Driven: 2009 Audi S5 vs. 1985 Audi Ur quattro  

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When the Audi S5 hit the market in December of 2007, the car was a revelation. The voluptuous coupe was the first two-door grand-tourer from Audi to be sold in America since 1991, and the ’91 Coupe quattro wasn’t terribly high-performance.

With striking design, a burly, 354-hp FSI V8 and an excellent new chassis, the S5 has more going for it than likely any Audi coupe prior – a fitting rival to serious competitors like the BMW 3 Series Coupe or Mercedes-Benz CLK.

The S5 may represent the best hand Audi has yet to play in this segment, but it’s hard to compete with an icon and that’s just what originated this space for Audi. The coupe’s spiritual successor must assuredly be the original quattro (a.k.a. Ur-quattro) – the boxy ‘80s fastback that set the rallying world on its glutes when it roared onto the scene at the beginning of the Reagan era to the soundtrack of a warbling five-cylinder turbocharged engine and, we must assume, AC/DC’s Back in Black over the state-of-the-art cassette player with Dolby noise reduction.

So does the S5 compare to the icon – the car that started it all by pairing all-wheel drive with performance and putting Audi back on the map after decades of post-World War II brand re-invention? We decided to take a closer look at both cars recently, pairing the latest S5 with one very pristine 1985 example owned by Marc Nguyen, a major force behind the Audi Club’s Potomac Chapter and a DC local who now shares his home town with Audi of America.
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