1983 Audi Quattro

“Totally different by design.”

Audi’s Quattro had been changing the perception of all wheel drive in Europe since late 1980, but finally made it to American soil for the 1983 model year with a few modifications (such as larger bumpers) specific to the market.

The only available engine was the WX turbocharged and fuel injected 2.1 liter inline 5 cylinder making 160 bhp and running on premium gas. This engine was paired with a five speed manual transmission connected to (of course!) the Quattro generation I four wheel drive system with manually lockable center and rear differentials. Motor Trend clocked a 1983 Quattro with a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds – not bad for the early eighties. Fuel economy was 17 city/28 highway by the standards of the day (14/20 by today’s standards).

The Quattro was an expensive car, especially for an eighties Audi – almost three times the cost of the far more plebeian Audi 80 coupe it was based on (and whose squarish styling it closely resembled). At $35,000 (about $83,300 in 2014 dollars) it was approximately $5,000 more than a 1983 Porsche 911. But, there was nothing like it.

All 1983 Quattros included four wheel disc brakes, an independent suspension, tinted glass, front and rear spoilers, and 15-inch alloy wheels with 205/60R15 tires. Inside, power steering, power door locks, power windows, full gauges, cruise control, and an AM/FM stereo cassette were all included.

Options for the 1983 Quattro were relatively few and included a power sunroof ($450), leather trim ($1,500), and a rear wiper/washer ($210).

Original (“Ur”) Quattros have a strong following, though total sales in the United States were only 664 over the three years between 1983 and 1985. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for an 1983 Audi Quattro in #1 condition is $37,500. A more “normal” Quattro in #3 condition is valued at $10,700.

Color is a tough choice here, but I’m going to violate my usual “it is a German car, it looks good in silver” rule and ask that mine be Mars Red.