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Couldn’t it have been an R8, or an RS6, or even the funky little S1? It wasn’t. When it came, the eight millionth quattro was a decidedly ordinary Q5 SUV. But maybe that’s fitting. After all, Audi is the company that pioneered four-wheel drive on the rally stage, then democratised it by bringing it to ordinary cars. Well democratised it for ABC1 types who are happy to pay handsomely for a Golf with some thicker carpet.
So here is the eight millionth all-wheel drive Audi, which rolled off the production line, not in Germany, but in San José Chiapa, Mexico, plus nine other quattro hits and misses.
1) AUDI Q5
Audi’s eight millionth quattro was built in Mexico, where we’re sure the terribly inclement weather makes that four-wheel drive system absolutely crucial. N.B. Mexico not picured
No rings on this nose, but the Volkswagen Iltis, a European Jeep commissioned by the German military, sported Audi four-wheel tech that would reappear on the first quattro in 1980 – the same year an Audi-prepared Iltis won the Paris Dakar Rally
3) UR QUATTRO
The granddaddy. Audi Coupe with box arches and blown and breathed on 2.2-litre straight five was an all-weather hero on the road, and on the rally stages (above). Audi ditched the manual diff lock for a Torsen centre differential in 1987
Audi pushed into new territory with this S-class-wannabe flagship limo. Didn’t ruffle too many features in the sales charts but the race version won the DTM championship in ’90 and ’91
Monster Porsche-developed fast wagon more than made up for the disappointment over the regular S2, the original quattro’s successor. Tweaked 311bhp five-pot provided the go and Porsche brakes behind proper 911 Cup wheels did the stopping
Haldex four-wheel drive system brought quattro to Audi’s new transverse-engined range of cars. TT brought cool Bauhaus design to the affordable sports car market
Spiritual successor to the RS2, this time powered by a 375bhp twin-turbo V6. Second-gen car with 414bhp V8 destined for the R8 was even better. Less said about the third-gen car also better…
Quattro does supercar. And overtseer! Are you sure this is an Audi? Sharing a platform with sister company Lambo’s Gallardo, R8 wasn’t just the fastest Audi, but the most fun yet, especially in 198mph V10 Plus trim
The first all-electric quattro, this shrunken zero-emissions R8-style supercar produced a modest 309bhp, but a no-that’s-not-a-misprint 3319lb ft. A real e-powered R8 briefly made production in 2015 but was canned to focus on more mainstream models
10) R18 E-TRON QUATTRO