Audi A4 Touring Car
Fielding an all-wheel drive Audi in the BTCC gave it the notoriety it deserved. It also got 4WD cars banned from entering ever again.
Touring Car racing has had its fair share of ups and downs, but in the late Nineties, it was at its peak. And Audi was only too keen to showcase its quattro technology against top-grade competition. In 1996, the firm entered A4 quattro models in the British, Belgian, Spanish, Australian and South African Touring Car series – and won them all!
For its part, the BTCC was enjoying the most competitive period in its history, with no fewer than nine factory teams taking part in 1996. And the two A4s of Audi Sport UK were the only four-wheel-drive entries.
Driven by German legend Frank Biela, who already had Italian and German Touring Car titles to his name, and British newcomer John Bintcliffe, the A4 was so successful that by the seventh round of the series the four-wheel-drive cars had been given a weight penalty to slow them down.
This didn’t stop Biela from taking the title, and on several occasions wet conditions highlighted the benefits of four-wheel drive to the huge crowds. With the help of their extra traction, the A4s excelled in these tricky conditions. Audi Sport UK returned to the series in 1997 and 1998, but with further penalties and the subsequent banning of four-wheel drive, it never took the title again.
The A4’s unique technical approach and resulting speed advantage meant it was almost too successful for its own good, and the rules were changed to stop its dominance. Even so, the brief appearance of quattro technology in such a high-profile race series did a huge amount of good for Audi’s image.
The beautiful silver and red liveried A4 remains a favourite with touring car fans today. Powered by a four-cylinder 305bhp 2.0-litre engine, the A4 had a sequential six-speed gearbox and weighed only 1,070Kg. A touring car legend that triumphed in the toughest of series, the saloon allowed Audi Sport Germany to move on to its next challenge – and incredible success in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
WHY: Audi's Quattro driven A4 changed Touring Car racing forever
In this review
- 1IntroductionAudi's new RS5 has been launched on the 30th anniversary of Audi's quattro system. Here we hit the race track in 11 of the best four-wheel-drive cars has ever made...
- 2Audi UR QuattroOne of the first passenger cars to feature four wheel drive, the UR Quattro's engine, looks and handling propelled it to legendary status
- 3Audi Rally QuattroAfter transforming rallying for good, the Rally Quattro went on to win just about everything - with up to 600bhp under the bonnet
- 4Audi Sport QuattroThe 2.1-litre engine in the Sport Quattro produces 307bhp and shoots it to 60mph in 4.8 seconds. Not bad for 1984, or now for that matter
- 5Audi S2 CoupeSmoother S2 was a major departure from original Quattro.
- 6Audi RS2 AvantPorsche and Audi joined forces and engineered the 315bhp RS2 Avant. Less than 3000 were made and even fewer were RHD.
- 7Audi A4 Touring Car - currently readingFielding an all-wheel drive Audi in the BTCC gave it the notoriety it deserved. It also got 4WD cars banned from entering ever again.
- 8Audi TT SportThe lighter, tuned TT Sport turned the already great TT into a proper drivers' car
- 9Audi RS4 AvantA spiritual successor to the Porsche-tuned RS2, the RS4 Avant blends supercar power with estate practicality
- 10Audi RS6The most powerful production Audi ever belongs in this list for that reason alone
- 11Audi TTSExtra power, sharper steering and better dynamics add extra thrills to the already superb TT
- 12Audi R8Fantastic handling, outstanding performance and looks that stop traffic, the R8 is an outstanding car