Skip advert
Advertisement

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.

Details

WHY: Audi's Quattro driven A4 changed Touring Car racing forever

Skip advert
Advertisement
In this review
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New Kia Sportage facelift caught on camera at the Nurburgring
Kia Sportage facelift spyshot 1
News

New Kia Sportage facelift caught on camera at the Nurburgring

Kia’s big-selling mid-size SUV is about to get a makeover for 2025
19 Jul 2024
New Volkswagen Golf 2024 facelift review: updates are a step in the right direction
Volkswagen Golf facelift 2024 UK - front
Road tests

New Volkswagen Golf 2024 facelift review: updates are a step in the right direction

The Volkswagen Golf has been updated to keep it competitive against the likes of the Skoda Octavia and Honda Civic
19 Jul 2024
The arrival of sub-£20k electric cars can't come soon enough
Opinion - Citroen e-C3
Opinion

The arrival of sub-£20k electric cars can't come soon enough

Mike Rutherford thinks that pure electric cars are still struggling to win over the hearts and minds of buyers
21 Jul 2024