The Audi 4000 quattro was like a Sherpa to thousands of European car enthusiasts; a steadfast winter standby with slick styling and Rally-bred sure-footedness. On paper, looking back today the 4000 was probably a bit dull; nearly 2,900 lbs of brick-on-brick design with a measly 115 horsepower motivation from the slow-revving oddball inline-5 hanging entirely in front of the forward axleline. But numbers don’t tell the whole story of the B2 Audi, because in any configuration it’s a great handling car. The quattro, however, had some special features that would have been headline items for any sports sedan until very recently; four wheel independent suspension with a large front sway bar and four wheel disc brakes. Couple that with the first all-wheel drive system fitted to a small car, sprinkle some luxury items in and cut the price of the exotic Quattro in half, and it didn’t matter that it wasn’t particularly fast.
What the 4000 quattro was, though, was one solid all-around performer. The subtle changes from the front-drive sedan resulted in a car that felt more grown-up and refined, yet still pushed you to do silly Hoonigan things. 4000 quattro owners that I’ve talked to almost always have the same proud story; the time that they managed to get their 4000 quattro stuck. Normally, that would be a cause for embarrassment, but such was the grip of the plow-through-anything small sedan that it became a badge of honor when you outdid the car’s twin-locking differentials. The secret, of course, was just to make sure all four wheels were in the air! But because of this type of silliness-inducing competence coupled with dropping residual value and a second or third tier of ownership that didn’t always repair or maintain the cars, few are left in good condition. But once in a while one pops up that has you seeing red…LY3D Tornado Red, in this case:
Update 1/2/19: Relisted on Craigslist at $7,800.
Okay, I did my due diligence and covered a BMW 325ix. But as I said, I can’t help but love my first car, the Audi 4000CS quattro, even if the BMW soundly out-performed it in most measures. While performance typically comes to mind, the 325ix also outpaces the quattro in pricing in the used car market.
For quite some time, the 4000CS quattro was a $2,500 car in good shape. I paid exactly that amount in 1995 when I bought mine. When I sold in 2003, it moved along for $2,500. And a further eight years after that, barring that it wasn’t destroyed, I’d have estimated its value at $2,500.
But with Coupe GTs and especially the Quattro heading into collector territory, it certainly follows that the 4000S/CS quattro will be there soon too. So how does that affect this one?
Do you know how many times I’ve heard “It was just too nice to part out” when referring to an older Audi? Heck, I’ve personally had three that I’ve said that very sentence for, and at least one more I should have said that about. One time I bought a 4000S front wheel drive 5-speed simply because I wanted a door. No, I’m not joking. The entire car was in mint shape – Sapphire with Marine Blue velour, and because I was 18 and had fully subscribed to the idea that the only good Audis were all-wheel drive Audis, I paid $300 to rip what was otherwise one of the nicest 4000S models I had seen to that point in my life apart. Most of it went to the junkyard, in fact. It’s something that near 40 year old me is mad at 18 year old me about, still.
Fast forward 22 years into the future, and since then I keep hearing the phrase in relation to all sorts of obscure, slightly crusty and forgotten examples of the brand. So when this 4000S 4E 2-door popped up for sale with just that thought in the seller’s advertisement, it was worth a look.
No, it’s not a misprint. Though you may not have been able to buy an Audi 90 in the United States until the B3 in 1988, in the rest of the world the same model you could buy here as the B2 4000S/CS quattro was marketed as two different models – the basic 80 quattro, and the more upscale 90 quattro. Differences between the two were bumpers, lights, wheels, and interior options as well as different power plants. The 90 was closest to the more “loaded” U.S. spec 4000S/CS quattro, and in fact looking through this model you’d be hard pressed to see many differences – consequently, few even ponder importation of a European model. However, differences are there – so let’s go through them and see if this B2 is worth the steep asking price:
The shining Tornado Red 1987 4000CS quattro I took a look at back in early February has appeared on eBay this week. The seller has not changed the price – $4,750 – from the earlier advertisement, but has added some more information including maintenance and modifications. Unfortunately, those disclosures also include that the car was totaled at one point. Previously the owner had stated it was simply repainted – not unusual for the single-stage red from Volkswagen/Audi if it was not maintained. While this car looks pretty nice, do you think the branded title hurts the value or does it simply not matter on this old warhorse?
The below post originally appeared on our site February 11, 2016:
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:
Do you think you know Audi and Volkswagen products from the 1980s well? There are a lot of people who claim to, but it seems that at times even VAG didn’t know what it was producing. Take, for example, this 1986 Audi Coupe GT. Now, according to most sources for a long time, if you wanted to get the digital dashboard in a 1986 Audi Coupe GT, you had to get the “Commemorative Edition” GT which came only in white or graphite. Yet as the owner of what was originally a Oceanic Blue non-CE Audi GT with an original digital dashboard, I can attest that in fact cars outside of the normal production run were fitted with the somewhat quirky bit of 1980s fad technology. If you talk to most Audi folks, they stand firmly in two camps. The small camp says that the digital dash is really, really cool; the far larger camp sees it as a glitchy gimmick that seldom works properly and is hard to service. But having owned one for the best part of two decades now, I can say mine has never experienced much of an issue. It had neat features, such as the “shut off the entire dash” feature which left you only with a speed reading. I think I used it once, only to show someone that it existed. At startup, you could tell your friends that you had programmed the cover art to Ghost in the Machine by The Police into your dash. Much more fun, though, was the ability on the fly to switch the dash from English to Metric units; if you were alone on the highway with an unsuspecting passenger, you could flip the dash into metric and then brag about how you were going “150” with ease. Okay, maybe I was the only one who thought it was funny, but there really weren’t many advantages to the digital dash otherwise. Despite that a smattering of 1986 and 1987 (non-“Special Build”) cars, seemingly with no particular order or logic, were fitted with the Atari-esque bit of technology:
The Audi 4000 Quattro has been on a fairly meteoric rise in value over the past few years, shadowing its original market competition E30 BMW. Granted, much as when new the Type 85 chassis hasn’t gained as much press as the E30 does, but we’ve recently seen $14,000 4000 Quattros – unthinkable even a year ago, and a signal that the strength of the 1980s market really has pulled up everything along with the big headlines of the 911 and M3. Of course, because they languished in value for so long, there just aren’t many mint condition 4000 Quattros remaining. Because they haven’t been valuable for a long time, and because of the robust nature of the drive train, the 4000 Quattro has been lurking for a long time as a popular tuning platform. Engine swaps abound; from 5000 Quattro spec 2.2 10v turbos through twin turbo 4.2 V8s and 1.8Ts, just about everything has found its way into the engine bay of the 4000; but by far, the one that most wish for is the 20 valve turbo version of the inline 5, with up to and above 1,000 horsepower possible and the Group B soundtrack. Today’s 4000 has just such a swap completed:
We’ve been lucky enough to see a string recently of very nice condition 4000 quattros, with the nicest and highest priced breaking the $10,000 glass ceiling on these models. That’s apparently signaled to other 4000 owners that the market is prime to get out at current top dollar, ignoring the confluence of factors that combined to create that record sale. A super well documented, fully sorted and all original example, that car also found the right buyer at the right time. In contrast, today we have a decidedly unoriginal 4000S quattro with an asking price unsurprisingly right around the sale amount for that 1985 model. Will a modded 4000 bring stronger money than the average? Take a look and see what you think:
I still remember well the first time I got to hold a magnesium wheel – I was at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, and a bit of a joking and free-loving owner of a Pantera literally threw one – complete with steam-roller tire – towards me with the tagline “Here, catch!”. Grimacing in the impending pain I was about to experience as this dishwasher-box sized wheel lobbed at me came closer, I reached out and caught it, fearful that I would be on the hook for the wheel’s cost when I dropped it even though this joker wouldn’t be by my hospital bed for the multi-week recovery from my collapsed lungs and broken ribs. To my shock, I caught the wheel, and my tensed muscles experienced nearly no shock. It was comical how light the wheel was; something I wouldn’t experience again until I picked up a Formula One Ferrari wheel years later. Today, there is a set of ultra-rare OZ Racing wheels on Ebay for a very reasonable price:
Model: Tarmac Rally
Bolt Pattern: 4×108
Offset: Not Listed
Tires: Not Included
Price: $1,155 Buy It Now