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Buyers Guide to:

Audi Quattro

Useful Info


1980 to 1991

Fuel Type


Engine Sizes

2100cc, 2200cc

Engine Type


Drive Configuration


Audi Owners Club UK

Quattro Owners Club

Just Kampers

01256 862288,


Known by enthusiasts as the ‘Ur-Quattro’ (for original), the coupe made its debut at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show and would go on to dominate world rallying in the hands of drivers such as Hannu Mikkola and Michelle Mouton (the first woman to win a world championship rally, the 1981 San Remo event). The 200bhp 2.1-litre, 5-cylinder engine was hooked up to a four-wheel drive system, hence its success on the rally stage, and early models were all left-hand drive. Right-hand drive cars were available by late 1982 and numerous changes would be made in the following years, with a larger 2.2-litre engine in ten and twenty-valve forms. Anti-lock brakes and LCD instruments arrived in 1984, with production ending seven years later.

  1. 1. Bonnet edges
  2. 2. Front wings, including the seams
  3. 3. Wheel arches, front and rear
  4. 4. Sills
  5. 5. Door bottoms
  6. 6. Boot lid

The Checklist

  • The bodywork carefully. Although later cars used galvanised panels, rust can still occur and some panels are getting very hard to source and are pricey when you do find them
  • For any signs of previous crash repairs, and carry out a history check for peace of mind
  • The bumpers for cracks and scuffs. Repairs are possible assuming the damage isn’t too serious, but replacements are costly if you can find them
  • The engine for signs of overheating; blue exhaust smoke that indicates a worn turbo; and oil leaks from the unit itself and from the oil cooler located behind the front bumper. Bear in mind that a professional engine re-build will cost thousands
  • For cracks in the exhaust manifold. A ticking sound spells trouble, and ensure you check when the engine is cold – a warm engine could hide problems here and new manifolds are no longer available
  • That the engine doesn’t feel down on power – it could be caused by perished intercooler pipework. Any problems with the Bosch injection system will need specialist attention
  • For evidence of regular servicing as neglect will lead to expensive problems. The timing belt should be changed every 45,000 miles and it’s not an especially straightforward job. It’s a bonus if the work has been done recently
  • The transmission system for the crunching of worn gearbox synchromesh; clutch wear; and for any issues with the four-wheel drive system, including the operation of the differential locks. The latter can seize through lack of use so try all of the settings, keeping an eye on the warning lights. Expect a big bill for any problems here so don’t ignore seemingly minor issues
  • For play in the steering caused by worn joints, and for perished/worn suspension and sub- frame bushes. Parts are getting rare and aren’t cheap when you do manage to source them
  • The alloy wheels for corrosion and buckling on the inner edge. It’s often more of a problem on the earlier ‘Ronal’ wheels, although specialists can repair them
  • That the brakes aren’t worn, and if the rear brakes are seized then replacing the calipers
  • is often the only answer. The handbrake can play up, too, so check its operation, and ensure the warning light illuminates and extinguishes correctly on later ABS-equipped models
  • For a groaning sound from the front when turning the steering wheel as it usually indicates wheel bearings in need of replacement
  • The electrics very carefully, paying particular attention to the digital dashboard. Repairs to the latter are possible but it can run into hundreds of pounds. Corroded connections on early cars can cause all manner of electrical issues, too
  • That the interior trim isn’t damaged or excessively worn. Threadbare seat bolsters
  • are common on high-mileage examples, but check the door cards and dashboard for cracks or damage. Many replacement bits are almost impossible to find, and the cost of using a professional re-trimmer can soon add up
  • The operation of the air-conditioning if fitted. Parts are both rare and expensive, so don’t be surprised if faults have been ignored

Everything Check Out?

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