FIRE UP THE QU­AT­TRO

But which one? Rally-bred orig­i­nal, stripped-down TT and dog-friendly es­tate all wear Audi’s all-wheel-drive badge with pride

CAR (UK) - - Icon Buyer - Words Ben Barry | Pho­tog­ra­phy Alis­dair Cu­sick

BE­FORE QU­AT­TRO, AUDI pro­duced sen­si­ble fron­twheel-drive fam­ily cars. Then came Audi’s first all-wheel-drive model, now known as the Ur-Qu­at­tro – from the Ger­man for the orig­i­nal, the grand­daddy. Sud­denly those once-staid four rings be­came syn­ony­mous with crush­ing per­for­mance, with tech­no­log­i­cal su­pe­ri­or­ity, with the flame-spit­ting ex­cite­ment of Group B ral­ly­ing. Like the Lan­cia Delta In­te­grale and Subaru Im­preza that fol­lowed, the Audi Qu­at­tro be­came the rel­a­tively af­ford­able dream car of its day.

The ral­ly­ing roots might seem dim and dis­tant, the tech­nol­ogy much al­tered, but the suc­cess story con­tin­ues: Audi has just cel­e­brated the eight mil­lionth car us­ing qu­at­tro tech­nol­ogy.

This month’s Icon Buyer cel­e­brates the evo­lu­tion of qu­at­tro. There’s the sem­i­nal Ur-Qu­at­tro with its lon­gi­tu­di­nal five-cylin­der en­gine and lock­ing cen­tre diff; the Mk1 TT Sport Qu­at­tro, a nailed-on fu­ture clas­sic with its to­tally dif­fer­ent Haldex all­wheel-drive sys­tem; and, fi­nally, the A6 Allroad Qu­at­tro, the model that pre­fig­ured the SUV boom and used the Torsen sys­tem to shuf­fle torque back and forth.

Each puts its own twist on the hard­ware, with a big spread of bud­gets. Which one rings your bell?

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