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    Audi News Blog

    "The Sport quattro is Ugly." Ex-Audi Designer Peter Birtwhistle Makes Us Cry.

    Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.


    Here's a headline you don't see every day. Audi Sport Quattro "is ugly” popped up on our daily news search over on AutoCar.co.uk. Seems the designer of the Audi homologation special and rally icon Peter Birtwhistle was a bit critical of the car in some comments made to the UK weekly car mag about the more modern quattro Concept.

    Birtwhistle, now chief designer for Mazda Europe, sited difficulty in strtching the quattro look over the Audi 80 was difficult. "Although we did what we needed to do, it looks awful," said the Mazda design chief and former Audi designer.

    Okay, we're not blind. We can see the snubby Sport quattro wasn't exactly a Ferrari 250 of any ilk but that's kind of the point. The original Audi quattro and Giugiaro penned 80 were both icons of the late 70s and early 80s Block Design Era. Though not the most elegant, the more brutish Sport quattro was the culmination of that era, mixing in purely functional cues for improved engine ventilation, wider track and shorter overall length to make the car more agile (albeit skittish) on the tight rally courses where long wheelbase quattros were forced to do a 3-pointer. Any changes were simply needed for a better overall performer and thus made the car that much more beautiful in the eyes of racing and performance minded petrolheads. The car's ugliness was its beauty.

    Read more at AutoCar after the jump.

    Full Story

    Comments

    1. cyberpmg's Avatar
      Sometimes, ugly is sexy!
    2. R5T's Avatar
      Audi really is clueless about retro design.
      Where the "sport quattro" was a master piece in his time, the "quattro concept is a big time design failure retro wise.
      All the key elements are missing, only a blind man can see similarities.
    3. George@Fourtitude's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by R5T
      Audi really is clueless about retro design.
      Where the "sport quattro" was a master piece in his time, the "quattro concept is a big time design failure retro wise.
      All the key elements are missing, only a blind man can see similarities.
      I find in general that Audi has no interest in doing retro design. They use cues, like the C-pillar shaping of the Asso di Picche in the quattro Concept. But even further from literal, Audi designers have told me in the past that they really do not want to be retro. Retro is the opposite of progressive.
    4. R5T's Avatar
      In that case don't expect a retro looking TT3 in Mk1 style.
    5. George@Fourtitude's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by R5T
      In that case don't expect a retro looking TT3 in Mk1 style.
      I doubt it would. The original TT came from the Warkuss era and was a leader in that era's models, particularly cars like the A2 and the B6 A4. That TT's details are now inconsistent with modern Audi design.

      That said, the original TT was also much more edgy than the Warkuss managed Audi lineup of that era whereas the current TT is less edgy and more consistent with the rest of the line. The question is whether Audi will go radical with TT (in the spirit of the Mk1) or more conservative and consistent with Audi sedans, etc.

      My contacts had told me that both scenarios were thoroughly explored and that full design mockups of several looks were developed. I'm hoping the edgier won out as I think the Mk1 was more successful in leading design than the second-gen car. All that said, expect details in keeping with the most recent cars or, perhaps even more, setting new design language for the brand.

      Sielaff mentioned in the UK recently that new language was being developed. The TT would be a good place to explore this and it could be the first car to really carry Egger's approach. We'll see.
    6. R5T's Avatar
      Don't like Egger's approach on the quattro concept.
      Maybe he will do better on the next TT.
    7. rjnicko's Avatar
      Its such an aggressively epic car. Honestly Peter its not UGLY. I would have to say the cars what Mazda have come up with for the past few years now are about 10 times as UGLY as the Quattro. They are pretty bland and dull cars what history will soon forget. The Quattro on the other hand, well thats gonna live on in history as possibly one of the most iconic cars of the 1980's. You sir are genius the styling just has something about it I cant quite put my finger on. It just has real fury and presence in its design. Anytime I've seen a Quattro out and about it never fails to turn heads. Does a Mazda really do that now?

      Although I suppose its the same with Malcolm Sayer who designed, possibly the most beautiful car ever, the E-type Jaguar. He apparently thought the backend was UGLY as sin and awful, but to me personally I think its beyond beautiful.
      Updated 07-11-2012 at 06:50 PM by rjnicko
    8. R5T's Avatar