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The Audi Sport Quattro was a low-volume supercar produced as a “homologation special” so that Audi could use the car in their factory-backed assault on the FIA World Rally Championship. To compete in that series, Audi was required to produce at least 200 copies of their car in road-legal form, and they produced just 214 of them over two years. Of those, 20 were reserved for use by Audi, 20 were sold to privateer rally teams, and 164 were sold on the open market for about $80,000 each.
The Audi Sport Quattro is related to the more ordinary Audi Quattro of the early 1980s, but with a 12-inch shorter wheelbase and vastly more power. The Sport Quattro boasted a 2,133-cc, 302-hp, 258-lb-ft five-cylinder double overhead cam engine equipped with a big turbocharger and electronic fuel injection. That engine was mated to a five-speed manual transmission delivering Quattro all-wheel drive. Suspension was by coils at all corners and the rear differential was center-mounted with independent rear suspension. Further race-derived enhancements included four-wheel disc brakes with large AP Racing calipers, and an early form of anti-lock brake technology.
The Audi Sport Quattro turned in 0-60 times of 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 155 MPH, which was nearly unbelievable in its day. In competition form it was even faster, laying down well over 400 hp or more, depending on boost.
This car dominated Group B rallying for a time, and helped revolutionize the sport with all-wheel drive, a technology from which rallying has never looked back.
The body panels of the Audi Sport Quattro were made of lightweight Kevlar, and available colors included Tornado Red, Alpine White, Copenhagen Blue, Malachite Green, or Black. In all, 128 Quattro Sports were painted Tornado Red, but the second most popular color, used on 48 cars, was the Alpine White.
Due to the short wheelbase, all-wheel drive and huge peak power figure, Sport Quattros are reputedly a handful to drive and are far more eager to turn than most inexperienced drivers expect. The large turbo running up to 17 PSI of boost also yields a notable turbo lag, and then a rush of power that can be difficult to control.
Thanks to the connection to the rallying’s legendary Group B era and the frustratingly low production numbers, Sport Quattros are highly collectible and will command a premium price regardless of condition. Vintage Audi enthusiasts should look to the long-wheelbase Audi Quattro as an affordable alternative. With over 11,000 of those produced, they trade frequently in America and Europe.