First ever Twin-charged and All-wheel-drive Lancia that rocked the Group B Rally FIA planned to launch Group B with more freedom of power and technology in 1908 and Lancia had to keep up with the competitors. Audi had Quattro AWD and Peugeot had 205 T16. Lancia answered the challengers with their all-new S4, which was based on the Delta hatchback. A lot of hard work and thinking went into the creation of S4 and was truly a masterpiece of engineering with immense power and ability. Although the Lancia S4 won many accolades and had a sparkling run in Rally, it ended up with a tragedy that led to the disbandment of Group B.



Lancia gave the job of developing S4 to Abarth and they did not disappoint. Never had they built an all-wheel-drive system or a very powerful engine, but the feat was eventually achieved and the results were outrageous. Based on Delta, S4 just used its front grille and windscreen, the rest of every inch of the car was designed and built from scratch. Abarth produced the first of kind Twin-charged engine, that had both the supercharger and turbocharger for forced induction and immediate power. S4 was also the first all-wheel-drive Lancia in the Rally Championship. A very lightweight chassis and tub were made from Kevlar and carbon composite to keep the car under 900 Kgs. The Lancia S4 was truly a king of Group B rally, having participated in the majority and winning many of the competitions.


Lancia S4 was a 2 door coupe that had a chassis (space frame) made of fiberglass and Kevlar composite with an integrated roll cage. This subframe was very lightweight and stiff to support the car power and the AWD system. S4 weighed only 860 kg.


S4 was powered by an Abarth 233 ATR 18S, 1.8 L Inline 4, DOHC 16v longitudinally mid-mounted engine, and a Hewland 5-speed manual transmission with front engagement and straight cut gears and it was the first rear-wheel-drive system. The engine produced 450-550 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque that could launch the car from 0 to 62 mph in 2.4 seconds, to a top speed of 145 mph.


Lancia S4, although spent a short life due to the mishap that led to the closure of Group B, still enjoyed a successful career and won many championships with the rest of the time spent on the podium too.

  • Lancia S4 stood victorious in the 34th Lombard RAC Rally Championship in 1985.
  • 28º Rallye Sanremo Victory in 1986.
  • In 1986, it won the 54ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo.
  • It won the 6th Marlboro Rally Argentina in 1986.
  • S4 also won the 21st Olympus Rally in 1986.

Different Trims and Unique Versions of Lancia S4

In order to comply with Group B promulgation rules, Lancia had to produce 200 road-going units of Lancia S4. It was named Lancia Delta S4 Stradale. It retained many parts from the rally version but had much-reduced power and extra frills. It had a much more comfortable interior and driving experience, better sound dampening, and use of luxury materials for everyday use.

Lancia developed another version called the ECV (Experimental Composite Vehicle), which was a prototype Group S rally car. The purpose was to replace the Delta S4 in the World Rally Championship for the 1988 season. But the Group S cars were also prohibited at the same time and Lancia decided to pursue the Group A Lancia Delta after the ECV project. The ECV featured an all-new suspension system upfront with better aerodynamic efficiency. Enhanced handling and maneuvering were achieved by shifting the weight towards the car’s center of gravity. ECV also boasted a better engine and transmission performance along
with reliability.