By on November 24, 2010

Although it did what it needed to do, it looks awful

Peter Birtwhistle, designer of the legendary short-wheelbase Audi Sport Quattro (above), tells Autocar what he really thinks about its design… and just in time for Audi to announce that its Ur Quattro-inspired Quattro Concept will be built in limited numbers. Birtwhistle explains that the real cause for Ur-ugliness was “stretching the Quattro look over [the shorter Audi 80 platform],” a challenge that also echoes with the Quattro Concept, which slaps retro design elements on a short-wheelbase version of the handsome RS5. As a result, the Quattro Concept looks every bit as awkward and disjointed as the Sport Quattro, with just a touch of Camaro-esque retro-self-consciousness. But as Birtwhistle’s line reminds us, sometimes ugly is the best way to emphasize purpose.

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18 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Ugly Is As Ugly Does Edition...”

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Audi Quattro ugly is a good kind of ugly.

  • avatar

    I don’t hate nearly as much as Ed. A retro model from Audi may be a great way to cash in on the reflected glory of the brands more adventurous decades.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Why is this ugly again?
    My only problem is the lack of visibility.

  • avatar

    That ain’t ugly at all. Coke-bottle styling (or some derivative) needs to come back after all these years. My problem? Is the concept a true pillarless hardtop? Or, are we being fooled again (Challenger, Camaro concepts vs. reality)? Sorry, but I’m fixated on this stuff and keep hoping, ’cause I can’t afford a BMW or MB! I probably can’t afford an Audi, either.

  • avatar

    The new Quattro is damn good looking!

  • avatar

    I think the Quattro concept looks fantastic and I would love to own one.  Too bad it will be afflicted with a terrible case of overpriced-German-caritis.

  • avatar

    Overall I think it’s quite a good looking car – it’s biggest let down is that enormous grill on the front. It looks likes a Cylon from the original Battlestar Gallactica.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, the grill is a major turn off for me. Without the grill, I would give it an A-, with the grill, a C is all I would go for. What’s up with the giant grills?

  • avatar

    I like it too, though it might be one of the few cars with worse visiblilty than my TT.  The A5/S5 is gorgeous, but perhaps a little too subtle [unless one gets it in lime green, of course]; one can’t say that about this car!  Is this a two seater or a four seater?  If this car has a shorter wheelbase than the A5, it sure is not going to have much back seat room.

  • avatar

    Still can’t get used to the tank-slit greenhouse. Had a 1984 4000S and loved the tall windows.

  • avatar

    I think if the designer of the original admits that it was ugly because it was made to be function over form, and they then try to design a car to be ugly on purpose, as form over function(or form over form?) then the whole point of it’s proposed ugliness is lost. IMO the original Quattro was based on a not very pretty car, and then shortened and widened to make a rally car, so it looks cool in a very purposeful way, you can tell by looking at it that it’s a beast. The new car is based on a car that is quite good looking (first since the 70’s for Audi IMO) and then made ugly just to be ugly? Even if it has coke-bottle styling I will just have to hate it unconditionally…not that it’s hard to hate Audi’s for me as a dedicated Ford Fanboy.

  • avatar

    Not bad.  Not an Alfa, but not weird like a Japanese design, either.  But what’s up with the digital dash?  Is it 1980 again, and are we in Corvette land?

  • avatar

    to those rally drivers and Audi these cars were above rubies in her days.
    mind as well call Mona Lisa was a frumpy broad.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Its not so bad, the new one, but I didn’t catch why its better than a TT. The TT is a pretty car and can get hysterical if you want.

  • avatar

    I dunno,
    In their period, the Quattro/5+5 seemed pretty damn sexy relative to what was available in the US market at the pricepoint, at the time.
    There wasn’t a domestic that looked (or drove) within a lightyear of the Quattro back in the day.
    Sure, with contemporary glasses it was a Civic, but let us not forget that a 77 930 was a “rocketship” when it turned in a 7-ish second 60 run….

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