Audi reinvents an 80s status symbol

Audi has reimagined its era-defining Quattro in concept form for the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.

There is one simple reason why Audi is where it is today, in terms of sales, reputation and desirability — the Sport Quattro Coupe. A short wheelbase sportscar with permanent four-wheel drive, it devastated all rivals when Audi entered it in the World Rally Championships and the road-going version soon became a 1980s status symbol so powerful that only a Porsche 911 could challenge it for kudos.

To celebrate the car’s 30th anniversary, Audi has created a conceptual successor to that special car, which pays homage to the original while bringing the performance and technology under the hood and in the cabin bang up to date and off into the future.

Capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 190 mph, the Audi Sport Quattro Concept has a 560 horsepower V8 engine mated with a 110 kilowatt electric engine — so it’s a hybrid, like the eco-friendly Toyota Prius. However, unlike the Toyota, when these two engines combine, the result is 700 horsepower and 590 foot-pounds of torque.

Audi claims that each visual design feature and engine component has been dictated by the demands of sporting performance — hence prodigious use of carbon fibre composites and aluminum in the construction — and that many of the styling cues on display on the finished concept will serve as reference points for the design of all future Audi cars.

Inside, everything is focused on the driver. All cockpit elements point towards his or her field of vision and all crucial functions have been integrated into the steering wheel, so that full control of the car and its direction of travel is guaranteed.

Also improving driver understanding and the flow of relevant information is a digital ’3D’ dashboard which can be customized, in terms of gauges and dials. Hitting the ‘Race’ mode brings the speedometer front and center, as well as information about the race track, and a stopwatch for recording lap times.

But best of all is that this is an Audi concept car and the German car maker has a reputation for actually taking what seem like far-flung vehicular ideas and putting them into production. So don’t be surprised to see one of these on the road in the not-too-distant future.

But for now, the only place to see it in the flesh will be the Frankfurt Motor Show, Sept. 12 to 22. Learn more at iaa.de.