Page 1 of 1 Audi had revolutionised rallying with the introduction of the all-wheel drive Quattro in 1981. Although it dominated the World Rally Championship in 1982, the first year of Group B, the Group 4 Quattro did have a weak spot; it was too long and as a result was not as agile as its rivals. Against the purpose-built Group B cars like the Lancia 037, the superior traction of the all-wheel drive system was not sufficient to maintain the Quattro's advantage. Audi addressed the shortcomings with the introduction of the Sport Quattro in 1983.
Although every a bit a homologation special, the Sport Quattro was not quite as extreme as some of the rivalling machines, which were designed and built as rally cars from the ground up. Instead, the Sport Quattro was still based on the production Quattro with a staggering 320 mm (12.6 inches) cut from the middle of the car. This reduced the wheelbase to a more competitive 2,224 mm (87.6 inches). A great help to achieve this dramatic reduction was the fact that, as in all other contemporary Audis, the engine was actually mounted ahead of the front axle.
The turbocharged, five cylinder engine was also heavily revised. The most obvious change was the addition of a 20-valve, twin overhead camshaft head. In road trim the engine produced 302 bhp, while the competition cars had at least 444 bhp available. It was mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and the Quattro all-wheel drive system was of course retained. To ensure the car was as light as possible all the removable body panels were constructed from carbon-fibre and Kevlar composites. Much wider wheels and wheel-arches were also fitted.
In order to homologate the Sport Quattro for Group B, at least 200 examples had to be produced. Despite its hefty price of 203,850 German Marks, this figure was met on May 1st of 1984 and the rally car was homologated soon after. It helped Stig Blomqvist win that year's World Championship and he would finish runner up in 1985. The Sport Quattro and its evolutions would also take three consecutive wins in the Pikes Peak hill-climb. By the end of the production in 1984, Audi had produced 224 examples of what remains as one of the great homologation specials of the 1980s. Page 1 of 1