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

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Double Take: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro

For some time, the B3 Audi Coupe quattro enjoyed a coveted place in the lineup, and many enthusiasts still consider them the high point of Audi design. However, in the market place their star has fallen slightly as newer and faster cars have become more affordable. While for some time a solid example would have cost you well north of $6,000, these low production all-wheel drive hatchbacks seem to have fallen on harder times recently. They have a reputation for being slow compared to the competition – the result of being relatively heavy rather than lacking in the motor department. The 7A inline-5 20V motor is a true gem of a motor, and on the fly these Coupes are quite entertaining to drive. Of course, as with most of the Audi quattros, turbo conversions are popular and the possibilities are near limitless. The B3 chassis also upped the electronic quotient for the driver compared to the relatively simple B2s. Electronic fuel injection, electronically locking (and automatically disengaging) rear differential, a Torsen center differential, electric seats and automatic climate control moved the B3 upscale from the B2, along with added safety features. However, this past year the first of these Coupes turned 25 years old – an age that qualifies them as being antique in some states. Audi only sold a reported 1,730 of these Coupes between 1990 and 1991 model years, and the best (and probably optimistic) estimates put only about 75% of those still on the road today. So, today instead of looking at two modded examples, here are two clean drivers that could be an affordable and unique classic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe quattro on Washington D.C. Craigslist

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1995.5 Audi S6 Avant

Why does Audi no longer offer this package? They’ve got the technology, certainly, with a stellar inline-5 in the new 2.5 liter turbocharged unit featured in the RS3 (and previously in the TT RS). They even still offer a manual in the S4, and though the company refuses to bring it here in anything other than allroad form they still make an Avant version. So why not combine them? They’d make an instant fan favorite, as all of the S4 and S6 Avants have been highly sought both when new and as second or third hand used cars. In the likely absence of that ever occurring, today’s example is a great representation of what many consider to be the highlight of the both Audi’s engineering and the most desirable package outside of perhaps the original Quattro:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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C5 Avant-off: Allroad 2.7T 6-speed v. S6

We’ve recently had a good string of Audi Avants up here, including a rare converted 6-speed S6 Avant. Oddly, as several people noted we’ve seen a fair amount of these converted V8 cars come up for sale quickly after the conversion. Economically, that doesn’t make much sense; if selling was your goal, replacement with a used automatic would likely be a better route than going through the expensive swap. What’s even more perplexing is that the similar 01E-equipped allroad V6 2.7T (and its running mate B5 S4 Avant 6-speed) are highly sought and loved cars. So I brought two together today in rare color combinations; if you were going to pick a C5 Avant, which is the one you’d go for?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi Allroad quattro on Craigslist

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1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

In 1989, Audi was in a state of crisis in the U.S.. The 60 Minutes farce had caused them serious market share from the European import scene. Audi had always been a bit fringe with its expensive and seemingly underpowered turbocharged all-wheel drive executive sedans. Aside from that, the major competition had stepped up their game; BMW launched the quite attractive and popular E32 the year before, and upstarts Infinity from Nissan with their Q45 and Lexus from Toyota with what would become the standard – the LS400 – were entering the marketplace. While the BMW remained with its standard inline-6 rear-drive configuration in most E32s sold, the Japanese duo upped the game with powerful quad-cam aluminum V8s under the hood. In the case of the Lexus, Toyota steered towards refinement with adequate power – Nissan, on the other hand, pushed the performance level with a reported 280 horsepower cap on the 4.5 liter VH54DE engine which today many report as underrated by at least 30 horsepower. Audi had its work cutout to claw back market share against these new cars, and to answer it released an updated version of the venerable Type 44/C3 chassis. Now, truth told the Audi 100 (5000 U.S.) really was the basis for the design of most of the large executive sedans that followed – but five years after its introduction, being the first was no longer enough. Audi upped the game by introducing what effectively was two Volkswagen 16Vs mated to each other in the same way that the 944 engine was effectively half of a 928 V8. The new V8 was all-aluminum and featured double-overhead cams. It was small – twice the displacement of the Volkswagen 16V engine at the time at 3.6 liters, but produced about the same power as the 4.0 liter Lexus motor. New too was the transmission in the now named “V8 quattro”, with a 4-speed automatic gearbox coupled to all four wheels through a rear Torsen differential and a multi-plate clutch center differential. The automatic was necessary to compete with the crowd that was buying these large executive sedans, as was the upgraded interior with a new dashboard, more sound deadening and more electronics. Of course, if you still wanted to shift gears yourself, Audi offered what many consider to be one of the best on-the-fly all-wheel drive setups ever to make it to the road; the 5-speed V8 quattro featured a center and rear Torsen differential. Less than 100 made it to U.S. shores in 3.6 form only, making these complicated executive sedans sought out by Audi enthusiasts across the country:

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

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1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V

My first car was an Audi 4000CS quattro. It was a wonderful car; for the most part, outside some serious fanboys no one knew what it was. That was in part because in the early 1990s Audi nearly was removed from the U.S. market thanks to some bad P.R. that has been pretty well documented. However, that wasn’t all – if you looked at the 4000CS quattro or its successors on paper, they weren’t very appealing to sporting drivers or to luxury-oriented buyers. BMW and Mercedes-Benz ruled those small executive markets, and the robust but semi-anemic 2.2 inline-5 coupled with a relatively spartan interior had a hard time competing with the other German marques. On top of that, if you wanted a performance model from the Volkswagen Audi group, The Volkswagen Jetta GLi offered many of the same accoutrements as the 4000 quattro – plus more performance – for much less money, and looked pretty similar in many ways. You had to specifically want the all-wheel drive system to select the 4000 quattro, and that meant slow sales. In the 1980s, a loaded Audi 4000 would cost you nearly $21,000 – the equivalent of around $46,000 today. For reference, that amount very nearly gets you into a brand new S4 today – and I assure you, the S4 is in nearly every way a much more impressive car.

To solve this problem in the 90 range, Audi went even more upscale. Audi offered a more luxurious cabin, full of wood accents, power accessories and even more sound-deadening material. The 90 was more aerodynamic, meaning that the heavy wind noise associated with the brick-on-brick B2 design was lessened. The 90 also introduced innovative safety measures, such as the seatbelt pretension PROCON-10 system and anti-lock brakes which previously had been considered superfluous on all-wheel drive cars by Audi. The all-wheel drive system was changed, as well – now with a Torsen center differential and an electronic locking rear differential instead of the vacuum operated locks on the first generation quattro. But the main upgrades to the 90 came in 1990, when the quattro received its first real engine upgrade in the form of the 7A double overhead cam 20 valve motor. With 164 horsepower on tap and a 7,200 rpm redline, the Audi product finally matched the competition’s power on paper. Unfortunately, the weight of the luxury items meant it still wasn’t a particularly fast car off the line – but on the fly, the 20V was a quite capable car. But, as you’d expect, the price had gone up; walk into a dealership in 1990, and you’d have to fork over around $27,000 to get into one of these 90s. Add some options – such as power seats and Pearlesant White Metallic paint, and you were really breaking the bank. Very, very few of these sedans were sold originally; much less than even its rare Coupe brother – making them a rare sight. However, those that have owned and driven them always speak of what an impressive car Audi made – and this example is one of the most impressive available today:

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

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1991 Audi Coupe Quattro with 17,000 Miles

For me, it’s been a week of some unappreciated cars, and the Audi Coupe Quattro ranks up there as one of the most unappreciated Audis. But unlike the wild turbocharged wonders that were available in the rest of the world, the U.S. market received only the 7A inline-5 20 valve motor. Basically, it was a 16V Volkswagen motor with one more cylinder; with a 7,200 rpm redline, the sonorous 5-pot put out a respectable 164 horsepower. That wasn’t much less than the E30 M3 had and matched U.S. bound turbocharged Quattros – but the power delivery was such that the car didn’t feel fast off the line, and the weight didn’t help. The B3 was hefty, saddled with improved safety options like PROCON-10, anti-lock brakes and a stronger platform, it was also decidedly more luxury oriented with electric seats, sunroof, windows, air conditioning and even an electronic lock for the differential in the rear. It was the 1980s Audis all grown up, but the impression left in many enthusiast’s mouths was that it was a bit soft and a bit slow. Ironically, the 7A even gained a bad reputation amongst enthusiasts as an underpowered unit that lacked torque – but a look at the original power numbers prove it was the most powerful of the non-turbo, non-V8 cars Audi offered at the time. 1992 would see a switch to the B4 platform with the V6 power unit and the end of B3 production; slow sales and a high price meant the Coupe Quattro was removed from the U.S. bound lineup after only a reported 1,500 made it here. Despite their perceived lack of sport, the legendarily stout Coupe Quattros served many of their owners well and many are still kicking around. Only one, though, is in the condition of today’s example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi Coupe Quattro at Sutherland Auto Sales

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Hidden Pearls Double Take: 1991 Audi V8 3.6 quattro 5-speed and 1994 V8 4.2 quattro

Like the closest counterparts, the BMW M3/M5 and the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 16v/500E, the Audi V8 quattro has long enjoyed a cult following. Unlike those other cars, though, finding a decent V8 quattro these days is quite tough. First, not many were imported – a few thousand may sound like a lot, but it’s less than the total number of E30 M3s imported, for example, by a long shot. By the time they got to their last production year, only a few hundred of the super-sedans were imported. Second, because they’re complicated, older cars that lost a lot of their value in the 1990s, many fell into states of disrepair. Over its short life, the Audi V8 underwent numerous changes; from the introductory options of automatic or manual, the 3.6 liter quad-cam all-aluminum V8 pumped a respectable 240 horsepower but by the end of the run the automatic-only 4.2 liter displacement bump resulted in nearly 280 horsepower. Sure, that’s small potatoes today, but outside of the limited Sport Quattro, these were the most powerful production Audis made before 1995. Today we’ll take a look at two of the more desirable models for different reasons – a 3.6 5-speed and a late 4.2 model, both Pearlesant White with Grey Connolly leather

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 3.6 quattro 5-speed on Craigslist

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1991 Audi 200 20V Quattro

If you walked up to a stranger on the street and said “would you buy a 1991 Audi with 227,000 miles for $6,000”, I’d guess nearly every response would be a hearty laugh. But then, if you asked the same question but instead of the Audi and $6,000 it was a 1970s Porsche and a million dollars, you’d probably get the same laugh. Car valuations are so difficult, because within them lies desirability, condition, and sometimes childhood dreams. I still remember the James Bond movie where the baddie-turned-goodie-but-still-baddie was whisked away from the border guards tucked in the back of a 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro. I was, at the time, a teenager and didn’t really have much of an idea what the 200 was at that point. When I finally bought my Audi, I understood a bit more – it was a luxury sedan with the heart of a World Rally champion, a car whose dual nature few could manage at the time. High speed Autobahn cruiser? Check. Quiet, civilized luxury car? Yes, that too. Spirited on back roads? That could be said about the 200, but so could it about the BMW M5. What set the Audi apart at that time was the combination of the turbocharged engine with the quattro all-wheel drive system, allowing this performance to occur in just about any condition. That made the quattro a ski-trip vehicle as well. With handsome looks, the lightly flared 200 was also a racer, competing in the North American IMSA series as doing quite well for such a large, production based car. While not quite the jack of all trades, one can appreciate what a special package the Audi 200 20V was, and still is:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 20V Quattro on eBay

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1990 Audi V8 Quattro

Every time I think I’m out, another one pulls me back in. I’ve pretty well documented my love/hate/love relationship with the Audi V8 quattro, and today’s example has placed me firmly back into “Camp Love”. It’s funny, too, because I really don’t think the big-body Audis look particularly good in Tornado Red; I once joked upon seeing a red V8 Quattro “Here comes the Fire Chief!” But something about the condition of today’s example has me rethinking that stance; perhaps it’s the low miles; perhaps it’s the rare to see great and clean condition; but more likely than not, it’s just that it’s a non-Pearlesant White V8:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on craigslist.org

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