Four rings, seven letters, 25 years: Audi’s quattro technology is now celebrating a noteworthy anniversary. A quarter of a century ago, on March 3, 1980, the ‘original quattro’ was the centre of attention at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. This was the birth of a legend which clocked up innumerable motor-sport victories and a demonstration of still unsurpassed supremacy on the road.
Michèle Mouton, Stig Blomqvist, Hannu Mikkola and of course Walter Röhrl – these were the drivers that wrote a new chapter in rallying history during the 1980s and brought the Audi quattro four world championship titles. Before long, the cars with permanent all-wheel drive were enjoying equal success in circuit racing, including an overall win in the 1988 American TransAm series – and a truly triumphant year in 1996, when the A4 quattro Super Touring competition car gained the winner’s title in all seven national touring car championships for which it was entered.
The quattro technological principle not only established itself impressively in motor sport, but in roadgoing cars as well, where quattro has come to mean not only permanent traction but also exceptional dynamism and fast, safe travel. The quattro technological principle has become a major element in the Audi brand’s success with all the market significance that this implies. In 2004, for instance, Audi built 209,469 quattro vehicles, and since 1980 more than 1,800,000 cars with this permanent all-wheel driveline have left the assembly lines – streets ahead of any other manufacturer of all-wheel-drive models.