The first Audi qauttro hit the headlines in 1980 and now – 33 years later – Audi has produced its five millionth car with AWD – an A6 Allroad.
It’s thirty years since Audi became the first mainstream car maker to offer a four wheel drive road car when the Audi quattro hit the road, offering a (certainly for then) fulsome 200PS with the added reassurance of four wheel drive for added grip.
True, others had flirted with 4WD road cars before Audi made it mainstream, such as Jensen with the FF in the 1960s, but Audi’s bold move was a real first for a mainstream maker, even if the Audi quattro was not exactly an entry-level model.
Audi’s move in to 4WD saw other car makers flirt with a 4WD option for ‘sporty’ cars in the 1980s, with even Ford churning out 4WD versions of the Sierra and Granada, but it’s Audi that has stuck with the added reassurance of 4WD to the extent that now, 33 years on from the first Audi quattro, 43 per cent of all Audi’s output now comes with quattro drive and Audi has built its five millionth quattro car – an A6 allroad 3.0 TDI.
Rupert Stadler, Audi’s Chairma, said:
quattro is one of the key pillars of our brand and has been a critical factor in our successful history.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system makes it possible to directly experience our ‘Vorsprung durch Technik.’ We are committed to our pioneering role and will continue to develop this advantage with new technologies.
Audi’s belief in their quattro system has been key to the success of the Audi brand and has set it apart from other premium car makers. Only now, a generation on, are Audi seeing mainstream premium makers following suit, with BMW expanding its range of 4WD cars, Mercedes offering 4WD even on the new A-Class and CLA and AMG talking about making 4WD a standard feature for all AMG models.
Perhaps Audi should be running a campaign along the lines of “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…”?