1987 Audi 5000CS Turbo

The gulf between North American and European market performance was wide in all manufactures in the 1980s, but no where did it feel more vast than with the Audi products. That was especially true with the turbocharged variants of the large chassis. In European guise, the Type 200 5T developed 170 horsepower even without an intercooler, while the U.S. 5000 Turbo managed only 130 from the 2.1 liter inline-5. That was a 24% drop in performance, and it didn’t get much better with the Type 44 replacement. Though displacement later grew to 2.2 liters in the MC1 and 2 codes, power output never exceeded 162 horsepower. That meant that the 1987 Audi 5000CS Turbo (and the turbocharged quattro model) produced only about 81% of its European equivalent’s power output.

Despite that, the 5000 was a great sedan. It was quite, comfortable, and more modern-feeling than its contemporaries. It was also good enough for notorious BMW-friendly Car and Driver to add it to their 10-Best list – even without the trademark all-wheel drive. With weight fairly far in excess of 3,000 lbs, the luxury sedan wasn’t a rocket off the line, but on the roll it was a competent and quiet cruiser. Audi claimed the automatic-equipped Turbo model would hit 60 mph in 8.7 seconds and flat out would do 130 mph – numbers that were barely better than its normally aspirated smaller brother Coupe and 4000S front-drive models (themselves not particularly notable for being quick!). But thanks to some notoriety in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and great press (ahem – well, for a bit anyways!), these Audis sold fairly well. For example, compared to the 4000 quattro and Coupe GT models, the 5000 Turbo was traded in much greater numbers despite its high price. In 1987, Audi sold just shy of 2,000 Coupe GT models and nearly 3,000 4000CS quattros.…

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

1986 Audi 5000CS Quattro

People who have owned Audis have stories about their Audis. Those that love them have stories about conquering snowbanks, hundreds of thousands of miles accrued, or the extreme value they provided in the used luxury market. Those that hate them recount the countless times they broke down, or the semi-ridiculous nature of those breakdowns; the steering rack fell off, all of the electrics died at once, or they rusted before they were even purchased new. In the world of used Audis, there just doesn’t seem to be any ambivalent middle ground; people love them, or hate them. While I fall into the hippie love-fest for most 1980s Audi products, I’ll admit that I have my fair share of horror stories that would probably scare off less devoted fans. I owned two big-body Audis; a 1989 200 quattro Avant, and a 1993 V8 quattro. In many ways, the 1989 was identical to this 1986 5000CS quattro underneath and outside, but the 200 had several updates to the interior. But the horror stories? Sure, there are plenty of those. There was the time on the Mass Pike outside Sturbridge – leaving a toll booth, the car was running great and I gave it the full boot out of the gate. Full out to redline, grab the next gear and right back on it – I must have been making an impression on the people as my land yacht wagon aimed its nose decidedly at the moon. When I looked in the mirror to see how impressed they were, I saw nothing – except white smoke. Lots and lots of white smoke. I pulled over to see that an oil feed line to the cooler had popped off and I had emptied the sump as quickly as the pump could pump at redline. Sweeeeeet.…

It’s Hip To Be Square: 1986 Audi Coupe GT and 1987 Audi 5000CS Quattro

There are probably a few out there reading this who will remember Huey Lewis and the News, or perhaps you’re a fan of Christian Bale and his performance in American Psycho which prominently featured a notoriously catchy song by the band, “It’s Hip to be Square”. While the song itself was a relative hit, for me it’s Bale’s character’s critique of the band that is particularly poignant when considering Audis from the 1980s:

“You like Huey Lewis and the News? Their early work was a little too new wave for my taste, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor. I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to Be Square,” a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself!”

Audi reinvented itself in the 1980s; with crisp, clean new designs that stood apart from their countrymen. They were boxy but aerodynamic, clean and economical – yet at the same time, they were really noticeable, looked expensive and have stood the test of time. Yet few people partook in these 1980s Audis compared to some more period marques. If Mercedes-Benz was the sign that you had made it to opulent wealth and still made good decisions, BMW was the sign that – well, you’d just made it to wealth. But Audis, though quite dear in price, were always a bit different; outsiders in their own land.…

10K Friday “80s Classic” Edition: 924 Turbo v. 5000CS Quattro Avant v. Golf Rallye v. 535i v. 300CE

One thing I really love about writing up these 10K posts is a odd combinations pricing allows me to come up with. For today’s post, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of maximizing the budget, I decided to look at it from the perspective of what was a classic 1980s car that you could buy and maintain well under $10,000. Obviously, if you’re willing to shill out much more, there are countless classics you can jump in to turn-key; but under $10,000 means with almost certainty that the car you’ll be getting in to today will be at least in part a bit of a project. Is there anything wrong with that? No, I think there’s an inherent appeal to trying to save and resuscitate a car that was in part neglected or just needs attention. Certainly I’ve tried to do that several times with 1980s cars – with mixed results. Today, I grabbed one classic from the 1980s (give or take, we’ll see…) from each of the major manufacturers – which is the one you’d like to save?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Audi 5000CS Quattro

While it’s tempting to throw the design laurels for Audi onto the later 200 20V quattro and S4/S6 models as we often do, it’s important to remember that they were really developments of the original Audi super-sedan, the 5000CS quattro. That model was, itself, a development of the earlier turbocharged version of the large sedan, as seen driven in by the father in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The CS quattro brought together the best elements of Audi’s designs; the revolutionary C3/Type 44 aerodynamic and futuristic design which provided excellent looks and fuel economy, the robust all-wheel drive system with locking differentials as seen in the World Rally Championship-winning Quattro and 4000S/CS quattro, and the turbocharged inline-5 that also powered the Quattro and had previously powered the front-drive sedan. But 60 Minutes managed to do a number on late 1980s Audi products, creating a scenario where Audi was nearly removed from the American market. That meant low residual values, and by many these 5000s were viewed as throw away cars for some time. It’s become rare to find good examples, and while this particular one isn’t showroom-fresh it is a reminder that the 5000 was a neat looking and performing package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 5000CS Quattro on eBay

1986 Audi 5000CS Turbo

It’s pretty much a given that the moment I write “we haven’t seen one of these in a while”, a second appears nearly immediately. In the case of yesterday’s 5000CS quattro, these big Audis have become so rare to the market these days that it had been months since I saw a decent example for sale. Yet, like clockwork, here’s the second in two days – but with a slight twist. Few outside of the die-hard Audi fans will recall that there was a front wheel drive Audi turbo available from 1985 until 1990. Running the same power plant as yesterday’s quattro but without the all-wheel drive system, these 5000 Turbos were actually quite fun to drive on back roads, great cruisers on the highway and slightly quicker due to less weight. Despite that few chose the Turbo model as an option and it’s probably only remembered vaguely by 1980s movie fans as the car that Ferris Bueller’s dad drove.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 5000CS Turbo on eBay

Heap of the Week 2: 1987 Audi 5000CS Quattro

Recently the plethora of good condition Audi Coupe GTs and 4000 quattros have drawn into sharp contrast the relative lack of 5000s that seem to come up for sale. One of our Facebook comments noted this; it’s just become very rare to see Audi 5000 quattros for sale, or indeed 5000 quattros at all! The 5000 was an interesting counterpoint to the BMW and Mercedes-Benz large sedans. It was extremely aerodynamic for the early 1980s, offered good luxury items and the awesome quattro drivetrain. For enthusiasts, it was turbocharged and ran effectively the same motor as U.S.-bound Quattro coupes and came only in a manual. The early 5000s, like the 4000 quattro, had manual engaged locking differentials for serious snow. Despite these specifications, the 5000 suffered serious depreciation following the farcical and infamous 60-minutes “Unintended Acceleration” story and few seem to have survived. Today there is a good basis for sale on Ebay, though it’ll require some work to get it back to it’s former glory:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000CS Quattro on eBay