Wonder how a modern performance-tuned Audi stacks up to one of its racing ancestors? Watch this video and find out!
The 1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1 is — to put it mildly — a wicked-fast piece of kit. After all, it was designed to compete in Group B, the most terrifying era of rally that ever existed. But since time waits for no person or car, the fact that it’s nearly four decades old can’t be overlooked. So it’s interesting to see how this purpose-built racing machine compares to one of its modern, street-legal ancestors — like the current Audi RS 3. And fortunately, thanks to our friends across the Pond at carwow, it doesn’t have to be a bench race.
In this video, host Mat Watson lines up Ingolstadt’s latest ferocious compact sedan with the venerable S1, which is being driven by an Audi factory driver. As fans of the Four Rings know, both cars are packing turbocharged five-cylinders under the hood. But here, the power advantage goes to the older thoroughbred, as the RS 3 is producing 400 horsepower to the S1’s 500 ponies. And that’s despite the fact that its modern mill is up on displacement — as it’s 2.5-liters as opposed to 2.1-liters. Just goes to show that when daily drivability isn’t taken into consideration? Output can shoot into the stratosphere.
Given it’s a street car, which has things like air conditioning, infotainment, other creature comforts, and legions of safety nannies, the RS 3 is also over 1,000 pounds heavier than the race car. That’s a serious delta to overcome, even if it’s sporting a lightning-quick seven speed dual-clutch transmission, as opposed to the S1’s old-school six speed. Honestly, even though it’s not directly applicable here — as the S1 was never for sale at a dealership — one phrase kept running through my head watching this video. And that’d be: “The last days of the old technology are better than the first days of the new technology.”
Hopefully, that little tidbit didn’t spoil the video, because it’s amazingly fun, and frankly, it makes me jealous of folks who get to experience the glory of old race cars. Seeing something like this is a reminder of just how unhinged the performance of these old warriors was, and how frighteningly different it was than the road-going vehicles of the time. So check out the clip, and if you’ve gotten to pull a Ken Block and hammer on some old racing cars? Hit me up and tell me about it!