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1990 Audi V8 quattro

Weather. It’s today’s weather that makes me instantly think back to my V8 quattro. Here in New England this morning I emerged from my weather-proof cocoon hidden carefully under several layers of blankets to reveal the foot-plus of powdery snow, blowing fiercely with a sustained 35 mph wind, and a temperature hovering around 9. Maybe for you folks in Minnesota that’s a nice Spring day, but I think it’s just brutal. Yet when it occurs, I instantly think back to the car I had that made me relish those conditions. It was my ’93 V8 quattro, without hesitation.

When the mercury dipped below freezing and the roads were covered in snow, that car was simply a monster. Audis certainly have a reputation for being good in the snow, it’s true. But here’s a hint – I’ve owned a lot and driven even more, and they’re not all great in the white stuff (ducks). They’re also very tire-dependent, perhaps moreso than other cars. Because with all-seasons on an Audi, you’ll have no problem going fast in deep snow, but you’ll have quite a few problems turning and more problems stopping.

But I had snow tires on my V8. Tiny little A4 steel wheels overshadowed by the widened flares with tires that look fit for…well, an basic B5 A4 rather than a large executive. When that white stuff fell – look out. It was unstoppable, but not in the bad way I just mentioned. And unlike the terminal understeer some of my other Audis suffered from (I’m looking at you, 200!), all you had to do in the V8 if the nose wasn’t heading where you wanted to was to give it a boot-full of throttle. A tremendous roar would emerge as the 4-cam all-aluminum V8 sprung to life, the multi-plate center differential channeled power towards the back, and the Torsen rear diff limited the slip of the unladen tire. The result? Sideways. Totally awesome, controllable drifts at nearly any angle you wanted for as long as you wanted. I drove through a blizzard, seat heaters set at “just so”, automatic climate control dialed in to 70 with the exterior temp suggesting it was Saskatchewan I was in rather than Southern Massachusetts. The V8 ate the miles up leisurely. It was the most comfortable I’ve felt in a very bad driving environment, and I’ve driven through a few in some pretty good cars.

Then there’s the ‘whether’. It’s more than whether or not you live in a climate where my scenario will play out for you. It’s more than whether or not this car is worth purchasing. It’s whether or not you’ll be able to find parts. It’s whether or not all of the items work. Heck, with a V8 quattro, sometimes it’s whether or not it’ll feel like starting. And when it does, it’s whether or not it’ll feel like shifting, too.

Whether be damned, these cars still capture my imagination every single time I see one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

Year: 1990
Model: V8 quattro
Engine: 3.6 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 102,700 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

Here is a chance to win a Beautiful Classic Audi! The car has only has 102K miles!! It has been taken care of mechanically and cosmetically! It has an amazing high gloss pearl white finish! This vehicle was only used during the summer and warm spring or fall days, never in the snow/salt!. NO RUST!!!!!The paint and interior look excellent for its age! No exhaust leaks.The timing belt, water pump, and tensioners were all replaced! The oil was religiously changed at 2500-3000 miles! It also has 4 Brand new tires! This car was owned and maintained by a Audi enthusiast!! If you have any questions please let me know and ill get back to ASAP!

As ’90s go, this one is nice. The majority (about 75%!) of V8 quattros imported were first-year models like this one. A lot of those were Pearlescent. Like all Audis of the late ’80s and early ’90s, if you selected the expensive Pearlescent White Metallic paint upgrade, your wheels were automatically matched. This one also had the Connolly leather upgrade, standard on the later 4.2 model. Black seems to hold up the best out of the three standard colors, but Platinum is a close second with the steering wheel often showing the bulk of wear as it does here. It’s also no surprise to see some wear and tear, from minor rock chips around the headlight wipers and arches to delaminated wood on the center console. Still, condition here is far above average and the car appears completely stock outside of an out-of-place aftermarket CD changer affixed to the dash wood. Early cars retained the Delco head for the climate control and featured the less-powerful PT 3.6 liter V8 mated to the more failure-prone 4-speed automatic. Later cars received a transmission cooler and revised shift mapping that works better. But the good is that the expensive timing belt procedure has been done, a necessary item on these cars that would alone consume more than the current bid to undertake even with an independent mechanic. Yet value on these cars is still very low with even very clean examples rarely breaking $5,000 unless they’re a 5-speed manual. If this car could be snatched up for $2,500 – $3,000, it’d make a great winter warrior for those who don’t mind the struggle to keep them running.



  1. John
    John January 5, 2018

    These are getting so rare now in good condition that I get excited every time I see one.

  2. Carter
    Carter January 6, 2018

    Agreed. Just saw a teaser last night on Instagram that one of the Audi folks I follow on the West Coast just nabbed a barn-findish twin of this car, but a 5-speed. It’s got aero wheels so I’m wondering if it’s a mega-rare 1990 V8 5-speed originally. Most were ’91s.

  3. Brad
    Brad January 7, 2018

    This one is in very nice condition, considering the “pwners” (latter and, surprisingly, original) of these V8s were always crueler to this beautiful cars than others were to 1990 Corollas and Geos. V8s litter pick-n-pulls — so sad. The picture Carter selected showing the steering wheel from the outside: that gap in the gray just to the left of where the wood trim strip ends: I cannot describe how long I tried to get mine to sit properly, and how much I complained to the mechs at 2Bennett about it. It stumped even them that it was like that … by design. How utterly and Teutonically bizarre.

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