Past Legends Look Toward Future of Audi Quattro

Audi RS e-tron GT

With rally legends Stig Blomqvist and Fabrizia Pons, Audi DTM driver Nico Muller explores quattro’s past and future.

In 1980, Audi made a life-changing move for itself by introducing the quattro system to the world. No longer would all-wheel drive be the domain of trucks and agriculture. Now, passenger cars could use all corners to provide greater control on the road. Combined with high-performance, turbocharged engines, the new quattro carved a path for all cars to consider taking going forward.

In 2021, Audi’s quattro is now part of the electrification revolution in the overall auto industry. As a tribute, Audi’s YouTube channel enlisted their DTM driver, Nico Muller, to go back to where it all began: France’s Col de Turini. Of course, he wouldn’t be alone on this journey.

Audi Quattro

“Beginning of the Eighties, first ’82, you couldn’t believe the difference with two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive,” said rally legend Stig Blomqvist. “It was really nice, and the feeling was fantastic. I think Audi has done a good job before they started rallying because they wanted to show the rest of the world what four-wheel drive can do. Everybody was thinking, ‘Okay, it’s another Jeep system.’ But they soon find out it was a lot better than that.”

Blomqvist is one of a few to wield the might of the quattro in the Group B era. Through the ur-Quattro, Audi would not only rack up wins and records, but upend rallying forever with all four of its wheels. And what happens on race day translates to the showroom.

Audi RS e-tron GT

“In a combustion engine car, you have a single motor” said Audi Formula-E champion Lucas di Grassi. “You need a very complicated and sophisticated mechanical distribution with differentials and drive shafts to get this power and torque distributed in the four wheels.”

With the RS e-tron GT, computers and electric motors handle the job. Thus, performance is maximized. Blomqvist says the electric Audi outperforms his Group B terror. That’s certainly saying something.

Audi Quattro

“We had such a huge passion,” said rally legend Fabrizia Pons. “It didn’t matter at all how many nights we were not sleeping, and we were working, working, working. It’s important, the commitment. It’s important to know the car.”

Pons says her role as half of the first all-women rally duo with Michele Moulton didn’t hit her at first. Only years later did it occur to her how momentous and historic it was. She adds she’s always working toward the future, then and now, an attitude Audi knows well, especially with quattro.

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Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

Top 10 Most Iconic Audi Commercials of All Time

1986 Audi Quattro Ski Jump

Audi promotes its lineup like few others can. Here are the 10 most memorable ads to leave a four-ring stamp upon the world.

Do you remember how you first heard about Audi? Was it was a review in a magazine> Maybe your family has always been about the four rings of Ingolstadt? Or, perhaps, it was a TV commercial which grabbed your heart, and never let it go.

With that in mind, here are the 10 Audi commercials of all time which proved how awesome the company and its products truly are.

10. Let It Go

The Super Bowl is more than football for most viewers. It’s also an opportunity to see what the brands and advertisers do to promote new products. Audi is no stranger to the big game, dropping ads of their own over the decades. Here, Maisie Williams sings the iconic “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen, all the while driving the e-tron Sportback out of a maddening traffic scene towards serenity, and an electric future.

Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

Ken Block Hoons Audi V8 DTM Car & the e-tron Vision GT!

Ken Block drives DTMAudi was going to result in some epic videos. We have seen some already. And now we have another one. This time Block heads to Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany. From there he gets to choose two more ridiculous Audi racecars to hoon around in. They are both crazy fast, but they approach their speed in two very different ways. The first car is Hans Stuck’s championship-winning DTM car. The car is powered by a V8 engine that screams to 11,500 rpm. That is not a typo. 11,500 rpm from a V8. Then at Audi’s test track in Neuburg Block gets to drive the e-tron Vision GT. It may not scream like the V8, but it makes some pretty compelling noises of its own. The fun is all captured in a video recently posted on the Block’s YouTube channel.

Before we even get to the driving, we get a peek at some wonderful classic racecars in the Audi Museum. We suggest you have a towel nearby to wipe the drool off your desk. But before long it is time to drive, and Block is as excited as we are to get a turn in the DTM racecar. “I have never driven a high revving V8 Audi before.” Says Block. Somehow, we think he will get the hang of it fairly quickly. And the moment he fires up the V8 the smile on his face just says it all.

Ken Block drives e-tron Vision GT

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Hannu Mikkola’s Record-Breaking Run in the Quattro S1 E2 is INSANE!

Hannu Mikkola - Audi Quattro S1 E2

Documentary looks back on late rally legend Hannu Mikkola’s record-setting run at the 1985 1000 Lakes Rally Finland in the Quattro S1 E2.

When one thinks of Audi and rallying, it’s usually of the Quattro upending the old order. Guided by the likes of Michele Moulton, Walter Rohl and Stig Blomqvist, the all-wheel-drive missile dug its wheels deep into the earth to take several wins in the Group B era.

Another name to make their mark with the Quattro? The late Hannu Mikkola, who left this world for Valhalla in late February 2021. A short documentary by amjayes2 recounts one of Mikkola’s greatest moment during the 1985 1000 Lakes Rally Finland, made possible by the Quattro S1 E2.

Hannu Mikkola - Audi Quattro S1 E2

“When I drove with the S1 in Ouninpohja,” said Mikkola, “I had some engine issues, and we had gone off losing some time. In a fury state of mind, I though, ‘Let’s drive this home stage as well as we can.’ That went so fast with these powerful cars, it felt like you weren’t sitting in the car anymore, as if you were outside of it all.”

Packing up to 500 horsepower with a top speed of 137 mph, the Quattro S1 E2 howled, roared and chirped with a fury befitting the demonic chaos of Group B. Before Mikkola could reach the summit at the Ouninpohja stage, though, he and co-pilot Arne Hertz needed to survive all the 1000 Lakes threw at them.

Hannu Mikkola - Audi Quattro S1 E2

“Engine wouldn’t start,” Mikkola told an interviewer in the middle of the second day of the rally. “The organizers washed the cars with the pressure washers, wetting the engine and the power distributor, resulting in not starting.”

After losing a rear wing to some young trees at the first stage of the first day, the engine issue also resulted in a 30-second penalty. The organizers tried to add another minute to the penalty, which would’ve made things more difficult. The extra minute would be withdrawn, though, leaving the rally itself to deal more of its own punishment upon the Quattro.

Hannu Mikkola - Audi Quattro S1 E2

“Driving in Ouninpohja demands a lot of courage and a big heart,” Mikkola would say years later. Two attempts through failing brakes and a big oil leak later, he set the stage record: 11 minutes, 35 seconds. His average speed? Around 80 mph.

Alas, the record would be Mikkola’s greatest triumph at Rally Finland. Following two more stage wins, he’d never again win another, retiring after the death of fellow legend Henri Toivonen at the 1986 Corsica Rally. Yet, for one brief moment in time, Mikkola and his Quattro left a mark upon the world that will never, ever be forgotten.

Click HERE to join the AudiWorld forums!

Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

Squeaky-Clean Audi 200 Quattro Avant Turbo Up For Grabs

1991 Audi 200 Quattro Avant

This black-over-tan Audi 200 Quattro Avant Turbo has 97k on the clock, and appears to have lived a charmed life.

Call it a wagon, an estate, or a longroof, it doesn’t matter. Because as Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” These practical beauties are the enthusiast equivalent of comfort food, and wow, does this 1991 Audi 200 Quattro Avant on Bring a Trailer hit the spot. I’m a connoisseur of wagons, and this handsome, distinctive body style is among my very favorites. In person, these machines have true presence, and I’m always thrilled to see one in the wild.

This black-over-tan example has 97k on the clock, and appears to have lived a charmed life. According to the listing, it’s just one of 149 which made it to our shores for the model year. But I don’t think you need to Google production numbers to determine that an Audi wagon of this vintage is a rare bird. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.2-liter inline-five which pipes power to all four corners courtesy Ingolstadt’s famous quattro system, the icing on the cake is here the five-speed manual transmission. That should elevate the driving experience considerably.

Overall, everything looks pretty tidy. The basket weave BBS wheels complete the exterior perfectly, and are wearing fresh Yokohama rubber. Even the factory tape deck is unmolested, which scores big points in my book. The current owner inherited the car from their father, and drove the car around 8,000 miles during their stewardship.

Over that time, a host of maintenance items, including a timing belt replacement, rear trailing arm bushings, headliner repair, air conditioning recharge, and window regulator were done, though some issues still need to be addressed. Most glaringly, that includes a sunroof which “will open but not close.”

With four days left to go, this lovely longroof has already crested the 10k mark, and I’m curious to see how high it will go, as I’ve always had a soft spot for these Audis. Largely, that’s due to my best buddy Jamie Hunsdale, who before becoming an audio engineer extraordinaire, used one of these to deliver bread for Seattle’s Essential Baking Company. At the time, the machine had about 240,000 miles on it, and he reported it ran like a top, and drove beautifully — even over the Emerald City’s often-unruly pavement.

Hunsdale also said that the cargo area was cavernous, and that they Audi’s sole problem, even at that elevated age, was somewhat endearing. That problem? The tape deck had a copy of Boston’s Greatest Hits stuck in it. Thanks to the magic of auto-reverse, that meant that along with the smell of fresh-baked bread, the sound of the chart-topping stadium rockers were along for the ride — every time. For your peace of mind, no such problems have been reported with this Avant. Hopefully, it’ll live as long as that old trooper.

Photos: YouTube

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