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anti-lag BANG! as you change gear and you're there. I'm getting carried away again, I know, but it's that sort of car - it makes you dream of being Rijrhl or (if you're a girl) Mouton. And if you don't believe me, just pop the satnav into Race mode, because it will begin reading you pace notes for the road ahead. That's right, you can have your very own electronic co-driver. Give it time and you'll probably even be able to download a voice file to make it sound like Phil Mills or Nicky Grist.

Things I would changc before production? Well, the Sparco seats may look very nice and only weigh 18kg but they need a lot more bucketing and bolstering for the thighs and abdomen for when we eventually get to chuck it around properly - just look at the almost cartoonish Recaros in the original if you need inspiration! I'd also like a normal handbrake instead of an electric switch that activates whirring motors. But, apart from that, don't bother to wrap it, I'll take it just as it is. 1 think what I like most about it is that it has all the drama and presence of a supercar but a completely different feel.

The concept went from idea to completion in well under two years and if production gets the nod it'll probably be a similar length of time until it's on the road without police escorts. The word is that fewer than 1000 will be produced, although one insider suggested a production run of 1300 in honour of the weight. I almost wish it weighed a bit more, lb en there's the price, and although it's clearly a 911 rival in terms of power and sije, the reborn Quattro would probably and unfortunately cost considerably more. Again, no-one is quite sure how much more, but I reckon it'll be close to R8 GT money.

\ decision on whether to build it will be made fairly soon. Given the unbridled enthusiasm of the designers and engineers tbat I met, I think there will be strikes and rioting if the decision is no. I'll happily join them on a picket with a Molotov cocktail too, because the Quattro concept has planted short-wheelbase dreams in my head that need to become reality.

Ralsasa; SioraVJatis & faniamatj. Ma^asites tor AJ



'There was nothing quite like the sight of a Stratos darting t could have come from another planet. The Lancia Stratos is so completely alien to the rest of the automotive world that you have to wonder how Bertone ever dreamt the thing up in the first place. From its wheeled-cheese-wedge profile and helmet-visor windscreen to the detailing and proportions, we'd not seen its anarchic nonconformity before or — until this month — since.

The Audi Quattro is the styling antithesis of the Lancia. At our I lethel-based face-off it stands next to the orangey-red homage to Pythagorus like a giant, muscled breeze-block. Square, bluff, blunt, hard and strong, it looks read}' to head-butt a path through the laws of aerodynamics rather than neatly cleaving the air apart with an axe-like wedge. It would be nigh on impossible to find an iconic pairing more different on the eye, and yet not only have both of these machines been reinvented for the second decade of the 21st cenrory, each in their day brought revolution to world rallying and became the dominant force of their time.

The Stratos looks and feels like it was designed for one man — Lancia's favoured son, Sandro Muaari. It was a bespoke rally machine built from the ground up for the Italian to dominate the world scene. Road cars only emerged for homologation purposes, 500 being required for Group 4 eligibility (in fact 492 are thought to have been produced), with the chassis and bodies built by Bertone in Turin

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