All posts in Audi

3 C3: Audi Type 44 Roundup

A sleek aerodynamic design, modern electronics, luxurious appointments, all-wheel drive and available small displacement turbocharged engine. This is the recipe that nearly every luxury automaker has taken on in the past few years, but in the 1980s there was only one available car in this configuration – the C3 Audi. Okay, it’s taken the best part of 30 years for that blueprint to be the go-to design, and the market has changed in many ways since then, both from a buyers prospective and from the regulations that govern cars. But to say that the Audi Type 44 was an advanced car in its day was no leap – it really was about as technically sophisticated as cars got in the mid 1980s. Under the aerodynamic and efficient body lay a rally-bred drivetrain which was robust enough to carry the torch after the Group B cars had extinguished. Indeed, it was the Audi 200 quattro (5000CS quattro in the U.S.) which went on in 1987 to win Audi’s next major rally – the Kenyan Safari Rally – where the luxury sedan went 1-2 with Hannu Mikkola and Walter Rohrl. Not satisfied, Audi then took the large sedan racing; first in 200 quattro form in the Trans-Am championship, then later in the modified D11 V8 quattro DTM car. It was an unconventional race car which was very successful – something Audi excelled at, historically. But nearly extinct are the road-worthy versions of the early 5000 quattro; the complicated pattern of electronics and hydraulics systems, originally its strength, being the downfall of many. Today I have the three rarely seen variants of the 5000 that were available in the mid 1980s; 5000CS quattro, 5000CS quattro Avant, and 5000S quattro. Which would you want to take home?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000CS quattro on eBay

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2008 Audi A4 3.2 quattro Avant S-Line Titanium Package

Following up on yesterday’s super-loaded A4 I’ve moved forward a decade to the last of the B7 series cars. Between the B5 and B7 generation cars, Audi made significant improvements to their small car, with more upscale and tech-heavy interiors and impressive power output from the new line of motors. While the A4 was introduced with the 172 horsepower 12 valve V6, by the B7 generation the lump had grown to 3.2 liters with the new “FSi” direct injection. While the B5 generation had introduced 5 valve technology as we saw yesterday, the B6/7 went back to 4 valves per a cylinder with variable intake manifolds. The result was impressive; despite the small bump in displacement, the 3.2 FSi motor produced 255 horsepower; more than the B5 S4 came to market with. Audi backed up the performance with its new “sport” designation, the S-Line package. That added the 1BE sport suspension, the sport steering wheel (with paddle shifters for Tiptronic-equipped models), and special aluminum trim. If there was one downside to the S-Line package, it was that you could only get it with black interiors – unlike the vibrant color combination we saw yesterday. To make up for that in some regards, Audi then offered an even more premium exterior option; the Titanium Package. Selecting that option would equip your A4 with 18 inch quattro GmbH Ronal multi-spoke alloys in Titanium and blacked out trim both inside and out. Generally, these S-Line Titanium Avants are considered the most desirable A4 Avants made – and for some, they’re more special than even the S4 Avant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi A4 3.2 quattro Avant S-Line Titanium Package on San Francisco Craigslist

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1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

By 1996 and the launch of the new B5 chassis A4 model, Audi had decidedly lost the sport from its U.S. model lineup. There were only three models available from the brand in that year, and with the demise of the S6 all featured the venerable if relatively underpowered and underwhelming 12 valve V6. For the new A4, there was no “Sport” model – a little surprising considering the lengths that Audi went through to race the sedan in Touring Car competitions, where it was very successful. The Sport package, which had debuted in the B3 90 20V sedan and continued in the B4 V6 model for 1995, was reintroduced into the B5 model for the U.S. market in 1997 with the launch of the 1.8T 20V turbo model. As it had with previous generations, that included slightly more distinct wheels and Jacquard than the standard model, but the 1.8T at that point still only produced 150 horsepower and lugging the all-wheel drive A4 around meant the early 1.8Ts were anything but quick. With mid 8-second runs to 60 m.p.h., they weren’t much faster than the 4000 quattro had been a decade earlier. However changes and added sport came in 1998 to the A4 run when Audi moved the 5 valve technology into the V6 motor. Now in AHA 30 valve form, the output of the V6 bumped roughly 20 horsepower and 20 lb. ft or torque up and was a closer match to the European competition, and acceleration and especially highway feel were finally befitting a “sport” designation. Audi also gave these sport models the same 3-spoke sport steering wheel the 1.8T model had received, as well as introducing a new wheel design. The 7-spoke “Swing” wheels would begin the differentiation between the sport equipped models and the standard A4s and while they were the same 16″ size as the non-sport wheels, the design somehow looked considerably more special. Audi also began offering the 1BE sport suspension in the B5 model, with a slightly lower ride height and stiffer springs giving the A4 a more menacing presence. Audi further offered some more unique interiors and exteriors to help set their A4 apart; the “Cool Shades” had debuted with the 1.8T and were carried on to the V6 model in 1998. Along with some revised tail lights, the ’98 V6 model could be made very special indeed, with unique interiors as well:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

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2013 Audi TT RS

There aren’t too many cars that I look at today and think that down the road they’ll be viable used cars. I can look back at the previous tech-heavy generation cars for the trends of what will occur – take the BMW E31 for example. Sure, it’s a really neat looking car, and the lure of the V12 is made even more appealing since you could get a manual transmission. But then there are the horror stories of the 15 or more computers that it takes to run all of the electronic systems, and I wonder how people will keep them running in the future. That’s even more compounded when you look at newer models. For example, about a month ago I took a trip out to Coventry Motorcar and drove their modified CL65 AMG. It was when new, and still is today, an amazing car with every sort of electronic gizmo possible, from heated, cooled and massaging seats to the twin-turbo V12 under the hood. It’s as if Mercedes-Benz took a Brookstone catalog and attached it to a Saturn V rocket. But can you imagine maintaining that car as it creeps towards 120,000 miles? I certainly can’t, and it’s a feeling I have about nearly all new luxury German cars.

There are a few exceptions, even in my favorite brand of Audi. While I’m not a fan of most of the models they’ve come out with recently in general, there are a few special ones that I’d consider owning down the road. It’s not that I don’t like or admire the cars; the performance of the new generation motors is stunning and the interiors and exteriors are, I think, the best in the business. It’s that I just can’t contemplate how you’d keep a new S8 running down the road. Having owned cutting edge, tech heavy Audis in the past, it’s a recipe that I would be concerned with in the future. I might make an exception, though, for a car like the this:


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1985 Audi Quattro

It’s always a bit of fun to see a GCFSB alumni pop up again; back in September of 2013 this particular Quattro appeared on these pages. Now, typically when we relist a car we’ve previously featured, we’ll do a “revisit”. But I’m not going to do that with this car for one simple reason; the change in price. You see, the current seller bought this car almost exactly two years ago to the day. I remember looking longingly at the listing and thinking that if I was in a slightly different place, this car had the prospect of being an incredible deal. Not only were few 1985 model Quattros imported, but to me they’re the best looking of the bunch and offer the upgrades of the later Type 85 chassis; better electronics, an updated dash and some trim bits and of course the classic 8″ Ronals. There were a lot of positives, including a respray, working air conditioning and recent maintenance. Despite that, it traded hands at $15,000 – a bargain for a legendary car in good shape with low miles. Well, if you missed the boat then, tickets for this ride have gotten slightly more expensive….as in, just over 5 times more expensive:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro on eBay

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