Tag Archive | "Ur quattro"

The Legend That Is The UR-Quattro


The original. The legend that is the Audi Quattro; the version in the image dating from 1989 and your editor got a crack at it. I came, I saw and I asked if I could take it out and was quietly stunned when the answer was yes. The Ur-Quattro was arguably the first production car to bring permanent four wheel drive and a turbocharger fully to the attention of the car buying public thanks to its rally successes.

Over two decades have passed since this car was in its heyday and it is frankly amazing just how far the motor industry has come. Opening the door was like going back into history in an automotive time machine. Now I know how Howard Carter felt when he opened Tutankhamun’s tomb.

‘Where is all the seat adjustment’, I wondered, ‘What happened to the climate control?’ That’s how much we’ve been spoiled. This venerable motor even had that ‘wet dog’ smell unique to old cars.

Nevertheless, at the turn of a key, the engine sprang immediately into life. I actually laughed out loud when I found that I needed a thigh of steel to depress the clutch. Selecting a notchy first gear I inched forward and, thankfully without stalling, accelerated and was immediately reminded again how much things have changed.

We have gone soft. We have been cosseted in luxury and supported by many driver aids. Getting back to basics like this was a reminder of how it felt to be solely in charge of a large chunk of flying metal powered by a five-cylinder 2.2L turbo motor with just three pedals and a steering wheel for support. When new, this car would have produced over 200bhp, although time and many thousands of miles has taken its toll.

Nevertheless, the old dog still had plenty of life in it as I approached my first junction and found to my consternation that brakes had obviously been an afterthought. After that exciting interlude, I drove with due diligence and it was an awesome experience. I could feel and sometimes hear all the moving parts going about their business and felt fully connected to the road.

The steering was communicative and surprisingly accurate and in corners the car remained settled thanks to the legendary four-wheel drive. This was proper driving rather than the remote experiences we have now. Even the seat creaked. I drove this iconic car for a half hour and realised that we have lost as much as we’ve gained in motoring. I savoured every moment and, do you know, at the end of my drive I was quite fired up.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==