The Audi Quattro was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980 as a rally car and a road car. This Audi was the first rally car to incorporate a 4x4 (quattro) system into the racing. This clearly proved very effective as they won their first two races. The name 'Quattro' comes from the Italian word 'quattro' which is 'four'. This idea to implement the 4x4 system in this car came from an Audi engineer called Jörg Bensinger (us car enthusiasts pray to this man... okay not quite).
Audi were constantly developing their engine for the Quattro over the 11 years it was in production. In 1980 they started with a turbo charged 2.1L five cylinder SOHC. This engine was great and provided the Quattro with 197 bhp and 285 Nm of torque. This meant that the 0-62 mph time was around 7 seconds (not too bad for an 80s rally car). Later the engine was modified to a 2.2L inline five which still produced around 197 bhp but this time giving more lower end torque which will obviously help drastically with rally driving.
Audi built 11,452 in the 11 years of production which were mostly taken up by customer cars. These costed around £15,000 from new which isn't too bad considering now they go for around £60,000, with rally specs (the ones left anyway!) going for over double that. As you can see below, the interior was very cool. I love the instrument cluster on the Audi Quattro as it looks like something out of Knight Rider. It was very modern or the late 80s and I would imagine a great thing to drive (even if you weren't a rally driver). Even if you weren't a rally driver, or never wanted to be one, this car will change your mind for sure.
Luckily, the Audi Quattro had no issue selling in America in 1983 as this was the same time as the release of the hideous AMC Eagle. The AMC Eagle was the first car in America with a constant 4x4 system to reach mass production (why it ever did, I do not know!). Audi didn't sell many to the USA as rally wasn't as popular there as it was in Europe at the time but they sold enough to make it worth while.
After the production of the Quattro had ended in 1990, Audi decided to try working on a spyder version of the Quattro which only made it to the concept stage. It really doesn't fit in with what Audi were originally trying to do with the car. The concept had a 2.8L V6 which came from the Audi 100 and had 172 bhp. Not only was it not as powerful as the original but it also looked absolutely ghastly, and why they thought orange was a good launch colour, I do not know! Although, this could be where the R8 stemmed from...
In recent years, Audi have tried to recreate the Quattro as concepts in many different ways but they never took off. This is sad but also a good thing I guess. Making one now would very likely ruin what the original stands for, and without the Quattro it's very possible that Audi would not be who they are today.