1988 Audi 5000CS quattro

One of the reasons it’s hard to get excited about the Type 43 Audi is just how far forward the bar was moved with the Type 44. Similar to the leap from the 6-series to the 8-series BMW, the Type 44 was a radical departure both in style, aerodynamics, and chassis dynamics. The basic Type 44 chassis would endure a remarkable run, too – from its basic layout in the Forschungsauto FV Auto 2000 from the 1981 Frankfurt Auto Show right through the derivative D11 V8 quattro through the 1994 model year. The C3 was revolutionary in its incorporation of modern aerodynamic devices, helping to drop drag coefficients to a then-excellent .30 cd. The Audi design prompted many copies, the most notable of which was the very popular Ford Taurus.

But the C3 was about more than just a slick body. Underneath it continued the C2’s turbocharging on top-tier models. With the addition of intercooling, power was up quite a bit from the prior model. Where the 1983 5000 Turbo generated 130 horsepower and 142 lb.ft of torque in U.S. trim, the C3’s MC1 brought 158 horsepower and 166 lb.ft of torque to the party. It was good enough to prompt notoriously BMW-friendly Car and Driver to name it to its ’10 Best’ list for the first time. In the later 200 20V, it also brought a tamed version of Audi’s Sport Quattro motor to market. The Ingolstadt company also pioneered full body galvanization, something that would become the norm for many newer cars moving forward. That body also grew, as Audi added its signature ‘Avant’ model to the lineup. But of course the big news was the 1986 addition of the word synonymous with Audi in the 1980s and ever since – quattro:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000CS quattro on St. Louis Craigslist


Year: 1988
Model: 5000CS quattro
VIN: WAUHE0443JN010640
Engine: 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 131,000 mi
Price: $2,900

My loss, your gain. Runs great. AWD. Pretty nice condition. Just had new carpet/headliner installed. New stereo. Original owner was Service Manager at Parktown Audi in Kirkwood Mo. Mileage 131K. No accidents.

There’s really a lot to like with this example. It looks quite original outside of the later V8 quattro taillights. It may have originally be optioned with the Fuchs 15″ x 7″ wheels – they were a factory upgrade – or they may have been added later, but regardless they’re here and that’s what’s important. The Tornado Red body looks to be in great shape and the Kodiak leather inside looks to be all there though not much detail is shown. One of the downfalls of this model is the headliner which fails, so having it replaced here is a major bonus. The big unknowns are the health of the notoriously complicated hydraulic system and the motor, though if it were owned by a service manager hopefully it’s relatively healthy still. 1988 was the last year of the ‘5000’ moniker, and the old-style dashboard and manual lockers, as these cars were upgraded for the 1989 model year to the ‘200’ with revised dash and electronically locking differential. The only real difference between the ’87 and ’88 models was a change in badge style to the smaller, all chrome font unique to the ’88 model. ’88s are also the most rare of the 5000 quattro model years with 2,398 sold, but at this point any in this condition are a great find.

The $2,900 asking price is an absolute steal today. The wheels alone are worth the best part of $1,000 to the right party, and the taillights are worth another $500 by themselves. Presuming this car has a relatively clean bill of health, it looks like a solid deal on a classic quattro of which very few remain.

Thanks to our reader John for the spot!

-Carter

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4 Comments

  1. Another great memory jog! I had one, and it was a great car, not as good as the 4000CSQ I had before it, but still a fond memory. I put quite few miles on two of the 87 model year as well. Although they were essentially the same car, they each had their own subtle differneces in handling for sure, and the 88 was the best in my experience. The 88 seemed noticeably more composed. I always wanted those forged Fuchs wheels….

  2. Very glad it is 1,500 miles away or I would be knocking on their door to check it out.

  3. The headlights on this 5000CS Quattro are the original correct lights. I had one of these new. It was so much ahead of its time with respect to performance, the AWD, quality of interior materials, and equipment. Much better and unique compared to US-available BMWs and Mercedes – light years ahead of anything made in the US. The bad news was electrical glitches that eventually forced selling it at about four years old. The optional and rare wheels are a giant plus.

  4. The only bad thing I can come up with these cars other than being complicate and German (like all it’s contemporaries), is that Audi made the strange decision to add a GM auto climate unit to the car to appease the American luxury market. It helped sell cars, but it looked out of place in an otherwise well executed interior.

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