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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1993 Audi V8 quattro

Much as the Quattro set the trend for performance turbocharged all-wheel drive coupes in the 1980s, Audi launched another trend-setter in 1988. The V8 quattro was not an all-new design; it borrowed heavily from the Type 44 200 chassis, but several revisions completely redefined the character of Audi’s flagship. First was the motor, an all-aluminum quad cam V8 coded PT displaced 3.6 liters initially. If you thought it was effectively two Volkswagen 16V motors sandwiched together, you thought correctly – Audi mimicked what Porsche had done with the 944/928 motor designs. With 240 horsepower, the new V8 offered about a 20% boost in power over the 10V turbo motors that were in the European 200s. But the real innovation wasn’t the motor – it was the automatic transmission. Combining a multi-plate clutch center differential and an all-new Torsen rear differential, the V8 quattro drove decidedly quite differently than the inline-5 variants. Weight, while not down thanks to a host of luxury items, was moved backwards and the V8 was more balanced and less prone to understeer than the turbos were. Additionally, the torque was near instant. But by 1991, the gap between the now 20V variant of the 200 and the V8 was so narrow that Audi upped the displacement. The new ABH V8 upped the power to 276 horsepower and 296 lb.ft of torque. Outside, subtle changes helped to distinguish the luxury variant after Audi’s brief foray into absolutely no badging from 1990-1991. Now with small “V8” monikers front and rear, along with a small “quattro” script, the performance was quite a bit improved over the earlier car. Additionally, there were small changes to the 4.2 model – such as some new colors, a transmission cooler and a mildly revised cockpit featuring the updated climate control. But outside remained effectively unchanged, as the 4.2 wore the same forged BBS RG wheels that the 1991 3.6 V8s had. What was always a bit special was the presentation of the V8 quattro – low, hunkered down and widened over the normal slab-sided 200, the headlights and hood treatment hinted at the revised Audi design language that would carry through to the mid-2000s. Plus, the V8 quattro sported some awesome flares to pull it all together. If you like cars such as the 500E and 540i, you can thank the V8 quattro for establishing the benchmark for them. Yet considered over-complicated and prone to mechanical failure, few of these pioneering luxury Autobahn cruisers survive in the U.S. today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi V8 quattro on New Hampshire 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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3 C3: Audi Type 44 Roundup

A sleek aerodynamic design, modern electronics, luxurious appointments, all-wheel drive and available small displacement turbocharged engine. This is the recipe that nearly every luxury automaker has taken on in the past few years, but in the 1980s there was only one available car in this configuration – the C3 Audi. Okay, it’s taken the best part of 30 years for that blueprint to be the go-to design, and the market has changed in many ways since then, both from a buyers prospective and from the regulations that govern cars. But to say that the Audi Type 44 was an advanced car in its day was no leap – it really was about as technically sophisticated as cars got in the mid 1980s. Under the aerodynamic and efficient body lay a rally-bred drivetrain which was robust enough to carry the torch after the Group B cars had extinguished. Indeed, it was the Audi 200 quattro (5000CS quattro in the U.S.) which went on in 1987 to win Audi’s next major rally – the Kenyan Safari Rally – where the luxury sedan went 1-2 with Hannu Mikkola and Walter Rohrl. Not satisfied, Audi then took the large sedan racing; first in 200 quattro form in the Trans-Am championship, then later in the modified D11 V8 quattro DTM car. It was an unconventional race car which was very successful – something Audi excelled at, historically. But nearly extinct are the road-worthy versions of the early 5000 quattro; the complicated pattern of electronics and hydraulics systems, originally its strength, being the downfall of many. Today I have the three rarely seen variants of the 5000 that were available in the mid 1980s; 5000CS quattro, 5000CS quattro Avant, and 5000S quattro. Which would you want to take home?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000CS quattro on eBay

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Audi’s Other Front Drivers: 1985 5000S Avant and 4000S

You’d be forgiven for thinking, based solely on my 1980s Audi coverage, that there was only one front drive model available during those times – the Coupe GT. True enough, the 2-door is my favorite of the front drive Audis from that time, but in fact Audi produced many two wheel drive cars right up to the 2000s. Few remember, for example, that there was a front drive A8 available briefly with a smaller 3.7 motor. A few generations earlier, though, and it was a different large Audi that was initially available in front drive only – the 5000, before it was a quattro, was powered only by the leading wheels. Indeed, even its famous appearance in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was, while a Turbo model, still front drive only. And while it’s been the quattro versions of both the Coupe and 4000 that were more popularly remembered, both the 5000S and 4000S enjoyed a popular base and were good cars in their own right. Today we have two of these forgotten and forlorn Audis to take a look at:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 5000S Avant on eBay

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10K Friday: Gimmie Five – Audi 5-pot-off

Today’s 10K Friday is something a bit unique; instead of a normal comparison between similarly valued cars, I’m going to chart the development of the venerable Audi inline-5. While, due to a dearth of examples, we won’t go back to the very early days of the I5 in the U.S., I’ve rounded up some of the more notable configurations that the engine appeared in the U.S.. Since, save some exceptions like the legendary Quattro and RS2, nearly every used Audi with this motor fits the under $10,000 limit (or comes close to it), that gives us the opportunity to see Audi’s continual technical changes to the inline-5. Though not as memorable as BMW’s inline-6 or Porsche’s flat-6, this motor was extremely important to the company nonetheless and was a character-defining attribute of Audis for nearly 20 years. So, let’s see how they kept it relevant from the 1970s into the 1990s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on Craigslist

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1986 Audi 5000CS Quattro

People who have owned Audis have stories about their Audis. Those that love them have stories about conquering snowbanks, hundreds of thousands of miles accrued, or the extreme value they provided in the used luxury market. Those that hate them recount the countless times they broke down, or the semi-ridiculous nature of those breakdowns; the steering rack fell off, all of the electrics died at once, or they rusted before they were even purchased new. In the world of used Audis, there just doesn’t seem to be any ambivalent middle ground; people love them, or hate them. While I fall into the hippie love-fest for most 1980s Audi products, I’ll admit that I have my fair share of horror stories that would probably scare off less devoted fans. I owned two big-body Audis; a 1989 200 quattro Avant, and a 1993 V8 quattro. In many ways, the 1989 was identical to this 1986 5000CS quattro underneath and outside, but the 200 had several updates to the interior. But the horror stories? Sure, there are plenty of those. There was the time on the Mass Pike outside Sturbridge – leaving a toll booth, the car was running great and I gave it the full boot out of the gate. Full out to redline, grab the next gear and right back on it – I must have been making an impression on the people as my land yacht wagon aimed its nose decidedly at the moon. When I looked in the mirror to see how impressed they were, I saw nothing – except white smoke. Lots and lots of white smoke. I pulled over to see that an oil feed line to the cooler had popped off and I had emptied the sump as quickly as the pump could pump at redline. Sweeeeeet. Then there was the time I looked at confused at the voltage gauge which read over 14 volts. Then it read 11. Then 14 again. Then over 14. I was over a hundred miles from home, and the subsequent drive home required me to steadfastly keep my eyes on the gauge and balance the electrical load by turning on and off all of the electrical items (which still worked) to keep the alternator from blowing up the battery. How about the time that the brakes stuck on; a common problem with collapsing brake lines that don’t allow the pressure to release. Driving down 95 in the low speed lane at 50 m.p.h., my wife turned to me and asked why I didn’t speed up a little bit. “I’M AT FULL THROTTLE”, I frustrating replied. Then there was the time on the way to a winter driving school that the car threw an alternator belt on 24 North and I had to drive back to a friends house at 4 in the morning with no lights. And that doesn’t even begin to recount my stories of the V8 quattro…these are the sort of stories that build character in enthusiasts or drive them away completely. And when you’re talking about the Type 44, most have been driven away; a complicated car which was hated so much thanks to bad press in the 1980s, Audi nearly withdrew from the U.S. marketplace. To say that finding a 5000CS quattro in the condition of this car today is rare is an understatement:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 5000CS quattro on Cars.com

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It’s Hip To Be Square: 1986 Audi Coupe GT and 1987 Audi 5000CS Quattro

There are probably a few out there reading this who will remember Huey Lewis and the News, or perhaps you’re a fan of Christian Bale and his performance in American Psycho which prominently featured a notoriously catchy song by the band, “It’s Hip to be Square”. While the song itself was a relative hit, for me it’s Bale’s character’s critique of the band that is particularly poignant when considering Audis from the 1980s:

“You like Huey Lewis and the News? Their early work was a little too new wave for my taste, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor. I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to Be Square,” a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself!”

Audi reinvented itself in the 1980s; with crisp, clean new designs that stood apart from their countrymen. They were boxy but aerodynamic, clean and economical – yet at the same time, they were really noticeable, looked expensive and have stood the test of time. Yet few people partook in these 1980s Audis compared to some more period marques. If Mercedes-Benz was the sign that you had made it to opulent wealth and still made good decisions, BMW was the sign that – well, you’d just made it to wealth. But Audis, though quite dear in price, were always a bit different; outsiders in their own land. Whilst everyone else took tried and true paths, Audi forged ahead through unusual means – small displacement, turbocharged motors feeding locking differentials and all-wheel drive, for example. Every model seemed to be a statement within itself that the company was different, and few embody that ethos quite as well as the 5000CS quattro and Coupe GT:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000CS Quattro on Craigslist

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10K Friday Pearls of Wisdom: Audi Pearlescent White Metallic-off

For the best part of two decades, Audi’s signature color was one of its most expensive options. On some models, in fact, Pearlescent White Metallic was the only optional extra you could select. From the original Quattro to the top tier S8, Audi bathed its most expensive models in the multi-stage dynamic paint color. As with most used older Audis, they’re all fairly affordable and offer – generally each in their own way – good value for the initial investment they represent. If you want to maximize the amount of German car you get for your money, look no further. Today I’ve arranged to look at a series of them, ranging from nearly the beginning to the end of the run. Which is your favorite and why?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 quattro on Craigslist

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1990 Audi V8 quattro

I have a fun ongoing exchange with our reader John; we send each other pretty much every V8 quattro that comes to the market in the U.S., usually accompanied by some brutally honest and laughable one-liner. Considering the number of V8 quattros imported – less than 4000 – and that they were both expensive and a DTM star, they would have been coveted like the rest of the Audi lineup. Yet, many have fallen into extreme disrepair or neglect, leaving precious few left running today and making good ones a rare find. For example, recently John sent me a pretty worn Pearlesant White ’93 model with the line: ” ‘cheap’ and haven’t seen it before, but that’s about it”. I responded that I’d done the “cheap” V8 route before, and that were I to do it again I would have been better off spending three times as much to get a maintained example. The V8 is truly a car that could bankrupt you trying to restore a poor one to original condition. However, if you find a reasonable example that’s well priced, is it a better proposition?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

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