Audi recently decided to bring back the engine that made the brand what it is today. Installing it in the mini-supercar (does it need the prefix?) TT RS, it has reminded a lot of people of why the brand caught the world’s attention in the ‘80s.
The story starts with Ferdinand Piech (as so many do), who decided that in order to make enough power to compete with luxury sedans, while still abiding by cylinder wall regulations, he would need more cylinders. As he says in this historic video published by Audi USA, an inline 6 was too big and an I4 was too small.
This led to an Audi that was more than a “teacher’s car.” As Piech explains, though, the engine wasn’t romantic at the time, it was purely practical. “We solve problems,” said Piech. “If you find it attractive, so much the better.”
Over the years, though, the engine’s many motorsport victories led it and its unique sound led it to become one of history’s great mills—we hardly need to tell you that, though.
Through rallying, sports car racing, and hill climbs the car won consistently and impressed its drivers. Combined with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive, the product was nearly unbeatable for years.
And now that it’s back, its drivers can be forgiven for getting a little misty eyed about the car.