One of One: 1992 Audi 90S Prototype

From yesterday’s end of the run B2 Audi 90, today we have another special feature on a unique Audi. While the B3 heavily revised the safety, aerodynamics, comfort and luxury for the small Audi range, weight went up and power was effectively the same, meaning that the B3 was at a distinct performance disadvantage to the natural rival BMW. Audi did increase the amount of power that the B3 quattros had at their disposal with the introduction of the 7A 20V motor in 1990, but the twin-cam inline-5 wasn’t available in front drive Audis which sold in greater number. That gulf grew wider as BMW upped the power again with the new E36 chassis, now with the best part of 190 horsepower available in the 325i. To answer the competition, Audi heavily revised both its large and small chassis in for the 1991 and 1992 model years. The C4 model was introduced late in 1990 in Europe, and while Audi did away with the 200 model the new S4 ostensibly replaced it with even more sport. But the 100 saw massive changes too, with the introduction of automatic transmissions to the quattro range widening the appeal of the model. Though the V8 quattro had offered that option previously, it was a much more expensive model and the 100 was also available in Avant form. But the big change was under the hood, where a AAH 12 valve single cam 2.8 liter V6 replaced the previous NG/NF 2.3 naturally aspirated inline-5 and MC1/2 2.2 turbocharged inline-5 power units of the 100 quattro and front-drive and 200 Turbo front wheel drive models, respectively.

In the small chassis, Audi continued to offer two different chassis levels for the newly introduced for 1992 B4. Carrying over from the C4 range was the same 172 horsepower 2.8 V6, powering either all four wheels or the front wheels only. Few mechanical changes were made to the quattro models versus earlier inline-5 models, but the front drivers received more refinement from a trailing arm torsion beam axle instead of the previous Panhard rod design. Outside, new front and rear fascia was mostly expressed by integrating the hood and grill to match the C4 design. Fender flares increased, new contoured hoods offered more character, and different bumper covers updated the look slightly. New wheel designs were also incorporated into the B4 lineup, with 10 spoke Speedline-made wheels being standard and optional Ronal “Sport” 5-spoke wheels, both in a slightly greater 37mm offset as opposed to the 45mm offset of early B3 models (with the exception of the Coupe). There were plenty of other minor changes inside and out that added up to a very different and more refined feel versus the earlier B3. But Audi needed to provide some time for U.S. dealers to relaunch the new 90 model range. So, while in 1991 you could buy either a 90 quattro 20V or 80 quattro, in 1992 there was only a 80 model available – no 90s were sold. This coincided with the lowest sales figures for the small chassis Audi had recorded. The new 90 would launch here in late 1992 as a 1993 model in both quattro and FrontTrak form. And to help promote the new model, Audi brought over a few pre-production models, one of which we have here:

Email Seller: 1992 Audi 90S on German Cars For Sale Blog

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1993 Audi S2

One of the most popular tuning swaps in the Audi world until quite recently was to slot a 3B/AAN turbocharged 20V motor into a B3 coupe. The “Ersatz” (replacement) S2 required a fair amount of custom engineering, but you got a sleeper package that was capable of some serious performance that the U.S. bound Coupe quattro with its normally aspirated 7A 20V inline-5 lacked. For an effectively an entire generation these custom turbocharged examples have held a special place in the market, worth more than generally every other Audi from the period, but that’s changing. Now it’s 2016 and the market has awoken to the original Quattro; really pristine examples have shot through the roof in terms of pricing. But the bigger thorn in the side for custom-made S2s is that the real factory built S2s are now importable to the U.S.. While that’s not the easiest road to travel, if you search around you can find some real budget examples of the real-deal original S2 for much less than the asking price of U.S. bound replica cars. While this 1993 is still a few years from legal importation, it certainly gets me thinking about what could be:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S2 on Classic Driver

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Motorsports Monday: 1992 Audi 80 quattro Supertourisme

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Audi seemed a bit lost in terms of direction of its motorsports programs. With the death of Group B following the development of the monster S1 E2 Quattro, Audi turned to the 200 to lead its racing brigade from Group A rally to the crazy Trans-Am effort. That would continue with the introduction of the V8 quattro, campaigned in the DTM in 1991 and 1992 before being banned. But focus would return to the smaller chassis cars in the early 1990s, with Audi introducing a line of Super Touring 80s and the most memorable of the bunch, the flame spitting Audi 90 IMSA GTO racers. Though few remember the 80 STW, it was run extensively in the DTM and Italian Super Touring series and paved the way for the later A4 STW that would dominate many international touring classes in 1996. But there was a lesser known development, that of the ROC engineered 80 quattro Supertourisme. Built by ROC in 1991 on behalf of Audi Sport for the French Super Touring class, it was unlike any of the super touring cars Audi produced:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi 80 quattro Superturisme at Jean Lain Vintage

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1994 Audi RS2 Avant

Why would anyone even contemplate paying $35,000 for a 21 year old, complicated and turbocharged Audi wagon that you can’t register in the U.S. for 4 more years? Because of the badge that adorns the front – the magical “Renn” added to the S2 badge, along with the legendary name Porsche scripted below. That meant that this relatively unassuming Audi 80 quattro Avant had been produced in Zuffenhausen rather than Ingolstadt and had added a healthy dose of even more “Sport” to the small chassis. Ostensibly, though the Sport Quattro was the first “RS” vehicle, the RS2 was the first to wear the badge which has become synonymous with Audi’s speed department. For many Audi aficionados, though the RS vehicles have become much faster and more luxurious, just like the 500E and the M3 Audi has never made a car better in its overall execution than the original. Not that it was slow by any means; Porsche’s massaging of the inline-5 resulted in 311 horsepower – even more than the Sport Quattro had from essentially a very similar motor – so despite being much heavier than the Sport had been, the RS2 wasn’t much slower; sub-5 seconds to 60 and a top speed north of 160 mph. Along the way, it was capable of bullying everything outside of a supercar; yet this car also established the move from Audi’s 2-door “halo” vehicle to a long line of fast five doors. Porsche also upgraded the brakes and wheels with Brembo units and 17″ “Cup 1” wheels creating a signature link. So, too, was the color signature; original called “RS Blue” rather than the color name it’s often mistaken for – the later Nogaro – the bright blue is still the go-to shade for Audi’s fastest. Even within its fast contemporaries, this car was legendary, and the upgrades to the motors and wheels spawned an entire generation of enthusiasts to turn up their inline-5s stateside. Of course, the RS2 wasn’t imported here – nor were any of the S2s for that matter, or even the 80 Avant. That makes seeing one in the U.S. exceptionally rare (and, currently illegal….):

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Audi RS2 Avant on Rennlist

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1997 Audi Cabriolet

The Audi Cabriolet might be the least popular modern Audi made in the used market. Considering the number of unpopular, or at least notoriously unreliable (correctly or incorrectly) Audis out there, that’s saying something. For one, I think it’s unjust, but I think it’s understandable. First off, the B4 Cabriolet only came to the U.S. with one engine configuration; the venerable 2.8 V6. That’s not much of a surprise, though, since nearly every Audi sold between 1993 and 1997 had that motor. But there was no all-wheel drive option, unlike the two models that replaced it (The B6 cabriolet and the TT cabriolet) – nor was there a manual option, which at very least was available in the sportier TT. On top of that, the B4 chassis was quite old by 1995, and Audi decided to retire it. Though refreshed in 1992, it was ostensibly the same chassis that had been introduced in late 1986 in Europe with the B3. Despite that, and the introduction of the new B5 A4 model in 1996, Audi had the B4 Cabriolet soldier on until 1998 in the U.S. market. As such, it’s often discounted as a soft, unreliable and old package when there were newer, flashier – and importantly for some, faster options such as the BMW M3 convertible. Yet, every time I see an Audi Cabriolet, I can’t help but stare a bit. Just like the Audi 90CS quattro Sport I wrote up a few weeks ago, it’s a lovely design; handsome and striking, yet understated and special looking. That was especially true of the late run Cabriolets with the optional 16″ Speedline-made “Competition” wheels. Add the optional and additional cost Pearlescent White Metallic and select the Wine Red interior, and this is a rare – and classy – package on a budget:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi Cabriolet on eBay

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1994 Audi 90CS quattro Sport

If you were looking for a sporty small executive sedan in 1994 and opted to buy an Audi 90, something was amiss. You would have waded through the miring scandal of “Accelerategate” and the media implication that your Ingolstadt-born all-wheel drive wonder would suddenly attempt to go full throttle (preferably, when your husband was opening the garage door….). Okay, so you must have had some understanding of physics, logic, spacial awareness and could differentiate a square pedal from a rectangular pedal and your left from right. That, in and of itself, isn’t all that odd. But then you still bypassed the BMW dealer to look at the Audi; a move which probably surprised even them. After all, in 1994 the E36 chassis was still relatively fresh and won nearly every magazine competition it was entered into. In comparison, 1994 was the penultimate year for the B4 quattro as the new A4 was already on the horizon, and though it had received a refresh in 1992 the now B4 chassis didn’t really offer much new technology or refinement over the outgoing B3. It was dressed up with some newer clothes, wheels, and a slightly more powerful motor, but it was still numerically at a disadvantage to the BMW on several fronts. The V6 produced 172 horsepower – about 17 less than the inline-6 in the E36. That V6 also hauled around more weight than the BMW did, so the Audi was predictably slower in every measure, too. The weight and larger displacement meant it got worse gas mileage. And for the pleasure of this slower, thirstier, older chassis, you paid less, right? No – walk into your dealer and select the 1994 90CS quattro Sport as shown here, and you were going to pay over $35,000 – about $5,000 more than the base price on a 325i sedan. Is it any wonder that Audi only shifted a reported 773 of them that year?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Audi 90CS quattro Sport on Orange County Craigslist

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Feature Listing: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro 20V Turbo

In my recent “Gimmie Five” 10K Friday, I charted some of the developments of the venerable Audi powerplant. Though the Eurovan would continue using I-5s in some applications, ostensibly 1997 would see the end of the line for the original configuration with the discontinuation of the S6 even if it’s returned in spirit in the new 07k turbocharged 5 seen in the TTRS and RS3. Those cars are the successors of the original small turbocharged Audis; the Quattro and the S2 coupe and Avant, and while we briefly got the 10V Quattro, none of the later small turbocharged variants came to the U.S.. For enthusiasts that were unwilling to wait for either the new models to launch or the European models to become legally eligible for importation, a popular pursuit has been to recreate the turbocharged package in the small chassis. Adding the turbocharged motor in 20V form instantly transformed the B3 and B4 into performance machines, and with plenty of tunability in the package it was possible to create a really serious package. That tuning has been taken to another level by an entire generation of new electronic fuel injection management which exploits the longevity and stout construction of the inline-5 and makes absolute monsters. Sure, it was impressive that Audi produced versions that managed the best part of 1,000 horsepower in certain tune in the 1980s – but that, of course, was a major manufacturer with near unlimited budget. What’s more impressive is that small tuning firms subsequently have been able not only to match but to exceed those power levels, with companies like 034 Motorsport and Dahlback Racing making 1,100 – 1,200 plus horsepower variants on their own. Even though the B3 chassis is fairly heavy, if you can turn up that boost to high levels you’ve got yourself a rocketship – and this S2 replica certainly has the right ingredients for that recipe:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro 20V Turbo on Motorgeek

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1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi Variant

Something really strange happened to me about a decade ago; I got old. Sure, part of it was the numeric figure I associated with my age, but the bigger problem was that I had a job that I was paying the gas bills for, and I needed to drive – a lot. I was adding between 45,000 and 55,000 miles a year to the odometers (when they were working). My preferred mode of transport to that point was Audis, and while they were quirky, fun, and neat looking compared to a Kia, the fuel mileage was nothing to write home about. My 200 Quattro Avant struggled to get 25 m.p.g., and my V8? If I could manage 20, that was a good day. So, despite my desires for a high performance steed, increasingly as gas prices rose my thoughts kept shifting towards how I could maximize my fuel mileage. One thought I had was to take something like the 200 and swap in a TDi drivetrain. Would it be slow? Sure, it wouldn’t be nearly as quick – but the prospect of 40 plus m.p.g. was infinitely appealing to easing my multi-thousand dollar gas bills. It seems I wasn’t alone in my thinking:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi on eBay

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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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1995 Audi RS2 Avant

If yesterday’s low mileage S6 Avant wasn’t enough fast wagon love for you North American fans, I have just the cure. It’s easy to forget that our neighbors in the Great White North have managed to enjoy European model legal status for a full decade more than that U.S. fans; thus, it’s not abnormal to see some wild Euro cars come up for sale. Kijiji is nearly as much of a tease as Ebay.de, and today is no exception as a rare RS Blue 1995 RS2 Avant with lower miles has popped up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi RS2 Avant on Kijiji

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