Forty years ago, in March 1980, the Audi Quattro made its public debut at the Geneva motor show.

It may be that there has never been a more important launch of a new Audi before or since. The car almost immediately became a motoring icon, achieved devastating success in motorsport and established Audi as a leader of a technology few other manufacturers had taken seriously.

That technology was four-wheel drive, so inherent to the car that it was included in its name: quattro is the Italian word for ‘four’. In German, it’s vier, pronounced ‘fear’, a word which could describe what it inspired in drivers of rival models and occasionally its own.

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