As we near the end of 2016, Audi’s performance arm known as quattro GmbH is ready to enter 2017 under a new name – Audi Sport GmbH. This significant alteration marks the end of an era, but at Jardine Motors Audi, we’re embracing it as a progressive step into what lies beyond the realms of quattro, and it’s certainly a significant moment in the company’s history.
But what does quattro mean to you? The golden days of rallying? All-wheel drive? Whatever enters your mind, it’s bound to be entwined with Audi, with such a rich heritage stretching back to the 1980s.
So how was quattro GmbH born? It was in 1983 when quattro GmbH was created as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Audi AG, but its name was generated following the success of both road and track cars bearing the Quattro name, although the capital Q was dropped for a lower case q.
It wasn’t until the 90s that quattro GmbH began building the vehicles that we now know and love, starting with the Audi S6 Plus that first emerged in 1996. The decision was made to bring the development of fast estates in-house to keep up with the growing demand for these new performance road vehicles, resulting in the 322bhp, 4.2-litre V8 S6 Plus going into production at quattro GmbH’s Neckarsulm factory. It was here that the RS 4 and RS 6 were later produced, and now R8 models too – however, some quattro GmbH models have been built in other Audi plants because of capacity.
Now Audi Sport GmbH, Neckarsulm will still be home and will still be responsible for the design and production of RS and R8 models, plus the customer racing programme and the Audi Exclusive car customisation department. A number of new models are expected to emerge over the next year or two, so it’s an exciting transitionary period for Audi’s performance arm.