Audi Quattro vs Nissan GT-R: aged vs new all circle expostulate face-off

It is possible, we wonder, to write this underline comparing a merits and similarities of a Audi Quattro 20V and and it latter-day equivalent, a latest 2017 indication year Nissan GT-R, yet mentioning a word Vorsprung durch Technik? Oh well, there we go. Failed already.

Yet Audi’s much-parodied selling mantra epitomises what this sold comparison is all about. Created in a early 1970s, afterwards forsaken sensitively a few years after before being resurrected so memorably in a ’80s to publicize a then-brand-new Quattro among other four-wheel-drive Audis, it is a unequivocally definition of Vorsprung durch Technik – swell by record – that so apparently links Quattro 20V to GT-R.

Nissan GT–R review

Both paint cutting-edge technical talent on a partial of their sold manufacturers, despite voiced in a rather conflicting approach and distant by scarcely 3 decades. Both cars, ultimately, are led by technology. And both cars, in their possess way, flattering many obliterated any arrange of foe when they were initial introduced.

Audi Quattro and Nissan GT-R


I can remember their impact vividly given we was benefaction for a launches of both vehicles. Yes, we unequivocally am that old. As a wide-eyed highway tester operative for What Car? repository in a late 1980s, we somehow found myself during a premiere of a Quattro 20V in 1989, and subsequently spent a thick finish of a week in one in a UK. And it was an knowledge we will never, ever forget. The automobile was that good, that quick, that special. 

A integrate of decades later, we was during a Sendai Hi-Land Raceway in Japan, where a unequivocally initial of a stream multiply of R35 GT-Rs were being introduced to a world’s press. And we clearly remember carrying identical feelings about this automobile to a ones I’d had about a 20V Quattro behind in a day: that it could do things that other cars during this cost turn simply could not do. That it could stop for, go around, and afterwards accelerate out of corners in a approach that shouldn’t unequivocally be probable in a automobile that wears series plates and has 4 seats and a decent-sized boot.

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Both cars, during their introduction, blew my mind, utterly frankly. And now here we are again, roughly 30 years after a 20V Quattro exploded onto a stage and entirely 10 years given that bizarre Dec 2007 launch of a R35 GT-R, and we definitely can't wait to put these twin together. To expostulate them back-to-back over a same roads, only to see.

Nissan GT–R front


Weirdly enough, I’m already informed with both of these sold examples. The Nissan we see here is my stream Fast Fleet appurtenance and I’ve finished heaps of miles in it now and adore it to bits. The Pearl White Quattro, on a other hand, is partial of Audi’s birthright swift and, theory what, I’ve already finished lots of miles in this automobile as well, despite a prolonged time ago, in a universe far, distant away…

Squaring adult to one another in a Welsh bank automobile park, a GT-R definitely dwarfs a Quattro physically. Back in a day, we remember meditative that a Audi looked impossibly tough, generally around a behind haunches. It was a big, intimidating automobile relations to many other things around during that time. In 1989, it unequivocally did seem like it was aristocrat of a road, dynamically, physically, and actually.

Best all-wheel expostulate cars

But it looks definitely off-hand today, roughly to a indicate of appearing to be a bit skinny beside a kraken of a automobile that is a GT-R. The Quattro’s 15-inch wheels seemed to fill those burned arches utterly ideally in a heyday, yet now they demeanour tiny and considerate and only nowhere nearby large adequate beside a Nissan’s 20- in. alloys and ultra-low-profile tyres that come clearly within a millimetre or twin of scraping a wheelarch liners, even when a car’s during rest.

Here’s a thing, though: a Quattro’s settled kerbweight in 1989 was a small 1350kg, since a Nissan’s currently is a whopping 1752kg. That’s not distant off an whole Caterham’s value of weight difference, and we can see it with your possess eyes when they are side by side.

And yet, of a two, it’s a Quattro that has by distant a some-more interior space. You could lift 4 adults with no problem whatsoever in a Audi. To do so in a Nissan we need to put a large electric front seats all a approach forwards, that creates pushing it impossible, and afterwards take a chainsaw to mislay a reduce tools of a behind passengers’ legs. And remember, a Audi is around 30cm shorter than a Nissan as well. So being 28 years younger hasn’t finished many for a wrapping of a GT-R, that is effectively a two-seater with an additional bit of space for luggage (in further to a admittedly outrageous boot) behind a front seats.

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Anyway, initial impressions on their relations distance and wrapping successes are one thing, yet pushing them is what we’re here to do, and with both cars there is so many to savour. we plump for a Audi initial given we haven’t even seen one of these things in a final 10 years, let alone sat in one or, improved still, driven one.

Audi Quattro


The impulse we start to rivet with a Quattro, it feels both poetic yet also certainly aged and antiquated. Even only a elementary lift on a doorway hoop reminds we of yesteryear. The hoop itself looks and feels from another epoch – cold yet strangely appreciative to a hold – and there’s indeed something called a pivotal that we need to insert to open a doorway if it’s locked. And when we lift on a hoop it kind of clanks in your hand, afterwards a doorway itself feels light and strangely threadlike as we lift it open.

Which is a accurate conflicting to a approach we remember a doorway of a 20V Quattro feeling in 1989. Back then, this automobile felt impossibly clever and well-made alongside all else that was on sale, yet swell – or some-more to a indicate a mania with reserve comforts – means a doorway of roughly any complicated automobile feels meatier than that of an Audi Quattro. And I’m not certain either that’s a good or a bad thing on balance.

Ford Focus RS

Climb inside a Audi and a clarity of antiquation becomes even some-more noted in certain areas. Like a pushing position, and a seats, and a dark Blaupunkt stereo, and a shifting heater controls, and a indicator stalks that feel as yet they are violation somewhat each time we use them, and a fact there are bumps in a floor, due to a further of twin matter exhausts.

Audi Quattro and Nissan GT-R

The pushing position itself is a bit of a shocker to be honest, yet customarily given we don’t remember it being anywhere nearby this bad in terms of how distant homogeneous a steering circle is relations to a pedals. The centre of a circle is directly in line with a purchase pedal, so it feels rather as yet you’re pushing a automobile from a wrong seat. And a pedals themselves are all complicated and awkward in operation (always were in Audis, and for a prolonged time after this). There’s a particular aroma, too: a brew of oil, fuel and damp carpets; a smell of a 30-year-old car, essentially, even yet this one has been looked after as good as any.

It’s a digitised instruments that are a many dating underline of all, though. They were slicing corner in their day, yet now – like many things that were once deemed insubordinate – they seem embarrassingly archaic. They demeanour like they were designed by a same chairman who combined a sets for Blake’s 7, and we can’t assistance yet grin a initial time we turn a pivotal in a ignition and they light adult in front of you, intense red-on-black, many like a Casio watch from 1978.

Nissan Skyline GT–R R34

Normally you’d pattern things to go from bad to worse when we start pushing a automobile of this age, yet a conflicting turns out to be a box in a Quattro 20V and it’s a means of genuine delight. This one’s lonesome 80,000 miles yet is in excellent fettle, and a turbocharged engine itself feels honeyed as a nut. It’s flattering many how we remember it, in fact, with a lovely, well-spoken excellence to it on tickover and a bizarre deficiency of a five-cylinder thrum you’d expect. The 20V versions never had that, though, instead being quieter, some-more fit and some-more absolute than a progressing cars.

Audi Quattro and Nissan GT-R

In this day and age, 217bhp from a 2.2-litre five-cylinder engine is zero special, let’s face it, yet behind afterwards it was flattering tasty, and even in 2017 a Quattro still feels morally sprightly – and impressively lag-free – when we open it up. True, a purchase is ridiculously complicated and a gearchange is distant too extensively (again, always was) yet a approach a 20V goes is still not to be sniffed at, generally between 2000 and 4500rpm where it still feels honestly potent.

I have to acknowledge we wasn’t awaiting that. After a GT-R that I’d arrived in, we suspicion a Audi would feel hopelessly undercooked in terms of pure, straight- line acceleration, yet no; it still feels sharp-witted and enterprising and frail in a smoothness – to a indicate where we reckon it could still live with something like a Golf GTI today. Which competence not sound like a matter of a year yet is indeed flattering startling if we consider about it, given a rate of swell in new times.

Nissan Skyline GT–R R33

It even steers utterly sweetly, and goes turn corners with a satisfactory bit some-more pointing than we was expecting, even if it does feel a years when it comes to undisguised hold levels and damping over a exam route’s misfortune imperfections, of that there are many. It doesn’t feel glued to a tarmac in a approach it did in 1989, zero like, yet conjunction does it feel as yet it will hurl over itself and tumble off a highway if we expostulate it quickly, that is how many cars from this epoch now feel, generally when compared with their complicated equivalents (doubly so when that complicated homogeneous is a GT-R).

Audi Quattro and Nissan GT-R

Fact is, we find myself pushing a 20V Quattro harder than we suspicion we was going to over this road, and it behaves improved than we suspicion it would. In many areas it unequivocally does feel like a relic, never some-more so than in a front seats, that seem to yield no support whatsoever when you’re travelling a bit, since as we remember them feeling so impossibly sporting approach behind when. But on a move, and simply to drive, it still feels remarkably tidy. In elemental terms, it is still a surprisingly good sorted car, one that goes and grips and steers a whole lot improved than we approaching it to all this time after it was invented.

And it also still happens to demeanour rather poetic in a metal, maybe generally so in 2017. Not as meant and robust and disobedient as it did when Brit engineer Martin Smith initial denounced his work of talent to a universe behind in a 1980s, no, yet it still looks right. Still looks essentially scold in all a proportions. Still looks great, all these years later, even beside a 2017 indication year Nissan GT-R.

Nissan Skyline GT–R R32

And so what does a Nissan feel like after spending a thick finish of a day behind a circle of a automobile that supposing many of a impulse for a unequivocally being? Like a automobile from a conflicting solar system, if I’m brutally honest. Mostly that’s a good thing and represents swell on Nissan’s behalf.


Audi Quattro and Nissan GT-R

The 562bhp GT-R is massively faster and some-more able than a Quattro, of march it is. It also feels many some-more costly and lush and complicated inside. It has all we could ever wish for in terms of specification, with multi-adjustable atmosphere con, electric motors that pierce a seats, mixed data- logging comforts in a computerised infotainment screen, satellite navigation, a stereo that will make your eardrums raze if we wish them to. And it feels like a hugely some-more worldly automobile than a Quattro as a result. 

But there are aspects of a GT-R that we do consternation about, have always wondered about, and pushing a Quattro 20V beside it brings those aspects some-more neatly into concentration than ever before. They are, unequivocally simply, a size, a weight and a honestly absurd packaging.

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Spending a day with a Quattro has done me consternation some-more than ever if a GT-R unequivocally needs to be as large and complicated as it is, given how many space inside it definitely doesn’t have. And a answer is no, it definitely does not need to be this huge, or this heavy.

Audi Quattro and Nissan GT-R

So, even 30 years later, a Quattro is still portion adult lessons to a rest of a automobile world, and we think it’s one of those singular cars that we will continue to learn from as time goes by – including a magicians who pattern and build a modern-day fable that is a Nissan GT-R. It’s always good to remember: only spasmodic reduction is more, even in a automobile that is led by technology.


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