1990 Audi 200 quattro Avant

Although the C3 Audi chassis enjoyed a reasonably long production run of 1984-1991, each year introduced changes that, while evolutionary, were notable and make each specific model year feel a little bit bespoke. The biggest change was the 1986 introduction of Audi’s all-wheel drive system of quattro to the large model range, making three distinct packages you could get the unique drivetrain in the luxury market. In the U.S. market, 1986 5000 quattros came only in “CS” spec and sedan – basically, fully loaded with only heated seats, Fuchs forged wheels and Pearlescent White Metallic paint as options. 1987 opened the options, but not with more gadgetry – the Avant, previously only available in front drive normally aspirated “S” form, joined the quattro lineup full time after being introduced about halfway through the 1986 model run. Alcantara also became a seldom-selected option. 1988 saw a very minor revision to the turbocharged “CS” models with new script badges in the rear and a few more options including heating for the rear seats and Velour interior options, but the big news was a new “5000S quattro” model, which came sans turbo and without the twin-bulb headlights, but shared the big brother turbo brakes and wheels. It was a smart move to drop the price on the quattro models, as the normal run 5000 reported outsold the 5000CS quattro by a measure of 4:1! 1989 was highlighted by a complete model refresh, moving to the European “100/200″ model designations. Accompanying the change were some new colors and minor alterations, such as more upscale-looking 15″x6” BBS wheels (color matched on Pearlescent White Metallic examples, just as the aero and Fuchs wheels had been). But inside an entirely new sweeping dashboard setup would be the standard on big Audis for the next 7 years. Instead of the previously confusing “S/CS” monikers, turbocharged models now wore the 200 badge, while normally aspirated models were 100s. The Alcantara and Velour options disappeared on the 200 models, which came only fully-loaded, and Fuchs were no longer an option. The 100 quattro shared many components with the 80/90 quattros from the same time, including the NG normally aspirated motor instead of the turbocharged MC1. 100s also ran the familiar small-chassis 4×108 bolt pattern with accompanying smaller brakes, but oldly Audi commissioned BBS to make a run of 15″x6″ wheels that matched the look of the 200’s wheels outwardly. Mechanically, otherwise there were few changes to either model, though as with the 80/90 quattros, the option to lock your own differential was now limited to the rear, and then speed limited to 15 m.p.h.. While 1990 saw few changes to the run overall, there was a change in motor in the 200. A rolling change saw the revised (and very short lived) MC2 replace the MC1. Twin knock sensors allowed engineers to run higher compression; coupled with a reground camshaft, lighter mass flywheel and smaller K24 turbo meant that the MC2 could run less boost and spool more quickly for a better driving experience, but ultimately the facts and figures say the power was unchanged. As always, top of the heap was the 200 quattro Avant, and they didn’t get any more expensive than when optioned with the Pearlescent White Metallic paint:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 200 quattro Avant on eBay

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1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

I’ve had the good fortune to own some pretty interesting cars in my lifetime, but one of the most complex automotive relationships I had was with my late 1993 V8 quattro. It was a car that I had lusted after since they were effectively new. There was just something about the shape, the way it sat and the mystique. Coming from a 4000 quattro, in many ways the step up to a V8 was the ultimate out of the box Audi in the early 1990s. It drove like the 4000 in the tight bits, but was so much better on the highway. Plus, it had what the 4000 lacked – power, thanks to the 4 cam all-aluminum V8. Even the automatic didn’t bother me all that much overall. But, at the same time as I enjoyed automotive bliss in the theoretical ownership of this V8 quattro, the reality of day-to-day ownership was quite different. If Alfa Romeo built a German car, it would be the V8 quattro. First, it was hugely complicated. There were computers controlling everything, and in the great manner in which Audi and Volkswagen developed their late 1980s computer technology, it worked great until it didn’t, at which point the car would be thoroughly incapacitated. One day, during a rain storm, the “convenience controller” failed, opening all of the windows AND the sunroof and not allowing me to close them. Needless to say, it was less than convenient. Second, it hemorrhaged fluids. We’re not talking a little bit, either – full on “Oh, I’m sorry, did you want me to keep that $20 a liter worth of hydraulic fluid IN me?” hemorrhaging. Oil, coolant, transmission fluid…you name it, if you could put it in, it would instantly come out. It tried to kill me, too. Not just once, either. See, that fluid loss resulted in a buildup of oil gunk. Where does the oil gunk build up, you ask? On the throttle. This normally isn’t a problem, unless once in a while you opened the throttle. Then, it became a problem, as the throttle wouldn’t close. Again, not a problem so much on a 4000 quattro with all 115 stampeding horses, but in the ’93 V8 quattro, there were 2.5 times that amount – 276 horsepower with even more torque launching my 3,900 pound missile down route 195. Leaks presented themselves in other odd ways, too – like, for example, when I got a self-imposed flat tire at a winter driving school. Out came the tools to jack the car up, no problem. However, when I went to retrieve the spare, a sad sight awaited me – the trunk had leaked into the spare tire well apparently, resulting in the space saver spare being thoroughly embedded in 10 inches of tire well shaped ice cube. In story generation alone, the V8 quattro was by far the Professor Emeritus of my car history. Thirdly, no one knew what it was when you went to get a part. Allow me to present a theoretical trip to the parts counter – even at an Audi dealer…

Parts Guy: Hi, what kind of car?
Me: Audi
PG: What model?
Me: V8
PG: No, not what engine, what model.
Me: V8
PG: They made a model named V8?
Me: Yes
PG: (turns to other Parts Guy) You ever hear of an Audi V8?
OPG: He probably means A8.
Me: No, the A8 is the model that replaced the V8.
(both look confused)
PG: Okay, what year?
Me: 1993
PG: Audi made cars in 1993?
Me: Yes. Not many.
PG: Okay, the computer tells me that your car doesn’t exist.
Me: It’s outside. Would you like to see it?
PG: No, maybe I can cross reference the part. What do you need?
Me: The transmission control unit.
PG: ………………
PG: ……….. (turns to other PG and looks confused)
Other PG: Ah, you should probably just go to the dealer.

Fourth, when eventually you convinced someone who supplied parts for your non-existent car that it really was real, inevitably the part would be expensive. Really, really expensive. And, on backorder, or no longer available. It made repairs length and always have at least one comma in the price estimate. That estimate was almost always below what it actually cost to get it running again, and when it did run again, inevitably there would be something still wrong that would need to be fixed on the next trip to the mechanic.

Yet, more than any car I’ve previously owned, it’s the one I’d want back.

It was that good. So when one of the 72 5-speed cars pops up for sale, it’s always time to take notice. The officially imported 5-speed cars were all 3.6 PT engine cars, meaning a bit less motivation than the later 4.2 motor. However, they’re lighter and they’re the only Torsen center/Torsen rear differential car Audi brought to the U.S.. This is a rare opportunity to own one of the few remaining:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed on Burlington Craigslist

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1991 Audi 200 quattro

Seeing a clean C3 or D11 Audi these days is always cause for celebration, and draws and interesting comparison to the contemporary M5 I featured yesterday. While if you want to get into one of the BMWs you need to look at a lesser example or one with quite high miles (and the potential for accompanying big-ticket repairs) to get it affordable, when it comes to the Audis the same budget buys you one of the best examples on the market. The early 1990s was, for many, the height of Audi’s build quality and design language, though admittedly part of that mystique is surrounded by their near disappearance from the market. Those that were sold are notoriously long lived, and while 250,000 miles on a S38 is enough to make any wallet shudder at the thought of future repair bills, for the 3B and later AAN motor – indeed, for any of Audi’s offbeat inline-5s – that amount of mileage is almost expected. The result, when you look at a nicely preserved example like today’s 1991 200, is almost to feel like the 162,000 miles covered are low. With some tasteful upgrades and in far above average condition, this 200 – one of only around 1,000 sold here – is a great reminder of why these older Audis have gained such a cult following:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 quattro on eBay

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1993 Audi S2

One of the most popular tuning swaps in the Audi world until quite recently was to slot a 3B/AAN turbocharged 20V motor into a B3 coupe. The “Ersatz” (replacement) S2 required a fair amount of custom engineering, but you got a sleeper package that was capable of some serious performance that the U.S. bound Coupe quattro with its normally aspirated 7A 20V inline-5 lacked. For an effectively an entire generation these custom turbocharged examples have held a special place in the market, worth more than generally every other Audi from the period, but that’s changing. Now it’s 2016 and the market has awoken to the original Quattro; really pristine examples have shot through the roof in terms of pricing. But the bigger thorn in the side for custom-made S2s is that the real factory built S2s are now importable to the U.S.. While that’s not the easiest road to travel, if you search around you can find some real budget examples of the real-deal original S2 for much less than the asking price of U.S. bound replica cars. While this 1993 is still a few years from legal importation, it certainly gets me thinking about what could be:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S2 on Classic Driver

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Honorable Mention Roundup

Time for another Honorable Mention Roundup of the cars we just didn’t have a chance to get to this week. In addition to a few reader submissions in this edition, I found a few affordable performance options that caught my eye. Which is the one we should have spent more time on?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi TT 3.2 quattro at Coventry Motorcar

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1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed – REVISIT

If last week’s ’93 V8 quattro wasn’t rare enough for you, I’m kicking it up a notch today. Back in March, a rare bird in the German car world popped up – one of the original 5-speed V8 quattros came up for sale, and unlike most it was in excellent condition. However, with 181,000 miles on the clock and an asking price which was semi-astounding at $17,500, it was no real surprise that it didn’t sell. Fast forward to today, and that lovely example is back up on the block with a massively cut asking price to $10,499. That’s still very strong money for a D11, but all things considered if you want an original 5-speed V8 quattro in good condition, there just aren’t many options for you. I think it’s still unlikely to find a buyer this round, but my guess is it’s getting close and there are a bunch of V8 quattro fans biting their lips right now…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site March 27, 2015:

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Tuner Tuesday: 1993 Audi S4 Widebody

Virtually every week we feature some of the best and most memorable tuner cars in the German sphere in this time slot. Yet, while it’s rare to see the exact same configuration, it’s fairly predictable what will appear – AMG, Alpina, Hartge and Ruf. Sure, occasionally we’ll get a neat Brabus or something else rare, but infrequently do we get to take an in-depth look at an Audi. There are some notable tuners for the off beat brand, especially as its popularity has blossomed over the past decade. But older cars? Well, not only are they hard to find, but clean modded examples are moreso. It is interesting given that the C4 was such a popular and strong platform, but what was built around it was not a single tuning firm but rather a community of unique one-offs, now avidly supported by the internet fora and the next generation of electronic fuel injection modifications. They’ve managed to take the original S cars to the next level. Recently, it was an original S4 that set the world speed record for a sedan, besting 242 m.p.h. from a custom build. Others have developed monster power levels of their own, such as this impressive example that is claimed to churn out 500 wheel horse power:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S4 Widebody on quattroworld.com

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Honorable Mention Roundup

Time for another Honorable Mention Roundup of the cars we just didn’t have a chance to get to this week. We’ve got quite a few reader submissions in this edition, and by chance it ends up focusing on some super sedans which are all quite affordable in their own ways. Which is the one we should have spent more time on?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S4 on Denver Craigslist

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1989 Audi 200 Turbo

So synonymous with the Audi brand is the all-wheel drive moniker “quattro” that you’d be forgiven for assuming that the brand didn’t offer two-wheel drive vehicles in the same vein as Subaru. But before quattro fully gained traction, Audi’s bread and butter was the front-wheel drive market and they produced some great examples. In part, that was because unlike most other modern platforms that copied the Mini’s transverse engine configuration, in the 1980s and forward to the Golf-based Audi built their platforms to accept the rearward heading drive shaft which necessitated a longitudinal engine configuration. While this pushed the engine weight farther forward than most other front-wheel drive packages, it also balanced power delivery and the driving experience in all of the non-quattro Audis in the 80s was remarkably sprite. Models like my favorite Coupe GT have gained a popular following as great drivers, but the large sedans – especially in turbo configuration – are less frequently seen:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Audi 200 Turbo on eBay

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1997 Audi Cabriolet

The Audi Cabriolet might be the least popular modern Audi made in the used market. Considering the number of unpopular, or at least notoriously unreliable (correctly or incorrectly) Audis out there, that’s saying something. For one, I think it’s unjust, but I think it’s understandable. First off, the B4 Cabriolet only came to the U.S. with one engine configuration; the venerable 2.8 V6. That’s not much of a surprise, though, since nearly every Audi sold between 1993 and 1997 had that motor. But there was no all-wheel drive option, unlike the two models that replaced it (The B6 cabriolet and the TT cabriolet) – nor was there a manual option, which at very least was available in the sportier TT. On top of that, the B4 chassis was quite old by 1995, and Audi decided to retire it. Though refreshed in 1992, it was ostensibly the same chassis that had been introduced in late 1986 in Europe with the B3. Despite that, and the introduction of the new B5 A4 model in 1996, Audi had the B4 Cabriolet soldier on until 1998 in the U.S. market. As such, it’s often discounted as a soft, unreliable and old package when there were newer, flashier – and importantly for some, faster options such as the BMW M3 convertible. Yet, every time I see an Audi Cabriolet, I can’t help but stare a bit. Just like the Audi 90CS quattro Sport I wrote up a few weeks ago, it’s a lovely design; handsome and striking, yet understated and special looking. That was especially true of the late run Cabriolets with the optional 16″ Speedline-made “Competition” wheels. Add the optional and additional cost Pearlescent White Metallic and select the Wine Red interior, and this is a rare – and classy – package on a budget:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi Cabriolet on eBay

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