1985 Audi 5000S Avant

It’s hard to believe that only eleven years separate the genesis of the inline-5 Avant wagon design and its culmination with the 1995 Audi S6. Audi’s groundbreaking aerodynamic design for the C3/Type 44 looked from the start as if it were intended to be a wagon; a sleek, modern design with flush windows and a sweeping D-pillar. It would be two years until Audi’s quattro drivetrain would debut in the large package, which left you with the sole option of front-wheel drive for 1984 and 1985. Audi also opted to leave the KKK turbocharger out of the package until all four wheels could deal with it, as well – so basically this car was a luxurious 4-door Coupe GT for the first two model years. Thankfully, though you were only allowed about 110 horsepower, Audi allowed drivers to opt for a manual transmission even in front-wheel drive form:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 5000S Avant on eBay

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1990 Audi V8 quattro 4.2

Both the 525i and GTI I’ve written up this week have followed a common trend; take lower spec model and kick it up a notch with bigger brother power. Today is no different, as once again we look at a car featuring an upgraded power unit swap. However, this is certainly the most stealthy of the trio. The V8 quattro was an impressive car upon its launch in 1988; sure, it was an updated version of an already generation-old car on the verge of being replaced, but the massive amount of updates to the Type 44 meant than the V8 quattro got its own model designation – D11. Nearly everything in the V8 was touched, from the interior materials to the exterior styling, and of course with some celebration Audi launched both its all-aluminum 3.6 liter, 32V 4 cam eight cylinder simultaneously with its 4-speed automatic hooked up to quattro all-wheel drive. The result was a unique luxury car at the time; no one else offered this packaged, and with 240 horsepower on tap the D11 proved a great cruiser. But there were of course teething pains; Audi forecast the length of timing belt service too long on the PT-code engine, and many suffered failures. This was rectified with the larger displacement 4.2 motor in 1992; shorter intervals were met with nearly 40 horsepower more, making the later cars really the ones to grab. Of course, Audi sold many, many more 3.6s than it did later 4.2 models – to the tune of almost 7:1. Many of the early cars were discarded because of low residuals when expensive repairs popped up, but this Pearlescent White Metallic one was saved from that fate by a fortuitous heart transplant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro 4.2 on eBay

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“Gentleman’s Express” – 1993 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

Though we’ve had a nice string of older Audis, it’s been a while since we’ve looked at a V8 quattro – but today’s is pretty special. First off, it’s one of the later 4.2 models. These cars were upgraded with a transmission cooler to help solve the early model automatic transmission failures. That, of course, meant all U.S. bound 4.2s were automatics from the factory. While that may sound like a downer, the 4-speed auto wasn’t a bad transmission and linked to the 276 horsepower, all-aluminum 4 cam V8 in front, motivation was never really an issue. Dynamically, these V8 quattros were also much better on the fly than the nose-heavy inline-5s, too. Not only was the engine a bit farther back, but the Torsen differential in the rear helped to give these cars a better power distribution. Of course, the cream of the crop were the 3.6 5-speed manuals – the only Torsen center, Torsen rear differential car Audi ever produced. Mate one with a 4.2 in a perfect color combination, sprinkle in some sport seats, and you have one pretty desirable package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi V8 quattro on Boulder Craiglist

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1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant

Although the Type 44 chassis would live on in the D11 V8 quattro until 1994 (albeit heavily revised), for many the pinnacle of the chassis was the 1991 model year. It was then that finally the U.S. market received the power that Europeans had enjoyed in the chassis for so long. Audi used its Group B, Sport Quattro and IMSA experience to create a four valve head for their road cars. It was utilized in many chassis in slightly different configurations; the U.S. market 200 and early S models received the 3B, while the Quattro had a slightly upgraded RR motor. With mild revisions, this motor was again offered in AAN configuration for the 1992 model year, while Europeans had the ABY. The final development was the RS2’s ADU, but all of these motors shared the same inline-5, 20V turbo construction – and all are very highly sought. For U.S. customers, though, since the S2 and RS2 models were never offered along with the late 20V Quattros, it doesn’t get much better if you like the older cars than the 1991 200, and then again doesn’t get much better in 200s than a clean Avant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant on eBay

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1988 Audi 5000S Avant

Were you to buy this Audi 5000S Avant, exactly zero people would run up to you and give you a high five. But more likely than not, as you were at a gas station topping off the ginormous 21 gallon fuel tank, you’d have time to hear at least one snicker accompanied by a “hey, ain’t that the Audi that accelerates by itself?” 60 Minutes, the Donald Trump of high-brow journalism in the 1980s, so thoroughly managed to destroy the reputation of Audi that the brand was nearly extinguished from the U.S. market. Never mind that the owners had hit the wrong pedal because the automatics had a normal sized, normally placed pedal instead of the “EXTRA BIG-ASS” pedal ‘Merican cars gave you at the time. Never mind that 60 Minutes had to rig the on-air segment to demonstrate the Audi’s brakes failing. Never mind dealers would demonstrate – even in the turbo models – that if your foot was to the floor on the brakes, no amount of throttle could overcome them. You could stand there and argue yourself blue in the face, and still the person will walk away laughing about the Audi who acts like Stephen King’s Christine. It probably doesn’t help that it’s Tornado Red, though….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000S Avant on eBay

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1987 Audi 5000S quattro

The 1987 and 1988 Audi 5000S quattro was an interesting model. It took the drivetrain, the wheels and brakes shared with the turbocharged CS model (CD in Canada) but married them with the more modest NF 130 horsepower 2.3 liter normally aspirated inline-5. They ran the standard 5000S headlights as well, single bulb 9004s which had about .5 candle power each when new. Seriously, the Amish have more light at night. Inside was not as luxurious as the CS/CD models, either, with manual seats and velour where there would usually be leather. These omissions helped to keep the price in check a bit as the 5000 in CS quattro form had gotten pretty expensive with a sticker price of $34,000 – $35,500 if you wanted the Avant. The lack of turbo and leather dropped these S quattro models to a much more reasonable $27,000. However, the performance of the 5000S quattro was pretty poor, though fuel economy was the same as the turbo models they made a reasonable highway cruiser. Like most Type 44s, they’re infrequently seen these days:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000S quattro on eBay

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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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Motorsports Monday: 1988 Audi 200 quattro Trans Am

One of the things I love the most about Audi is that for some time they liked to do things differently. Now, if you’re Porsche and you’re able to build a reputation around that insistence to do things differently through racing, then you can be a successful company. As such, the closely linked cousin Audi was taken racing by some of the same team from Porsche. The first big attempt in the 1980s was the push to win the World Rally Championship with their new Quattro model. Highlighting turbocharged technology coupled with a semi-revolutionary all-wheel drive system, the Quattro was a positive sensation until the mid-1980s and the death of Group B. Audi then took on Group A with the non-turbo Coupe quattro briefly, and also enjoyed some unlikely success rallying with their 200 sedan. But even success in World Rally Championship events wasn’t enough of a reputation boost for what lay ahead of Audi next, as 60 Minutes highhandedly nearly took the company right out of the marketplace. In order to rebuild the reputation of the company in the U.S., Quattro guru Jo Hoppen convinced Audi to go racing in the SCCA Trans-Am series. Headlining that series were tube-frame V8 behemoths that outwardly laughed as a production based luxury sedan with a measly 2.1 turbocharged inline-5 hanging way out the front pulled up to grid. It turned out they didn’t laugh too long:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 200 quattro Trans Am at Auto Collections

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1988 Audi 5000CS quattro Avant

Recently, I saw a picture of the new Volvo V90. It’s a handsome and striking design, wide, low and some rakish angles – especially in the rear. Where Volvos have traditionally been pretty square, this one reminded me in many ways of another large wagon, but one from 30 years ago – the Audi Type 44 Avant. Pardon the pun, but it was pretty avant garde for the time; much more aerodynamic and futuristic looking than its contemporaries, arguably it still doesn’t look particularly old today. Okay, you can point out some of the 80s styling elements – large black rubber moldings surround the car, the wheels look tiny in comparison to the modern 19″ or 20″ wheels that seemingly everything wears, and there are no fancy LED strips and clear taillights. But this uncluttered design still looks great and stands apart from most other 1980s products. While the Type 44 range was topped by the 1991 200 20V model that most lust after, a clean earlier 5000 example like this is neat to see:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000CS quattro Avant on Providence Craigslist

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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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