The Audi Quattro was a project started in 1977 under Jens Bensinger and was kept secret until FIAs approved use of fourwheeldrive in the top class of rallying, Group 4, in 1975. Audi AG finally found it would be the perfect way to prove the advantage for it’s middleclass roadgoing cars, so funds were given the project. Prototypes were based on the Audi 80 and featured the drivetrain from VW Iltis and the engine from the Audi 200 5T.
Even though many are considering this model to be denoted as ‘quattro’, it started off as a unique model name ‘Quattro’, where the lower-case ‘quattro’ has been found more in instances where it was an optional extra – i.e. for the Audi Coupé quattro of the same typ 85 platform. In modern age, it is also common to see it mentioned as the urquattro.
In Geneva 1980 fair, the Quattro was presented for the world press. This car made a big impact as four wheel drive until then was preserved for utility and all-terrain vehicles. It came with the WR engine, 6×15″ aluminiumrims, dual square headlights, and a manual transmission. The instruments was regular analogue ones, surrounded by push-functional buttons, and the interior was brown and paint optional between saturn metallic, diamond silver or venusred. Taillights was seperated red and amber, while the rear reflexplate was read featuring
‘quattro’ in black ensignia. 1981 brought the pneumatic differantiallock which was controlled by a button on the centerconsole, and a new paintcolor.
Equipped as the 1981 version, it wasn’t any alterations for the 1982 model. Export for the US was started. The US cars came with the bigger “safety bumpers” which are bigger than the european spec ones.
1983 introduced the bigger differences, as it now featured a digital instrumentcluster featuring acoustic warnings. Exterior was wider 8″ rims and new, wider headlights. ABS was now optional, alongside aircondition and the interior could opt between leather and fabric. 1984 featured mostly the same car, but added another paintcolor.
1985 featured the same engine as befor, but for countries with special emissiondemands – such as Switzerland and Sweden – the urquattro also came with the WX engine with 165hp. New interioroptions with fabric or leather, one-piece Cibie headlights which gave the car a newer look, black taillights and reflexplate, and a 2-step turnbutton for controlling the differential. No alterations for the 1986 version.
1987 was pretty much the same car aswell, but the WR engine was phased out during the year for the higher capacitated MB engine, although the output was the same. In Switzerland there were a “Speciale edition” with 200 numbered cars – all with the WX engine, fully equipped, analogue instruments and the option between fabric or full leather. 1988 finally brought the partial galvanization of the chassis and the end for the Special editions.
20V RR engine came in the 1989 model, now with a new Bosch Motronic fuelinjection. This engine had 220hp by 5900rpms and with 9.3:1 C:R. The bootlid was of fiberglass, and the instrumentcluster featured red lumination withouth the analogue warningmodule. There were no differences for the 1990 or 1991 versions, with a total of 898 20 valved cars produced.
Production stopped at May 1991 with 11 452 urquattros in total.
1980 – 85 ZAA 900*** og 85 ZBA 900*** – 292
1981 – 85 ZBA 90099*** – 1956
1982 – 85 ZCA 900*** – 1935
1983 – 85 ZDA 900*** – 1455
1984 – 85 ZEA 900*** – 1567
1985 – 85 ZFA 900*** – 1530
1986 – 85 ZGA 900*** – 774
1987 – 85 ZHA 900*** – 435
1988 – 85 ZJA 900*** – 610
1989 – 85 ZKA 900*** – 462
1990 – 85 ZLA 900*** – 413
1991 – 85 ZMA 900*** – 23
There has been some special spawns of the urquattro, built by Treser. Besides making a hideous roadster, they delivered aftermarket items such as wheels, spoilers, a special rallye-look dashboard with analogue instruments, sport steering wheel and gearknob, own bucket seats and even a 10V tuning solution featuring the fueldistributor from the Porsche 928, with 3 plumbed outtakes. That, combined with different compression ration, pistons, camaxle and bigger intercooler and exhaustvalves, made their typical package marketed as 245~250 hp. Tresers could also get a longer 5th gear.
Not direct special editions of the urquattro, but both Treser and ABT had Audi 80 quattros featuring the 2.1T from the urquattro. Even Audi AG had a Audi 80/90 quattro built with urquattro looks and parts.