Audi Sport quattro (1985 – 1987)

The introduction of 4WD into rallying with the Audi quattro in 1980 shook up the entire sport. Soon 4WDs were dominating every event, but before too long, other manufacturers’ 4WD cars highlighted the shortcomings of the ‘Ur’ Audi quattro, most notably its size and weight.

So Audi decided to develop the quattro into an extreme evolution model, and the Audi Sport quattro was born. With a body made of carbon-kevlar, a wheelbase over 12in shorter than the original, even wider arches and a more steeply raked windscreen from an Audi 80, the Sport quattro was an awesome-looking car.

In a few short years, it rapidly transformed into something that even today is an incredible machine. Before long, the car was in its most famous guise, the S1, complete with massive arches and spoilers covering every inch of bodywork, weighing barely over 1000kg, and producing anything from 550 to 1000bhp.

It had rear-mounted water and oil coolers to improve weight distribution, a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox and a full ‘Umluft’ anti-lag system. The extreme aerodynamics were said to give downforce at very low speeds, and were in full effect by 60mph.

When asked about improving aerodynamics, Audi simply said they were not interested; all they wanted was maximum grip. They could make the engine so powerful that it could accelerate like a rocket regardless of aerodynamics.

Various fatal accidents ended the Group B era before the S1 really got a chance to shine. So Audi headed to the legendary Pikes Peak hillclimb to prove what it could do.

Pikes Peak had been dominated by big V8s, but Audi won the event in both 1986 and 1987, firmly planting this wild car in the history books.

Audi Sport quattro
Engine: 2.1ltr straight five
Power: 540bhp @ 7500rpm
Torque: 435lb/ft @ 5500rpm
0-60: 3.1sec
Top Speed: 137mph
Weight: 1090kg