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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1990 Audi Coupe Quattro

Last week I wrote up a clean Euro-modded 1991 Coupe Quattro, suggesting that one with a strong ownership history and the right mods was a good buy. Today, I’ve got an even stronger example and even though it doesn’t share the same desirable Euro goodies, it’s certainly the one I would choose of the two. There are several reasons for this, but first has to be the color – this car was special ordered in Glacier Blue with navy blue leather. While that may not be to everyone’s taste, I think this example is simply stunning. With a strong ownership and maintenance history, this car looks like one of the best examples we’ve seen lately:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro on Ebay

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1993 Audi V8 4.2 Quattro

Apparently destined to taunt me into the New Year, the string of Pearlesant White Audi V8 quattros that we’ve run now adds up to four. Unlike the last few 3.6 V8 quattros I’ve written up, today’s example is the later run 4.2 V8. In addition to a healthy bump in horsepower and torque, the 4.2 received a host of upgrades including a transmission cooler, the return of badges both front and rear, S4-spec Girling G60 twin-piston brakes, and those great BBS wheels that debuted on the 1991 models. There were other subtle changes, such as some reworking of the dashboard, the updated climate control system out of the C4 chassis and a revised exhaust. The package combined to make a stealthy all-weather luxury machine that very, very few people bought. Reportedly less than 200 of the 1993 model year were imported, and well short of a thousand of the 4.2s ever made it here at all over their brief three year run in the U.S. Like the early 3.6s they suffered serious depreciation and few survive in good condition today, but if you can look past some dirt there is a lower mile example in Minnesota awaiting it’s next owner:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi V8 Quattro on Craigslist Minneapolis

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V8 Week: 1990 Audi V8 Quattro

The Audi V8 quattro; where do I begin? Few cars that I’ve owned have cost me as much, caught fire, had the throttle stick open, had all of the window lower and sunroof open in a rain storm, were in the shop more for fixes, suffered brake failure, suffered power steering failure, and randomly filled with water. But, few cars that I’ve owned have generated as many smiles and kept me wanting more. Call it masochism if you’d like, but I really enjoyed my V8 quattro (especially in hindsight). This was the car that revolutionized the large executive sedan market and set the blueprint not only for most larger future Audis, but even those of its’ competitors. It was also (arguably, but in my mind) the best looking and last hurrah of the Type 44 platform. Headlights, hood, grill, bumpers, flares and lower sills left the V8 looking decidedly more aggressive than the 200 had been, but also more modern.

To match those looks, Audi built an all-aluminum 4-cam high revving V8, coupled to the company’s first automatic capable of working with the quattro drive train. Utilizing a multi-clutch center differential and a Torsen rear differential, the V8 was surprisingly less nose heavy than the 200 had been which resulted in out of the box better handling, especially at higher speeds. Audi was even able to utilize these cars in shockingly stock form (minus some trick cranks) to win the DTM Championship against the venerable M3s and 190E 16V Cosworths. The car underwent several changes in it’s short lifespan, gaining a manual option in the U.S. in 1991 only and new colors, climate control and greater displacement in 1992. It wasn’t enough to save the V8 from Audi’s woes in the U.S., though, and by 1994 less than 100 V8 quattros were imported, leaving it a rare site on the roads then and even more rare today. Today’s example is one of the first of the run imported, a 1990 in Audi’s ever-popular Pearlesant White:

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Year: 1990
Model: V8 quattro
Engine: 3.6 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 117,938 mi
Price: $8,000

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 Quattro at Park Chrysler Jeep

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You could look for one of these for months or even years, and then you find one at a Jeep dealership (really?). This car looks quite clean and well cared for both outside and inside, with the Connolly option leather comfort seats showing little wear and the Pearlesant paint appearing to be original and free of major defects. The BBS wheels are upgrades from the stock 15×7.5 “aero” wheels which, correctly, would have been body color Pearlesant. Look closely in the album, and there they are in the trunk with what look like snow tires. I ran snow tires on my V8 quattro, and it was simply amazing in snow, and at a few winter driving schools absolutely blew away all of the newer Audis, including S models. These cars are really amazing and carry their weight well.

Despite this, they’re also quite complicated cars that require a healthy dose of regular and expensive maintenance. Chief among this is the timing belt service which is very expensive and required; Audi replaced many of the early 3.6 engines after mis-labeling the timing belt service at too high miles. It is possible to swap in earlier transmissions from 200 quattros; though it’s pretty complicated to do so, it has been done. The 3.6 cars are notable for having transmission issues, something Audi fixed partially with a transmission cooler on the 4.2 cars. Even so these transmission issues usually only happen with higher miles, so if this was the car for you, you’d likely have some time before needing to address it. The 3.6s are also notable for having the “UFO” floating rotors; great at stopping the heavy car from high speeds; but prone to warping in heavy stop and go commuting. Fixes for this and other common problems on the V8 are well noted by the enthusiastic community that supports them. The asking price – $8,000 – is one of the higher ask prices on a 3.6 that I’ve seen that wasn’t a manual. Though the vehicle’s condition appears to be very good, I’d wager the top value for this car is $5,000 – $6,000, and even then I’d like to see some serious service records. Still, it’s hard to find a nice V8 quattro for sale anywhere in the U.S., so if you really want to have one, this is one of your few options.

-Carter