Driv­ing

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

It feels raw. Strapped into the Sparco seats there is a pur­pose­ful mood to this ex­pe­ri­ence.

De­spite be­ing sur­rounded by some soft leather and qual­ity trim, the min­i­mal­ism of the dash serves to di­min­ish any dis­trac­tions to the aim of the game: driv­ing fast.

In front of you is a large LCD in­stru­ment pod with an ‘‘ev­ery­day’’ mode and a ‘‘race’’ mode that mir­rors the orig­i­nal’s in­stru­ments and also can show GPS renderings of race cir­cuits.

Fire it up with the omi­nous red starter but­ton and you im­me­di­ately feel the en­gine vibes come up through the thin seat.

You are also au­rally as­saulted by the dishar­mo­nious five-pot­ter as most of the sound-dead­en­ing ma­te­rial is stripped out for weight sav­ing.

We are re­stricted to slow speeds on the test drive.

Af­ter all, says Schloss­macher: ‘‘There is only one of these in ex­is­tence and we have to bring it back alive.’’

Yet it feels spe­cial, even at the rel­a­tively low speeds we are al­lowed on the test drive through the hills be­hind Char­lie Sheen’s Mal­ibu man­sion in Two and a Half Men.

High­way pa­trol cars pro­vide an es­cort and have blocked the top and bot­tom of the road be­cause the car is un­reg­is­tered.

The lithe han­dling feels ex­cit­ing and the steer­ing is sen­sual. It feels con­nected to the road. Un­for­tu­nately, there is no scope for test­ing its per­for­mance po­ten­tial in the five min­utes we spend driv­ing the closed pub­lic road.

It gets the slick S5 six-speed man­ual gear­box which is an ab­so­lute joy to use plus the firm but fair sus­pen­sion from the RS5.

The roads here are bil­liard-ta­blesmooth, so it glides along with a stress-free ride.

There are plenty of rat­tles and squeaks in the body and trim, but af­ter all this is a price­less one-off con­cept car that has not had the usual rig­or­ous pre-pro­duc­tion test­ing.

How­ever, there is a cer­tain in­evitable feel about the car that says Audi is itch­ing to get this into pro­duc­tion.

Ver­dict

A board de­ci­sion on the car’s fu­ture will be made in the next three months. Bring it on.

Sales

The raw Audi Quat­tro con­cept’s cabin The cars were so pow­er­ful and fast, the World Rally Cham­pi­onship per­ma­nently banned them in 1986.

But a quar­ter of a cen­tury later their hero sta­tus lives on.

Audi Quat­tro Sport is among the leg­ends of this in­fa­mous Group B rally class that raced from 1982 to 1986, win­ning two con­struc­tor and two driver cham­pi­onships.

The Quat­tro not only won more Group B ral­lies than any other car of its time, but also the 1985 and 1987 Pikes Peak hill­climb.

Apart from all-wheel drive, which be­came the norm for WRC cars, the Quat­tro was full of ad­vanced technology such as ABS and self­lock­ing dif­fer­en­tials.

Only 206 Quat­tros were built, in­clud­ing rally cars.

About half that num­ber ex­ist to­day and are avidly sought col­lec­tors’ cars, fetch­ing as much as $500,000.

RAW POWER: Just bring it on

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