Winter Warrior – 1994 Audi 90CS quattro

Audi’s nomenclature took an interesting turn once again in the early 1990s. From the B2’s “4000CS quattro” – the only way the car was available at the end of the run, Audi had introduced the tiered 80/90 quattro for the B2 model range. That culminated in the 90 quattro 20V, but even though the run of the B3 was short in the U.S., by 1991 the model was already 6 years old for the European market. Audi then skipped the 1992 model year for the 90, offering only the holdover 80/80 quattro while it readied the 90’s replacement. That replacement was…the 90. But strangely back again was the S/CS model designation in this “new” chassis, the B4, which was a heavily revised B3 chassis with some new sheetmetal and trim. But the big news was new engines; gone was the NG and 7A, last of a long line of inline-5s that had populated the noses of small Audis since the late 1970s. In its place was the AAH 2.8 liter 12 valve V6. Rated at 172 horsepower and 184 lb.ft of torque, on paper it was the superior motor to the double-overhead cam inline-5 it theoretically replaced. But the power delivery and experience were entirely different. While the peaky 7A encouraged you to explore the upper realm of the rev counter, the AAH wasn’t particularly rewarding at the redline. Where it was superior was in low-end torque and it’s smooth power delivery, and though the cast-iron V6 was no lighter than the inline-5, it’s shorter overall length meant that some (okay, only a bit) of the nose-heaviness that had plagued the B2 and B3 series was forgotten.

But the ‘CS’ quattro moniker only lived a short two years in the U.S. before it, too, was replaced by the last-year oddly-named Audi Sport 90 quattro. These were also some of the slowest-selling Audis in a history of not particularly prolific sales; Audi shifted only 718 1993 models and barely more in 1994 at 773. You’re much more likely to find a last-year model, as the Sport 90 quattro and the slightly lower-spec 90 quattro accounted for nearly as many sales as the ’93 and ’94 years combined. As with the prior B3 90 quattro, the Achilles heel of the B4 was the price. The base price for the 90CS quattro in 1993 was nearly $33,000, and add your taxes and a few options – like this example’s leather and very expensive Pearlescent White Metallic paint option – and you had a budget-breaking small executive sedan:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Audi 90CS quattro on Portland Craigslist


Year: 1994
Model: 90CS quattro
Engine: 2.8 liter V6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 155,000 mi
Price: $1,600

Up for sale is my 1994 Audi 90 Quattro with 155k miles. I’ve owned this car for over a decade and it’s been very reliable the entire time. Lots of parts have been replaced along the way and it’s still in great condition. It has a beautiful black leather interior with heated seats. The paint does show some oxidation but still looks okay and the body is very straight. This thing is a blast in the snow and deserves to be driven. Make this your new winter mobile! Asking 1900obo

Will consider trades for manual transmission E36 or 240sx.

The ~$35,000 figure doesn’t sound all that outstanding until you remember that in 1995 you could get a base M3 for about $2,000 more. But though they were expensive originally, as with the prior B2 and B3 generations the B4 has proven to be a worthy car in the halls of Ingolstadt. Like the B2 and B3, it wasn’t faster than the competition – but it was incredibly well-built overall with high-quality materials, rustproofing and an understressed motor and drivetrain. They combination of these factors mean that often, even though they haven’t lived the most pampered life, they still appear to be in very good condition. Compare this ’94 with 155,000 miles to how most ’94 325is come to market, for example, and you’ll start to appreciate the difference. The later 90 quattro lost some of the ‘sport’ of the ’93/’94 model, which look a bit better in my eyes with the raised body-color spoiler and 15″ Votex/Ronal wheels. It’s a great look that lost its potency without the spoiler and with the later 15″ Speedline multi-spoke wheels for base ’95. Condition appears to be good overall considering the mileage, but the real draw here is the price. At $1,600, I’ve seen parts cars trade for close to the same figure. If you’re local and a fan of the 90, you’d be silly to pass this one up.

-Carter

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2 Comments

  1. Owned one of these and 200 20vt sedan at the same time. The small chassis sedan was far less cumbersome around town, and had a remarkably solid feel for a small car. Unfortunately the 12v V6 was a do, the 200 would leave it in the dust everywhere, and had better low end torque off idle. A clean one of these would be perfect candidate for an AAN swap.

  2. Ad deleted already. I wouldn’t mind finding a decent 90 Sport Q as my next airport car.

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