1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V

1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V

As I cover the more typically unloved range of German automobiles, finding comps can be at best difficult. At any given time, there are many favorite models of each of the marques available from pretty much any given date range – except Audi. For example, right now there are well over 100 pre-1990 BMWs on eBay. Audi? There’s one right now. One. And, I’ve already looked at it.

The result is that when you have a pristine example of a 26 year old Audi, finding something exactly like it to compare values is very difficult. But we have something unique today to follow up on yesterday’s highly-spec’d ’91 90 quattro 20V, as another very clean Type 89 20V just so happened top come up for sale at the same time. How does it match up?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V on eBay

1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V with 23,000 Miles

1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V with 23,000 Miles

As I covered in my last 90 quattro 20V post, while the sedan version of the small chassis mated with the 7A dual-cam EFI inline-5 may not have looked quite as sexy and evocative as the Coupe version, it was a bit quicker and more rare. That’s carried over to today; with such a small pool to begin with at only around an estimate of 1,000 imported here over the short 2-year production cycle, it bears to reason 25 plus years later there won’t be many in good shape. Factor in the typical Audi depreciation and lack of careful ownership downstream, and coming across a 90 quattro 20V like today’s 23,000 mile example is just to the left of impossible:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V on eBay

1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V

1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V

Just as they had with the development of the 10V Turbo for their top tier products, Audi’s work on the Group B, Sport and later RR 20V Quattro (along with the creation of the original S-series cars soon after) trickled down into the rest of the range, but only in a very limited fashion. The 7A 2.3 liter 20V motor was the beneficiary of that racing work, and it was at the time a pretty impressive unit. Out of 2.3 liters, Audi squeezed a very reliable 164 horsepower with a screaming 7,200 RPM redline. While it’s true this was down on peak power to racing motors like the M3’s S14, the adding of the second cam and a modern EFI engine management also yielded nearly 160 ft.lb of torque.

So why does everyone claim that this car was under-powered?

Weight. The luxury-oriented B3 was most popular in Coupe form, where at 3,300 lbs in 1991 it was in need of a diet. It was 30 horsepower down on the BMW, and weighed 500 lbs more, with a more frontward weight bias. A performance car this did not make, and the result was that the expensive Audis leisurely gained speed. Despite the near 50% power increase over the outgoing Coupe GT, a stock B3 Coupe Quattro shared near identical 0-60 times and cost $10,000 more.

But if you were a clever buyer, you could get slightly better performance out of the 4-door variant of the naturally aspirated double overhead cam inline-5. That’s because concurrent with Coupe production, the motor and drivetrain was offered in the slightly lighter 90 quattro 20V:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V on Chicago Craigslist

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T

In a very small subset of enthusiasts, early Audi chassis are nearly as legendary as the BMW E30. Robust, well built and refined, Audi over-engineered most of its small chassis starting with the B2 because it was the platform that launched the legendary turbocharged Quattro. While the normally aspirated versions lacked the punch of their bigger brothers and the acceleration curves could be somewhat laughable, they still offered plenty of entertainment when driven hard. I have a video of my Coupe GT at Watkins Glen – heading up the long uphill straight, we’re shouting out numbers as they barely increase from 95-100 before flinging the car with nary a touch of the brakes into the bus stop, maniacal laughs abounding as we leap the turtles.

Clearly, though rare the small Audis are always prime for more power, and converting those earlier cars to turbocharged Quattro specs – or later RS2 replicas – has been popular since they were sold new. Today’s example, though, has different and more modern motivation than the familiar inline-5 under the hood – but they don’t get much better than this presentation and build:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T on Motorgeek

1985 Audi 90 quattro

1985 Audi 90 quattro

No, it’s not a misprint. Though you may not have been able to buy an Audi 90 in the United States until the B3 in 1988, in the rest of the world the same model you could buy here as the B2 4000S/CS quattro was marketed as two different models – the basic 80 quattro, and the more upscale 90 quattro. Differences between the two were bumpers, lights, wheels, and interior options as well as different power plants. The 90 was closest to the more “loaded” U.S. spec 4000S/CS quattro, and in fact looking through this model you’d be hard pressed to see many differences – consequently, few even ponder importation of a European model. However, differences are there – so let’s go through them and see if this B2 is worth the steep asking price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 90 Quattro on eBay

1995 Audi RS2 Avant

1995 Audi RS2 Avant

Having visited Finland earlier this year for the first time, I was struck by one characteristic that all Finns seem to share. The racing driver gene. Every person I was in the car with in Finland was aggressive on the throttle but were very quick and calculating in traffic. These people mean business. Not surprising then the drivers’ exam is a bit more stringent than what we are used to stateside. To get a drivers’ license in Finland, you must pass both a summer and winter driving test. This is a great idea which should be universal. Once licensed, what should the Finn who wants to drive fast in all conditions opt for? How about this rare red rocket? The Audi RS2 Avant. This RS2 Avant for sale in Helsinki is the perfect runabout for the speed freak who needs a bit of space for family or recreational activities.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi RS2 Avant on Classic Driver

1988 Audi 90 quattro

1988 Audi 90 quattro

Looking at the outrageous B5 and B6 S4s from yesterday is a stark reminder of how far the company has come from the rather humble roots of Audi’s small chassis. Sure, the B2 was the basis that launched the new direction for the company in the Quattro, but most B2 cars were modest, relatively underpowered near luxury cars. Park one next to a new A4 and you’ll be amazed at just how large they’ve become; from a 100 inch wheel base, 66 inch width and 176″ overall length, the B2 tipped the scales at a little under 2,400 lbs in 1980. The new A4s have a foot more in between the wheels (and the ends of the bumper, no surprise there), are half a foot wider and are half again as heavy at nearly 3,800 lbs for the sedan. Brakes are now the size wheels once were on even the standard A4s, and horsepower? Well, the lowly 2.0T carries more punch than the original Quattro did in all but 20 valve and Sport form, even in European trim. While cars have gotten better at being cars than they once were, they’ve also become smart phones, offices, relaxation oases and sports arenas. Cars start, drive, and park themselves, tell you how to get places and when you’ll get there, and even will tell Big Brother what you did wrong when you get into a accident. It’s somehow a loss of innocence which makes contemplation of simpler times so appealing, and looking at this 1988 Audi 90 quattro is just that. So let’s pop your copy of “Die Hard” in to your VCR, adjust the tracking and take a glimpse into Audi’s past:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 90 quattro on eBay

Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Every semester at the culmination of my teaching experience with the college students who have selected my course rather innocently, I let them in on my super-secret double agent identity as your author here. Having suffered through a few too many of my lectures already, most treat the news with about the same amount of enthusiasm and interest as they do when I tell them about the Sudanese Kush Pharaohs – which is to say, none (seriously, it’s a very interesting topic. Egypt basically denies they existed!). But occasionally I get a student who is much more interested in my double-life than in my lecture notes. One such student passed through was perhaps as unexpected to me as I was to him. He nonchalantly aced the class with seeming little difficulty, but upon seeing my announcement regarding German Cars For Sale Blog, he excitedly emailed me about his shared love of Audis. He revealed that he owned a ’97 Cabriolet, which proves two things: first, smart people buy Audis, and second, Audis turn up where you least expect them. And the Cabriolet might be the least expected Audi Audi made – coming from a manufacturer renowned for turbocharged inline-5, manual all-wheel drive coupes, sedans and wagons came a front-wheel drive, automatic only (in the U.S.) V6 2-door convertible. Expensive, a bit slow and soft compared to the competition, the Cabriolet sold slowly with only around 1,000 units moved per a year during its availability here with a total of 5,439 imported through 1998. I think a fair amount of fans view the B4 Cabriolet as the least interesting of the Audi lineup in the 1990s, but to me it’s always been a very pretty and underrated car. In particular, the rear 3/4 view is very attractive and the shape changed little with its progeny.…

Feature Listing: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro

Feature Listing: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro

Back in February I took a look at a very rare and somewhat obscure end to the B4 Audi lineup, the Sport 90 quattro. The A4 that replaced it would become wildly successful, but really it was the underpinnings of the updated 90 that carried the dynamics of the A4. With a stout V6 under the hood and old-school mechanical all-wheel drive, these well built 90s have remained very attractive alternatives in the marketplace. I originally took a look at this car back in February, but the owner contacted us to feature the car and I was more than happy to as I really have a soft spot for these 90s.

Due respect to the E30 ix crowd, if you were to consider the 325ixs that we’ve posted and not consider this 90 quattro, you’ve got a few screws loose. The 90 quattro was long derided as underpowered compared to the competition, but in ’93 that was at least partially rectified with the addition of the 2.8 V6 motor. Though the power output wasn’t outrageous at 172, it was a robust and torquey motor that was easier to run around town than the peaky 7A 20V. Change from the B3 to B4 chassis also included substantial revisions outside, giving the 90 a new lease on life. They were well built, well engineered cars and have stood the test of time very well. Unlike their E30 ix competition, the B4 quattros were manual only. On their way out (to be replaced by the mechanically similar A4), the 90 got a special package in the “Sport 90”. Renamed from the previous 90CS models, externally there was only a subtle change to body-color side molding on the Sport models. Available in either front drive or quattro configuration, the latter included Jacquard quattro-script cloth that helped to set it apart from the regular 90s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro on Los Angeles Craigslist

1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro

1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro

Due respect to the E30 ix crowd and our own author Nate, if you were to consider the 325ix that was just posted and not consider this 90 quattro, you’ve got a few screws loose. The 90 quattro was long derided as underpowered compared to the competition, but in ’93 that was at least partially rectified with the addition of the 2.8 V6 motor. Though the power output wasn’t outrageous at 172, it was a robust and torquey motor that was easier to run around town than the peaky 7A 20V. Change from the B3 to B4 chassis also included substantial revisions outside, giving the 90 a new lease on life. They were well built, well engineered cars and have stood the test of time very well. Unlike their E30 ix competition, the B4 quattros were manual only. On their way out (to be replaced by the mechanically similar A4), the 90 got a special package in the “Sport 90”. Renamed from the previous 90CS models, externally there was only a subtle change to body-color side molding on the Sport models. Available in either front drive or quattro configuration, the latter included Jacquard quattro-script cloth that helped to set it apart from the regular 90s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro on eBay

1985 Audi 90

1985 Audi 90

Familiar to U.S. fans as the Audi 4000, in the rest of the world Audi continued a naming tradition that dated back to the 1960s regarding engine output. Most of the models didn’t make it here, but prior to the 1980s there were Audi 50s, 60s, 80s and 100s. The original B1 80 was also called the Fox here, not to be confused with the later Volkswagen Fox model. When Audi switched to the B2 chassis, the U.S. nomenclature changed to the 4000 most remember. And there were several engine configurations available initially, including a diesel, turbo diesel, inline-4 and inline-5 motor in both 2 and 4 door configuration, along with the stablemate Coupe GT model though the designations no longer aligned with engine power. By the time Audi progressed to 1984 and the introduction of the 80/4000 quattro, though, engine choices dwindled. In the Coupe GT, you could only get the 5-cylinder motor – effectively the same motor that was available in the quattro but with a slightly different exhaust manifold that netted 5 more horsepower in the sedan. Otherwise, if you bought a 4000 front drive model, you got a 1.8 inline-4 that was shared with the Volkswagen model range. This continued with the refreshed models in 1985, with the only further engine change being the later 1987.5 Coupe GTs switching to the NG 2.3 130 horsepower motor.

However, in Europe there were still many configurations you could get the B2 in. There were two model levels; 80 and 90, with the later being the more upscale version with more powerful motors. This would be seen in the U.S. later with the B3 run, but in Europe there were pretty substantial differences visually and mechanically between the 80 and 90. The 90 was, for all intents and purposes, a Coupe GT under the skin.…

1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V

1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V

Sometimes, where a car is sold or turns up for sale is baffling to me. Sometime in 1991, a person walked into an Audi dealer in Florida. Now, considering that Audi only sold 12,283 cars in 1991 that in and of itself was something of a minor miracle. 1991 was the worst year in Audi’s sales history outside of 1970 when the brand was reintroduced. To put it in an even bigger prospective, Audi sold more 100 models in 1971 than it sold total cars in 1991 – by nearly 50%. So, this person had walked by the Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealers – in Florida, mind you – and popped into an Audi dealer. Then, they selected a 90 quattro 20V. Now, starting in 1990 Audi had upped the game with the 7A 20V motor in the 90 quattro, and in terms of horsepower it was at least on par with Mercedes-Benz and BMW. But it was heavy and slower than the competition thanks to the all-wheel drive quattro drivetrain, so these 90s – and the rest of the quattros sold – were mostly relegated to Northern and Mid-Western states. And the buyer paid a steep price in 1991; around $27,000 before options. What was even crazier was that they then opted for the sport package and heated sport seats, as well as Pearlescant White Metallic paint. In short, this was the absolute most expensive Audi 90 you could buy in 1991. Yet, here it is, with low miles and in essentially perfect condition thanks to being stuck in Florida its entire life:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V on Orlando Craigslist

1994 Audi 90CS quattro Sport

1994 Audi 90CS quattro Sport

If you were looking for a sporty small executive sedan in 1994 and opted to buy an Audi 90, something was amiss. You would have waded through the miring scandal of “Accelerategate” and the media implication that your Ingolstadt-born all-wheel drive wonder would suddenly attempt to go full throttle (preferably, when your husband was opening the garage door….). Okay, so you must have had some understanding of physics, logic, spacial awareness and could differentiate a square pedal from a rectangular pedal and your left from right. That, in and of itself, isn’t all that odd. But then you still bypassed the BMW dealer to look at the Audi; a move which probably surprised even them. After all, in 1994 the E36 chassis was still relatively fresh and won nearly every magazine competition it was entered into. In comparison, 1994 was the penultimate year for the B4 quattro as the new A4 was already on the horizon, and though it had received a refresh in 1992 the now B4 chassis didn’t really offer much new technology or refinement over the outgoing B3. It was dressed up with some newer clothes, wheels, and a slightly more powerful motor, but it was still numerically at a disadvantage to the BMW on several fronts. The V6 produced 172 horsepower – about 17 less than the inline-6 in the E36. That V6 also hauled around more weight than the BMW did, so the Audi was predictably slower in every measure, too. The weight and larger displacement meant it got worse gas mileage. And for the pleasure of this slower, thirstier, older chassis, you paid less, right? No – walk into your dealer and select the 1994 90CS quattro Sport as shown here, and you were going to pay over $35,000 – about $5,000 more than the base price on a 325i sedan.…

10K Friday: Gimmie Five – Audi 5-pot-off

10K Friday: Gimmie Five – Audi 5-pot-off

Today’s 10K Friday is something a bit unique; instead of a normal comparison between similarly valued cars, I’m going to chart the development of the venerable Audi inline-5. While, due to a dearth of examples, we won’t go back to the very early days of the I5 in the U.S., I’ve rounded up some of the more notable configurations that the engine appeared in the U.S.. Since, save some exceptions like the legendary Quattro and RS2, nearly every used Audi with this motor fits the under $10,000 limit (or comes close to it), that gives us the opportunity to see Audi’s continual technical changes to the inline-5. Though not as memorable as BMW’s inline-6 or Porsche’s flat-6, this motor was extremely important to the company nonetheless and was a character-defining attribute of Audis for nearly 20 years. So, let’s see how they kept it relevant from the 1970s into the 1990s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on Craigslist

Tuner Tuesday Ersatz S2: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro S2 Replica

Tuner Tuesday Ersatz S2: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro S2 Replica

For some time, if you wanted to go fast in a two-door Audi in the U.S., you had to make your own car from pieces of others. Even if you selected the much praised Quattro, you had a fairly heavy car to start with that was coupled to a rather measly 160 horsepower. Unless it’s snowing, a bone stock Ford Fiesta ST will pretty thoroughly stomp all over the legendary boxflared wonder in just about every situation. So people began modifying the turbocharged cars to produce more boost and bring them into line with their European counterparts. Of course, when it came to the replacement for the Quattro, those that waited longingly from 1985 until 1989 for the next turbocharged coupe were greatly disappointed. Sure, the new 90-based B3 Coupe Quattro had 20 valves under the hood – but no turbo came here. Europeans enjoyed several iterations of the turbocharged B3 and B4, including the Porsche tuned RS2, but in North America only the normally aspirated, slightly portly 2-door hatch came here. Again, it was no surprise that as soon as they were outside of warranty, people began to tinker; in this case, making their own S2s out of pieces from their bigger brother 200/S4s. Installing the 20V Turbo into the engine bay instantly transformed the Coupe Quattro from competent cruiser to sleeper assassin:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro on eBay