return of a legend. Judging by the artist’s sketches, especially side-on, there are nuances of its 80s predecessor… this could be a car to start salivating over.

However, despite impressive figures, power stats equating to the dizzying heights of Group B rally, I wondered if Audi had created a car worthy of the original’s legendary status.

So I decided to leave this piece until a few more discerning eyes had cast their eyes over it at Frankfurt and translate their collective thoughts into the article.

If you are a traditionalist you may not take to the idea of the original S1 being bought back to life with the help from electricity. That’s right, this new monster is a Hybrid. If you think back to Audi’s concept in 2010, Paris got to see something a little more along the lines of an all out rally machine in the form of a turbocharged five-cylinder engine with an amazing exhaust note. That was never going to be built for production but it looked very similar to this latest concept.

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Even though this Hybrid may not go down too well with some, Audi have used the most advanced technology available, just like they did with the original S1. Three decades is a long time, so in some respects traditionalists should like the fact Audi have applied their philosophy in using the very best of what’s available to develop an all out maniac of car like the S1.

So what we have here is a 690-bhp V8 coupe that is most-likely going into production at some point. It is being built by a company that changed the automotive world with 4WD technology. It’s also being built by the people who created the almighty R8. So it has the ability to be extremely fast in a straight line and face-warpingly grippy around bends.

Although sporty in looks, this seemingly innocuous car houses  Lamborghini Aventador power at 690-bhp. I suppose this is a kind of sleeper car – looking at it you’d think it sat in the 200-250-bhp range.

62-mph comes at a jaw-dropping 3.7sec and tops out at 189-mph. Yes, the R8 and its mighty V10 beats it to 62-mph by 0.2sec, but that’s due to the batteries and their added weight.

Its V8 features cylinder deactivation and an engine stop-start system for fuel savings. A lithium-ion battery stores enough power for its electric only mode to cover 31 miles should the driver want to operate under electric power alone.

The Sport Quattro’s drivetrain is a complex, 4WD driven by a plug-in hybrid setup. The 552bhp/516lb ft 4.0-L twin-turbo V8  is mated to a 110kW/295lb ft electric motor, powered by a rear-mounted lithium-ion battery.

Not that petrolheads will care but thanks to the hybrid tech, CO2 emissions come in at a claimed 59g/km. Now for the amazing bit: fuel economy is rated at 113mpg!  That means you can drive hard and not break the bank – is this too good to be true?

I personally can’t wait to see one and have full confidence it will impress all round. More importantly, I think Audi have done what they do best with this one, and that’s producing a car that will transform future cars and their development, just like they did 30 years ago with the S1.

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Wagons Are Cool

I’ve recently decided wagons are cool, and despite owning a WRX wagon, I’ve never really thought about them before. I have fond memories of lifting the rear door so my dogs could easily just hop in and have loads of room to fight whilst I tried to drive. The fact it was a WRX meant it didn’t even feel big; it effectively matches the saloon WRX in performance.

This all came about after I caught up with season 4 of Fast N’ Loud and watched an episode featuring a wagon made especially for NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. Although fairly rare now, Richard Rawlings found a decent 56 Chevy Nomad for Earnhardt Jr and let his bearded genius, Aaron Kaufman go to town it.

The colours were specifically chosen as a kind of homage to his sponsor Mountain Dew (energy drink). I think it looks fantastic, almost as good as their Sleeper wagon below.

Now this is undoubtedly cool. Gas Monkey Garage did an amazing job of keeping the car’s battle-scarred and weather-worn looks by treating the metal and simply clear-coating it. Stick on some wheels, slam it and insert a big engine and voilĂ !

Over in Europe, we have our own cool wagons (estates). Take this BMW 325i Touring above, for example. It’s a pretty sought after vehicle now, and back in the day was considered a different breed. Now you could fit a large family and the kitchen sink in the back of your car and still have plenty of performance at your disposal.

This concept obviously worked and other manufacturers caught on. Its success was down to practicality and the ability to maintain a “cool” status like the W124 above.

One of my favourite modern estates would have to be the Audi RS4. Around the turn of the century, this model gave the estate/performance concept a further kick in the pants with a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds!

Not only that, but it’s a real looker too. If I should happen to have kids (God forbid) and the wife demands a spacious means of transport, it’s this beast above I’ll come home with – I’ll look like the practical husband out shopping for the family, and at the same time I’ll be happy in the knowledge I could out drag a Porsche.