Audi is working on an engineering plan that will allow it to turn its spectacular Paris show-stopping Quattro Concept into a production vehicle.
A dedicated team of engineers at Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt is advancing plans that, if approved, will see the evocatively styled coupé assembled in limited numbers on a dedicated line at the company’s newly acquired sister firm, ItalDesign, near Milan.
Describing the new two-door as more than just a one-off show car, Stefan Reil, head of development at Audi’s Quattro Gmbh division, confirmed plans for a limited production run were fairly advanced. “We are rethinking standard processes to make it possible,” he said. “We know how to engineer it already.”
Although ItalDesign has no existing assembly operations, the Italian design house has a background in low-volume production, as it was responsible for the assembly of the BMW M1. It is also used regularly by Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen, to construct various concept cars, including the still-born Nardo supercar and Tarek off-roader.
Conceived to embody the rally-bred spirit and technological flair of Audi’s iconic Sport Quattro launched in 1984, the modern-day version is clothed in a uniquely styled aluminium and carbonfibre body. This sits on a modified steel floorpan and four-wheel drive underpinnings from the RS5.
The combination is claimed to provide it with an impressively low 1300kg kerb weight, roughly the same as that of the original Sport Quattro used to homologate Audi’s storming Group B rally cars. Outlining plans for the Quattro’s possible production, Reil said, “We need feedback to see if it is possible. Audi has no heritage in building 200-500 cars that are really exotic. But it won’t be over €100,000 [£86,000].”
Hinting about a technical tie-up with sister firm Lamborghini, whose expertise in carbonfibre is set to play a big role in the Quattro’s lightweight body, Reil told Autocar, “This car and Lamborghini are in the same exotic corner.”
While Audi remains tight-lipped on the Quattro’s longitudinally mounted, turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, Reil suggests it will be tuned beyond the level used in the TT RS. “A really good turbocharged petrol engine has around 140bhp [per litre]. We’re a little under that now. But with a larger turbocharger something around 350bhp is possible.”
The use of a five-pot engine harks back to the Sport Quattro that took on rivals from Peugeot and Lancia at the height of the Group B era. It featured a 2.1-litre turbo in-line five that developed 306bhp in road trim and up to 444bhp in competition guise.
In a move that hinted at a possible return to Pikes Peak, Audi also revealed a scale model of the Quattro Concept. It had a body styled on the Sport Quattro S1 E2, complete with a deep front spoiler, flared wheel arches, towering rear wing and Audi Sport livery.