1992 Audi 100CS quattro

So on to the C4 chassis. Though it was instantly recognizable as an Audi, the all-new C4 bore little resemblance to the boxy C3 it replaced. Fluid lines and curves dominated the design, while new running gear and motors made a splash in performance. The C4 continued to stress Audi’s pioneering aerodynamic tradition, but the result this time was a car which seemed far less top-heavy than the chassis it replaced. It looked more trim even if it was a big bigger than the outgoing model.

On the fly, the 100’s new motivation was a revelation. The 2.8 liter V6 replaced the 2.3 liter inline-5, and though horsepower was only 172 and torque 184, both figures represented a nearly 30% gain over the 5-pot. New, too, was a 4-speed automatic transmission. And while the inside looked little different from the last of the C3, only switch gear was shared and the C4 brought a host of new safety and convienence features to the large-chassis Audi.

Strange, though, was the re-appearance of Audi’s earlier naming convention in the U.S.. Back in the early days of the 5000, Audi had used the “S” and “CS” monikers to denote turbo and quattro models at times (but, again being Audi, inconsistently). Well, the S and CS were back after a four-year hiatus. Base model 100 came with steel wheels, while the “S” model stepped you up in options and gave you alloys. But outside of the 20V turbo S4 model, the 100 to get was still the 100CS, which was the most loaded and gave you the option for Audi’s quattro drivetrain. Fully loaded, they were around $35,000 – not cheap, but also not the most expensive in class, and were still unique in offering all-wheel drive.

However, like the C3, the front-drive 100/100S/100CS outsold the quattro model by a fair margin. Audi claims they traded 2,230 of the new 100CS quattro in 1992, and here’s the nicest one out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi 100CS quattro on eBay

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Pre-A: 1994 Audi 100CS quattro

Audi’s naming convention between 1985 and 1995 was, to say the least, a bit confusing. Audi had already changed its B2 series to the 4000 designation and C2/3 series to 5000 to help differentiate them from the earlier models. Starting in 1986, Audi introduced the “CS” designation. In the 5000 model, that denoted the turbocharged model, as the “S” was lower spec model. The same carried to the 4000 model. In both cases, the “S” model was no longer available with quattro. This was a bit confusing, as the 4000S quattro had been available in ’84/’85, and the ’86 model was effectively identical to the outgoing ’85. It was more confusing, though, in ’87, when the “S” model was introduced with quattro in the 5000 range but not in the 4000.

In 1988, the trim levels changed again. Now the 4000 designation was gone, replaced with the B3 models that brought the small sedans in line with their European counterparts. Now there was a low spec 80 and a high spec 90, both available with quattro. The 5000 soldiered on for another year with only revised badging script to bring it in line with the change.

In ’89, the 5000 was changed over to match the 80/90 with the 100/200 models. As with 80/90, the 100/200 differentiated trim and engine choice. Quattro was available in both models, but the 200s were higher spec and had turbochargers. It made sense.

Things started to get confusing again in 1992, though. Audi was really struggling to make sales in the U.S., and the introduction of the new “S” performance models further muddied the waters as the new C4 was introduced. Gone was the 200, but S/CS designation was back! However, since turbocharged models were limited to the S4 in the U.S., there was no 100S quattro – only the 100CS quattro. This convention, however, only lasted 3 years.

At the same time, the 90 range was also revised in 1993 to the new B4 model. In 1992, only the 80 model was available, but when the new 90 model was launched, the 80 was gone and the 90 was now S/CS trim, too. The strange changes continued in 1995, when thoroughly frustrated by their lack of sales success Audi completely relaunched their brand with the new “A” series of names. So, in 1995, the 100 became the A6 and the S4 became the S6, with only minor changes between the two. But the 90 continued alongside the A6 range for one more year until the new A4 was ready, although the CS was dropped in that year and replaced with “Sport”. Still with me?

The point of all this is that each of these generations of Audis is pretty unique, but none were particularly sales successes. In the case of the 100CS quattro we see here, a scant 5,000 of which were sold in the U.S.:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Audi 100CS quattro on eBay

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