People say that you shouldn’t meet your childhood heroes.  Last week drove one of my childhood “hero cars”….a 1990 Audi UR Quattro! This car belongs to the Audi UK Heritage fleet.

I have to say that my emotions were pretty mixed as I walked up to the car with the keys in my hand.

This is a car that during my youth I had spent staring at in my Audi magazine and imaging what it would be like to drive (I should’ve been doing my home work).  I remember being memorised watching it competing in the world rallies, hearing the lazy 5 cylinder engine sound with its pops and bangs as it flew  through the forest stage or along a mountain pass. So….here I was about to put the key in the ignition.

As soon as I sat inside it I was transported back to the eighties!! The interior had retro dark coloured hard plastics on the top half of the dashboard in contrast to the light grey lower areas.  There were big chunky rectangular buttons either side of the instrument binnacle and I loved the harsh “snappy” way that the indicator and wiper stalks felt when operated (this is not a bad thing it adds to the car’s character).  I adjusted the seat and found a really good driving position where I could see over the front bonnet and I felt close to the dashboard.  I really liked that I could just stretch my arm out and touch the windscreen without pushing myself forward off of the seat. That’s the joy of an older car without all the latest crash protection and with a more upright A pillar and windscreen.  My visibility in this car was great, it didn’t feel big around me and I felt quite confident where all four corners of the Ur Quattro was.  The LCD electronic instrument cluster is black when the car is off but when I turned the key to the first position I was greeted with a start sequence that I would never ever grow tried of. The LCD instrument cluster performs a self test.  The speedo displays 288 then goes to 188, the rev counter “block bars” goes all the way up to 7,000 rpm.  Everything lights up red (which reminds me of Knight Riders KITT dash instruments) and then goes to 0 mph ready for me to start the car.  I then turned the key fully to start the car and waited as the 5 cylinder engine fired itself into life.  Funny thing though, the instruments does the same check display again whilst the engine is starting.

I was ready to drive off. 

The clutch was really light and to anyone who has owned or driven an eighties or nineties VAG vehicle, the short stubby round gear knob will feel very familiar in your hand.   

Its power delivery is progressive and smooth, I thought that it would have a huge amount of turbo lag but it doesn’t …. it’s just accompanied by the lazy sounding 5 cylinder engine sound track.

When I threw it into a corner at speed it slightly understeered, so I just lifted off the accelerator pedal a little and the front of the car would then go where I wanted it to.  The Quattro 4 wheel drive system kept the car all in line as I exited out of the corner. 

The steering is communicative. I could feel exactly what was “going on” with the front wheels at speed. Initially, at a slower speed I did find that I had to put more input into the steering wheel…..but I soon got used to it.

On the Alpine Course at Millbrook Test Circuit, I loved how the interior plastics and leather trimmed centre console squeaks and creeks as the car performed amazingly around the blind crests and hairpin corners.

Its rally credentials shone through. I had to keep reminding myself that this car is almost 30 years old because it really didn’t perform like its age would suggest.  With its safe handling I can understand how the Audi Quattro won so many World Rally Championships in its different evolutions through the years.  Around the test track it did make me feel like Walter Röhrl!

So, at the start of this blog I said people say that you shouldn’t meet your childhood heroes. In my case meeting my childhood “car hero” was actually better than I ever thought it would be.  I am in awe of the Audi Ur Quattro! 

We Blog Any Car stats:

  • Audi Ur Quattro
  • Production year 1990
  • 2226 cc 20 valve turbo engine
  • 220 bhp
  • Quattro 4 wheel-drive system
  • 140 mph top speed