This monstrous engine first saw action in the famous Quattro rally cars we all know and love, where the chirp of those turbos and the aural surge first found fame. We aren’t here to go on about Quattros, though. This is the story of the five-pot’s last hurrah. The Quattro’s bouncing, boundary-less, bewinged circuit-faring descendent. This is the 1992 Audi S4 GTO. Yes, one of those utterly bonkers IMSA/Trans Am-esque monstrosities of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, whose aesthetics might lead you to believe someone had stuck Audi saloon car lights onto a fridge that had been hit multiple times with an axe. The S4 isn’t quite IMSA, though, but the breeding is evidently there.
The Audi 90 IMSA GTOs and 200 Trans Ams were the saving grace of the then-homeless five-cylinder turbo AWD drivetrain. With the demise of Group B, and Audi’s distance from rallying following some uninspiring results with the 200, this incredible powerhouse was all dolled up with nowhere to go. Audi repurposed the 200 – Quattro powertrain and all – for circuit racing in the states. As was becoming convention with this engine, it absolutely dominated, and America echoed to the howl of these monstrous machines. Things got even more batty in IMSA, where the 90s were essentially silhouettes with the bombastic powertrain churning out all the twist it could muster, with a flutter of the wastegate, a bang of flame and a puff of fumes by the gearshift. They dominated again.
Market penetration via motorsport was going well for Audi. Next stop: South Africa and the Wesbank series. Here pretty much anything went. The legendary powerplant could really stretch its muscles, but it could only be in a car sold in the South African market. Out with the 200 Trans Ams and 90 GTOs, in with the new S4 GTO. Hans Stuck, Terry Moss and Chris Aberdein to show everyone what puff these bruisers have left in them.
Puff that would shortly be rendered antiquated with the introduction of the all-V8 formula. As of 1994, Audi’s legendary five-banger was finally snuffed out, with the S4 GTO being its swansong.