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Of the legendary Audi Sport quattro, the car’s designer Peter Birtwhistle was recently quoted stating his 1984 creation “ looks awful ”. Purpose-built for sheer rallying dominance, beauty was never really the point. Not so with a most modern interpretation Audi showed off last September in Paris. Audi designers and engineers endeavored to both spiritually recapture the high-efficiency and high performance themes of the original car, and also to pair these themes with a universally gorgeous shape. Have they succeeded? Initial public response would suggest they have done so as far as looks. However photos and impressive specs on paper are only part of the story, so we jumped at the chance when Audi offered to let us behind the wheel of the quattro Concept in Malibu, California.

We spent a whole day on location in Malibu with the car and several key figures in the car’s creation. Driving it was an important component but only part of the experience. It turns out the story we have to share is too long to publish in one piece so we’ve paired it down to three main portions; the background story, the driving experience and finally, whether or not the car will be built. Starting today and continuing through Monday and Tuesday we invite you to follow the story on Fourtitude.

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If I'm correct, George, wasn't the normal Quattro a fairly expensive car when it came out? It would cost probably the equivalent of at least the S5 of today, if not the RS 5.

And here's an interesting figure. In Quentin Wilson's Great Cars book, he noted that of the 1200 or so cars that Audi made everyday in the mid-'80s, only about 3-4 were Ur-Quattros. But, of course, Audi probably now makes a lot more than 1200 cars per day, and with the R8 GT have 333 built per production run, Audi can't just make 225 of the new Quattro. That reeks of Panther making the Rio in the '70s, a car based on the British Leyland Triumph Dolomite. The Dolomite was a rather sporty car that, in spite of intrinsic BL issues, was good value for money, like the Audi S4 and the BMW 335i series of today. However, the Rio, in spite of it's rather simple Dolomite origins, cost at least 3 times more than the Dolomite Sprint that it was based off of--which back then was pretty damn close to Rolls-Royce territory. And only 38 were built. Obviously, one can see the problem there.

Perhaps Audi can use the ASF-II lightweight/high strength steel and aluminum unitbody construction similar to what the TT, A7 and the new A6 use to keep weight down and cost down as well. Or maybe even an aluminum semi-monocoque unitbody like the A8, which, considering that, isn't that expensive compared to the BMW 7 series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the Beemer uses a mostly aluminum unitbody and the S-class has a mostly steel unitbody, and needs more powerful engines to get the performance in the upper range versions.

Granted, this is a balance--making the car practical for production while maintaining the spirit of the concept. But then again, the Audi R8 is considerably different from the LM quattro concept--it looks a lot different, and has been productionized as pointed out in your article. Also, the A5/S5/RS 5 are a lot different than the the Nuvolari concept that inspired them. However, the spirit of the original concept is there, merely productionized and modified with considerations to the real world.

But Audi has done this better than most have, and I think that even if it gains weight, Audi will find a way to keep power and effiency up, while appeasing tradtionalist. Or they can specially build the cars to order, but that's just doing what VAG partner Bentley does, and you could have a Continental GT for that money, and you'd get a more luxurious and poweriful car. And that is similar to what Audi and quattro GmbH do with the R8 to begin with.

Trying to keep cost reasonable an having a ROI/profit margin while sticking as close to possible to the original themes and finding its place in the line up will be the biggest hurtals to real production. It's just like book to movie adaptions, like two of my favorites, Speak and the Twilight Saga. Yes, the script writers and produces left some things out to keep from making a 3+ hour long movie, but the themes and thus the spirit are there, and that's what matters. Having appear to be substancially different to the LM quattro hasn't hindered R8 sales, hasn't it? Because both cars are in the spirit of the old R8 LM/ALMS car.

All Audi has to do for me is maintain the spirit of the concept, and, above all else, the spirit of the original car.
 

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I'm in

George,

I AM IN

I sent a note to my dealer GM. "Please help me get this car!"

This is a perfect niche car. Audi (R8 e-tron), Porsche (918 Spyder), and Jab (C-X75) are all going to exotic powetrains for efficiency but also to help separate those super cars form the pack. If this car can fit in below those, delivering similar performance with great efficiency from more "standard" drivetrains, it really makes its case strongly!

Price-wise I'm hoping Audi finds a way to build this as a stepping stone to the refreshed R8 in MY 2013.

Otherwise - I hope they make it exactly like the the concept in every single way possible!
 

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It seems like Audi could cut down the initial investment somewhat by using the interior from the A5. To me the most exciting aspects of this car are the lightweight ASF body, the 5 cylinder turbo engine, and the exterior styling. The interior, while an interestingly retro nod to the original, isn't essential, and I actually prefer the more stylish and graceful dash design of the A5. It's also worth noting that the UR-Quattro and the Sport Quattro both used a dash and interior derived from the normal coupe. It seems appropriate that a car repeating the configuration of the Sport Quattro also have an interior derived from the basic coupe it is based off of. At any rate, I sure hope Audi does build this car. I like the design more and more every time I look at it.
 

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If I'm correct, George, wasn't the normal Quattro a fairly expensive car when it came out? It would cost probably the equivalent of at least the S5 of today, if not the RS 5.
Yes, they were expensive - in fact, they stickered at 49,900 German marks, which was about $20,000 then, or in today's dollars is between $70,000 - $80,000, depending on how you measure it. The Sport quattro MSRP'd at 203,85- German Marks, which was about $80,000 then, or $200,000+ of today's dollars.

Of course, my currency conversions could be terribly off, too.

-Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In their time the ur quattros were slightly more than a 911 (of the same year). So the ur quattro was maybe more spiritually akin to the RS 5. The Sport quattro was exotic pricing.

As for the interior, the Sport quattro actually used its own dash that was different from the ur quattro. Some buttons and such were carried over but the dash had molded additional gauges to the right of the main cluster and I believe it used a 100/200 cluster. The move was an odd one given the small production run.

In regards to interior in the concept, it is all carbon fiber wrapped in leather and is likely significant in the car's managing such a light overall weight. I suspect the push internally is to continue the practice envisioned by the concept.

Some concepts like Le Mans were paired down a bit (actually close in design but lost the twin turbo engine). TT though was astonishingly in-line with the concept and I suspect that sort of carryover is what they're shooting for here.
 

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I have a 83 Urquattro right now, love it!!! When are you going to build this one for sale? Want it!!!

If you will never build it for sale, send me the engine......
The engine is the same as the TT RS engine only with some welding to get it in the quattro concept.
The engine in it, is far from photographic ready.
 

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The weight savings mixed with the power output create a vehicle with a power-weight ratio on par with that of the Audi R8 5.2 FSI.

Read More... http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/29/audi-quattro-concept/
That sounds like this is going to be an amazing machine. I am crossing my fingers and hoping this actually comes to fruition as a production model. Also it looks insanely good in silver.
 

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I know this article is old, as is the reveal of the Detroit e-tron, but while looking at pictures yesterday I just realized that this new UR Quattro and the Detroit e-tron are all but identical. Has that connection already been made and I just missed it? Are these two cars on the same chassis (built on the A5) or are they on different chassis and just happen to look almost exactly the same as far as exterior is concerned?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
They do look quite similar don't they. I even met the Detroit e-tron concept exterior designer while in Malibu (there filling in for the quattro concept designer who had to leave). Still, they're not the same. quattro is MLB-evo, front longitudinal engine.... like an RS 5 but with a shortened wheelbase.

In person, the Detroit e-tron is smaller. Wolfgang Egger told me its footprint was more like a current-gen A1. He said if it did have an engine (it has an electric motor) it would be a mid engine. The proportions throw that off, but that's still the case. Such an engine would be transverse, so the Detroit e-tron exposed Audi's ideas regarding the mid engine transverse 'Bluesport' platform.
 

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Got it. Now that you mention it I do remember reading that the Detroit e-tron was on the smaller side of audi footprints. At the end of the day, it seems the two designers must go out for drinks with each other to chat about car design at the very least.

Is the Quattro greenlit yet? Would it be outfitted with the 2.5TFSI that "the Beast" has been rolling with? Any speculation on pricepoint? My assumption is that with the R8 5.2 and the GT now being sold that the Quattro might come in around the same price as an R8 4.2. But I have no science to back that up.
 

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I have a lot of doubts about the production version of this car.
I even heart rumors that if it comes it will have the RS5 4.2 V8 engine under the bonnet.
The 2.5 TFSI engine is not really suited for longitudinal use, it's designed for transverse use.
 
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