Audi unveiled the Quattro concept at the Paris Motor Show last week as a celebration of Quattro's 30th anniversary, and Audi currently has an engineering team working on a plan to put the car into limited production.
According to Autocar, Audi has a dedicated team of engineers working on the Quattro, completing plans that could see the car go into production at VW's recently acquired ItalDesign. The exercise for the production Quattro is going well, but business plan still needs some work.
"We are rethinking standard processes to make it possible," Stefan Reil, head of development at Audi Quattro Gmbh, told Autocar. "We know how to engineer it already."
Part of the process would be to have ItalDesign build the low-volume car. ItalDesign isn't currently assembling any cars, but has experience in low-volume production with cars such as BMW's M1. Volkswagen frequently uses the Italian design firm to build one-off concept cars including the Nardo supercar concept and Tarek off-roader.
Although there are plans that could make low-volume production of the reborn rally car possible, and it certainly has supporters, the car is facing a rather tough road to the streets. In addition to the problems with the financials of building such a car, it's modified enough from the standard RS5 that it would have to be crash tested again -- an expensive process. The turbocharged, five-pot engine mounted under the Quattro's hood also means the car fails to meet Europe's pedestrian impact standards.
"After all, this is not simply a chopped RS5," Wolfgang Egger, the Quattro's chief designer, told us at the Paris Motor Show. "What we have here is a new structure fitted with a new engine, so we would be facing more crash tests and additional emissions exercises. But the most critical question is perhaps, how many cars we would want to produce, and at what price?"
Well, Reil potentially has an answer to both questions. "We need feedback to see if it is possible," he said "Audi has no heritage in building 200-500 cars that are really exotic. But it won't be over €100,000 ($140,000)."
We rather like the idea of a modern, 408-horsepower Quattro and hope that Audi's dedicated team of engineer's finds a way to make this car work. We sincerely hope Audi's Quattro doesn't go the way of VW's Nardo supercar and remain relegated to concept car status.