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.…