The Audi 80 is a compact executive car produced by the German manufacturer Audi (initially known as Auto Union and Audi NSU Auto Union) from 1966 to 1996. It shared its platform with the Volkswagen Passat from 1973 to 1986 and was available as a sedan, and an Avant (Audi's name for a station wagon). The coupé and convertible models were not badged as members of the range but shared the same platform and many parts.
In North America and Australia, the 80 was sold as the Audi Fox for model years 1973–79, and as the Audi 4000 for model years 1980–87 in the USA. The Audi 90 was an upmarket designer version of the Audi 80. The original Audi Cabriolet was badged thus, without a number, but was closely related to the 80/90.
There were several different internal combustion engine types, of which the petrol engines included the fuel-injected "E" (Einspritzung), and carburetor "S", and the diesel engines included "D" (Diesel), "TD" (TurboDiesel), or "TDI" (Turbocharged Direct Injection).
The Audi F103 series, based on the DKW F102 but with an all new range of four-stroke engines developed in conjunction with Daimler-Benz, sold between 1965 and 1972, comprised several models named for their horsepower ratings. From 1966 to 1969, this series included an Audi 80 model, but there were also 60, 72, 75, and Super 90 Audis available over the years.
This model debuted in Europe in 1972 (with factory production starting in May 1972) as the Audi 80, and in 1973 in Australia and the United States as the Audi Fox, and was available as either a two-door or a four-door saloon (sedan). It effectively took the place of several models that Audi had discontinued (the F103 series, which included the first model designated as an "Audi 80"), and provided the company with a viable rival to the Opel Ascona and the Ford Taunus.
The Audi 80 was first equipped with 1.3- and 1.5-litre SOHC straight-4 petrol engines. The internal combustion engines were available in various rated power outputs. For the 1.3 L engines, (identification code: ZA) was rated at 55 PS (40 kW; 54 bhp), code: ZF was rated at 60 PS (44 kW; 59 bhp). The 1.5 L (codes: ZB, ZC) at 75 PS (55 kW; 74 bhp) for the ZB and 85 PS (63 kW; 84 bhp) for the ZC.
On the home market, two- and four- door saloons were available in base trim (55 or 60 PS, called simply Audi 80 and 80 S, respectively), as L models (LS with 75 PS engine) or as a more luxurious GL (85 PS only). In September 1973, Audi added the sporty 80 GT (two-door only) featuring a carburetted 1.6-litre engine (code: XX) rated at 100 PS (74 kW; 99 bhp).
The Audi 80 had a MacPherson strut front suspension, and a C-section beam rear axle located by trailing arms and a Panhard rod, and using coil springs and telescopic dampers.
Audi's design and development efforts paid off during the 1973 European Car of the Year competition where the 80 won ahead of the Renault 5 and the Alfa Romeo Alfetta.
A facelift in autumn 1976 brought about a revised front end in the style of the newly introduced Audi 100 C2 with square instead of round headlights, 1.6- instead of 1.5-litre engines (still of 75/85 PS) and a new 80 GTE model with a fuel-injected version of the 1.6-litre (110 PS (81 kW; 110 bhp)) replacing the former 80 GT.
The Fox had a 1.5 L engine rated at 55 hp (41 kW; 56 PS) attached to a four-speed manual transmission. Subsequent versions came with 1.6 L engines rated at 83 hp (62 kW; 84 PS).
In certain markets a five-door "Avant" (Audi's name for an estate/wagon) variant was offered — effectively a rebadged Volkswagen Passat with Audi front panels. The B1 platform was dropped from the European market in 1978, although it was sold into the 1979 model year in North America.
Audi presented a redesigned 80 based on the B2 platform (Typ 81) in September 1978 and deliveries of the four door sedan began a few weeks later in Europe. Deliveries of the fuel injected GLE and two door bodied cars began early in 1979. The redesigned car was first seen in North America in 1979 (as a 1980 model). Audi continued to use the 80 nameplate in Europe, but badged their Typ 81 as the Audi 4000 in North America. The body of the B2 Audi 80 was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. No Avant variant was available, as the Volkswagen Passat filled that role.
In Europe, the 80 was the standard model, while after a 1984 facelift the Audi 90 was launched as a larger-engined version of the 80; with more options, and, aside from the 70 PS (51 kW; 69 bhp), four-cylinder 1.6l turbodiesel (TD) engine which was also available for the 80, two five-cylinder in-line petrol engines — a 2.0 with 115 PS (85 kW; 113 bhp) and a 2.2 with 136 PS (100 kW; 134 bhp) which was later modified into a 2.3. The 2.2 was available with a catalytic converter and power ratings of 115 PS (85 kW; 113 bhp) for front-drive and 120 PS (88 kW; 118 bhp) for quattro models. European models had two headlamp casings, while North American models generally had quad headlamps.
The Audi 5+5 was launched on to the American market in October 1981. The 5+5 was essentially an 80 B2 two-door saloon with the 2,144 cc five-cylinder engine and the 5 speed transmission, the precursor to what would become the Audi 90.
In 1983, the 80 Sport was introduced in the UK, based on the GTE. It came with quattro-style Ronal alloys, rubber rear spoiler, deep chin spoiler, striped charcoal Recaro interior, and optional body graphics including full-length "Audi Sport" stripes. A special commemorative-edition version, the Audi 4000CS quattro, was made for the 1985, 1986, and 1987 model years.
Mid-1984, for the 1985 model year, Audi gave the B2 a subtle facelift with tail lights resembling the ones of the Typ 44 Audi 100, and different front and rear bumpers and headlights and an updated interior. In Europe, engines with catalytic converter emissions controls were made available for the first time.
The B2 platform proved to be both quite versatile and quite profitable; many components were shared to or borrowed from the Audi Coupé, Audi Quattro and Audi Sport Quattro, which in the process helped to cement the company into the public eye after their quattro permanent four-wheel-drive system proved useful in various forms of racing.
The saloons were offered until late 1986 in Europe and 1987 abroad, and the B2-based Audi Coupé lasted through to 1988 (as an early 1989 model) before being changed. The Coupé shared many components, and its basic body shape, with the original Audi Quattro.
The North American Audi 4000 was sold in 4000S (1.8 L) and 4000CS quattro (2.2 L) derivatives, with the CS quattro being very similar to the European Audi 90 quattro. The Audi 4000 quattro debuted in 1984 and was sold in four colors, Black, Alpine White, Tornado Red, and optional Zermatt Silver metallic. It came standard with a 5 speed manual transmission, brown velour interior, and automatic windows up front and manuals in the rear. The early Audi 4000's were very similar to the Audi 80 with the addition of US mandated crash safety bumpers and quad sealed beam headlights.
The S had a 1.8-litre in-line 4 cylinder engine that output 76 kW (103 PS; 102 bhp) at 5,500 rpm. The CS quattro had a CIS-E fuel-injected 2.2-litre inline 5-cylinder petrol engine (identification code: JT). It displaced 2,226 cc, was constructed from a grey cast iron cylinder block, with an aluminium alloy cylinder head, and used a timing belt-driven single overhead camshaft (SOHC). The rated horsepower was 86 kW (117 PS; 115 bhp) at 5,500 rpm, and the torque is 171 N·m (126 lbf·ft) at 3,000 rpm. The only transmission available on the 4000CS was a five-speed close-ratio manual.
In September 1986, Audi released a new Typ 89 Audi 80 for the 1987 model year on the European market and introduced it elsewhere within a year. It was based on a new platform which broke the relationship with the Volkswagen B-series platforms, not being the same as the Passat's B3 platform. Although often called the typ 89 even among knowledgeable Audi enthusiasts, the official and correct nomenclature was its production code Typ 89 from 1987 to 1989, and Typ 8A from 1990 onwards. It introduced a new aerodynamic look and a fully galvanised bodyshell. This was the first mid-sized car to feature a fully zinc-coated body, giving it longevity and durability against corrosion perforation. This protective shield proved to be so effective that Audi extended its corrosion perforation warranty from the originally offered ten years to twelve years (during early pre-production, the body was expected to be good for only eight years). Audi still uses zinc galvanisation for all current steel-bodied models.
Unlike its predecessor, the type 89 was marketed worldwide only as the Audi 80 or Audi 90. For the most part, Audi transferred existing powertrain concepts to the new model, although fuel injection was now available for some engines. A range of new petrol and diesel inline four-cylinder engines became available to European customers along with the procon-ten safety system which became standard fitment from 1991.
In 1987, the inline five-cylinder Audi 90 was reintroduced as an upmarket, designer, more luxurious variant of the 80. The 90 differs visually by the full width tail-light panel; headlights which featured additional high-beam lights and a slightly different front grille. The most obvious visual difference between the 80 and 90 are the indicators, which are moved from beside the headlights to the bumpers next to the fog lights, which were standard fitment on the 90. From 1989 to 1991 the 90 also offered the first 20-valve engine from Audi since the turbocharged engine used in the Audi Sport Quattro. This engine produced 170 PS (130 kW; 170 bhp) and featured in the front wheel drive 20V, 20V Sport and four-wheel drive 20V quattro derivatives. The non-quattro 20V models were 120 kg lighter.
The United Kingdom and Europe had similar versions: the Volkswagen Group wanted to ensure consistency across all markets, so the trim levels were similar. However, in North America, the range was more limited: a choice of 2.3 E and 2.3 quattro were available from 1988 to 1992.
With the 1988 model year, a new two-door Coupé was introduced in Europe, known internally as the Typ 8B; basically a typ 89 saloon with a shortened wheelbase, modified rear suspension and a new front suspension system that previewed what was to come in the B4 Audi 80. It came with the 115 PS (85 kW; 113 bhp) 2.0E as well as the 10-valve and 20-valve 2.3E engines. It later served as a basis for the B4 Coupé and Cabriolet (Typ 8G). These models dropped the "80" appendage and were simply known as Audi Coupé and Audi Cabriolet. Because of the heavy re-engineering involved in the cabriolet version, this model was essentially carried on until the year 2000, long after the other B3 models had been replaced by B4 and even B5 vehicles.
In 1989, for the 1990 model year, North America received the Coupé quattro and 90 quattro models that all were powered by a detuned 164 hp (122 kW; 166 PS) of the 20v 2.3 L 5-cylinder engine. These cars were considered to be in the "Grand Tourismo" (GT) style of a comfortable luxury car with sporting tendencies, as opposed to a dedicated lightweight sports car. Weighing between 3,042 lb (1,380 kg) (1990 sedan model) to 3,308 lb (1,500 kg) (1991 Coupé model), these cars were not lightweight, especially in consideration of the 164 hp powerplant (slightly de-tuned from the European version). These models can be recognised by their distinctive roadwheels (Coupé quattros had 15" 6-star "Speedline" wheels, sedan quattros had 14" BBS Mesh wheel or the 15" Speedlines). They differed from regular 80/90 models in several ways. Notable differences include their standard leather interiors with Zebrano wood trim, additional VDO gauges mounted in the bottom of the centre console, a carbon fibre centre drive shaft, and push-button locking rear differential. The Coupé quattro is visually similar to the European-only S2 model, but does not have the S2's turbocharged engine.
The final typ 89 80s and 90s were sold as 1992 models in North America; in Europe, all typ 89's were discontinued at the end of the 1991 model year to give way to the B4 series; a few Audi 90 Sport Quattro with the 2.3 L 20v engine are, however, known to have come off the assembly lines as late as early 1992.
The Audi 80 (B3) obtained a major facelift for the 1992 model year in 1991. It was from then on known internally as the B4 (or Typ 8C). Changes from the B3 included a longer wheelbase, a fully redesigned fuel tank and rear axle to enable the use of folding seats, 15" roadwheels with more prominent wheel arches, redesigned and painted rear and front bumpers, as well as higher-quality materials for the interior. The front grille was merged with the bonnet and given a bolder look.
The B4 also marked the beginning of Audi's move into the German luxury mid-sized vehicle segment, which until then was clearly dominated by Mercedes-Benz and BMW. On the European market, and in Germany in particular, the B4 and its variants were highly successful and popular.
In Europe, the 90 name was discontinued, and all saloons were badged as 80, regardless of which engine they had. Audi of America went the opposite direction, and began selling the saloon as the 90. B4s for the American market typically offered more luxury and style even in the standard version, such as automatic transmission, cruise control, air conditioning and leather seats, all of which were usually optional at additional cost (or standard) on European models.
Because the United States does not recognise the international ECE Regulations on auto safety components and constructions, but rather maintains its own Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, the front of the B4 had to be specially redesigned for vehicles sold in North America. The front and bumper had to be designed to accommodate impact energy absorbers not required outside North America. Instead of the dual-reflector headlamps, a single-reflector design was used inboard of an amber combination turn signal, parking, and side marker lamp and reflector wrapping around the corner, and fog lamps smaller than the rest-of-world items were placed the corners of the bumper air duct.
European market cars were now available with a selection of inline four-cylinder engines, as well as the familiar in-line five, and two different new V6 engines (2.6 and 2.8); the later 2.8 V6 was the only engine available for vehicles sold in North America. As another first, Audi introduced a new high-torque, direct-injection, turbocharged diesel engine, the 66 kilowatts (90 PS; 89 bhp) 1.9 TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection). The standard 1.8-litre petrol engine of the B3 was discontinued; a two-litre, 66 kW (90 PS; 89 bhp), 4-cylinder petrol engine, a variation of the previously known 85 kW (116 PS; 114 bhp) 2.0 E engine, was now available for the base model.
Altogether, although some layouts were not available everywhere outside Germany, Audi offered the following engine range for the 80/90 B4:
- 1.6 – 74 kW (101 PS; 99 bhp), in-line four-cylinder
- 1.8 E 20v – 92 kW (125 PS; 123 bhp), in-line four-cylinder
- 2.0 – 66 kW (90 PS; 89 bhp), in-line four-cylinder (base model in Germany)
- 2.0 E – 85 kW (116 PS; 114 bhp), in-line four-cylinder
- 2.0 E 16v – 103 kW (140 PS; 138 bhp), 16-valve, in-line four-cylinder
- 2.3 E 10v – 98 kW (133 PS; 131 bhp), 10-valve, in-line five-cylinder
- 2.6 E – 110 kW (150 PS; 148 bhp), V6
- 2.8 E – 128 kW (174 PS; 172 bhp), V6
- S2 – 169 kW (230 PS; 227 bhp), 2.2L, 20-valve turbocharged in-line five-cylinder
- RS2 Avant – 232 kW (315 PS; 311 bhp), 2.2L, 20-valve turbocharged in-line five-cylinder
- 1.9 TD – 55 kW (75 PS; 74 bhp), in-line four-cylinder turbodiesel
- 1.9 TDI – 66 kW (90 PS; 89 bhp), in-line four-cylinder direct-injection turbodiesel (with intercooler)
All petrol versions could be ordered with quattro permanent four-wheel-drive; at the time, however, it could only be combined with a five-speed manual transmission. Additionally, Audi built about 2,500 units of the Quattro Competition for the German and European market. It was a street homologation of the B4-based Super Tourenwagen Cup (STW) race car saloon with four-wheel drive and a modified 140 PS, 16-valve, two-litre petrol engine. The powertrain had its roots in the two-litre, four-cylinder inline engines that most European Audi 80s were equipped with at the time. On the outside, the Quattro Competition featured the same bumpers as the S2, V6 headlights, and a rear wing mounted on the bootlid. Together with the S2 and the RS2 Avant, the Quattro Competition has become an increasingly rare and highly sought-after collector's item.
Together with the saloon, Audi produced a B4-based estate, the Audi 80 Avant, and a convertible, the Audi Cabriolet, which was largely based on the B3 Coupé. This meant that Audi now had saloon, coupé, cabriolet, and estate variants of the 80 available to European customers. For the North American market, however, Audi only sold coupés during the 1990 and 1991 model years, and the station wagon was never officially available. The Cabriolet was the company's first soft-top since the Auto Union 1000 Sp of 1959. Initially available with the 2.8-litre V6, and then 2.6-litre V6 were offered later. Heavily engineered to retain the structural strength of the Coupé (with which it shared sports suspension), its screen was reinforced to preclude the need for a roll bar.
As of the 1994 model year, a limited edition model, known as Europa, was introduced on the European market. It could be ordered both as a saloon and an Avant. It was factory-equipped with power mirrors, alloy wheels, rear seat headrests, an airbag steering wheel, and offered a choice between power sunroof or air conditioning. It came in five different special colours. For "regular" 1994 B4 saloons and Avants, standard features as well as options available were stepped up too, including an airbag steering wheel and redesigned door liners (standard), and passenger airbags and a built-in engine immobiliser (optional).
The 80-series was effectively replaced by the new Audi A4 in 1996, a variant of the 1996 Volkswagen Passat. By that time it was feeling very dated in comparison with more modern rivals like the BMW E36. Production ceased at a time when prestige European manufacturers were making the transition of older executive saloons to newer models based on newer platforms in the compact executive car market.
The B4 saloon was discontinued at the end of the 1994 model year (although a number of European vehicles are known to have been first registered as late as early 1995; in North America, sales continued into 1995 as well). Avant and Coupé followed suit in 1995/96. The Cabriolet, however, was carried on until 2000. As of the 1998 model year, it underwent a few minor yet visible touch-ups in its European version, such as gently redesigned bumpers and instrument clusters, projection lens headlights and more options available. In addition to this facelift, a special edition was introduced for the European market under the name Sunline. Among other specs, it was equipped with all leather interior, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, a power soft-top and a leather steering wheel.
Both the Coupé and the Cabriolet were effectively replaced by the first-generation Audi TT coupé and roadster, sold between 1998 and 2006. The B4 platform saloon was replaced by the Audi A4 for the 1995 model year (1996 in North America), followed by a new A4 Avant later in 1996. A mid-sized convertible was not available again until 2002, when the A4 Cabriolet was introduced. Audi has released a new mid-sized coupé for the 2008 model year, which is now known as the Audi A5.
Audi developed a sports version of the Coupé in 1990, called the Audi S2. This featured the well-proven 2.2-litre in-line five-cylinder 20-valve turbo petrol engine from the Audi 200 20V, which was derived from the engine used in the Audi Quattro. A similar version of the engine was used in the Audi 100 based S4 (the 'Ur-S4'). The S2 came as standard with quattro permanent four-wheel drive, and featured a heavy-duty 5-speed manual transmission.
The S2 was initially available with a 2.2L turbocharged engine which produced 220 PS (162 kW; 217 bhp) (Engine code: 3B), coupled to a 5-speed transmission. In 1992, the engine received minor upgrades, including distributor-less ignition, which increased power output to 230 PS (169 kW; 227 bhp) (Engine code: ABY) which was coupled to a new 6-speed gearbox. Although the power increase was minimal, the engine now produced 350Nm of torque (up from 309Nm) and featured an overboost function that allowed up to 380Nm in short bursts. The 3B-engined car will accelerate from 0-100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 5.7seconds, continuing to a top speed of 246 km/h (152.9 mph). The ABY-engined coupe will accelerate from 0-100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 5.9seconds, continuing to a top speed of 246 km/h (152.9 mph).
In 1993, the S2 received some cosmetic updates, including new AVUS style alloy wheels, elipsoid beam headlamps and clear front indicator lenses. This coincided with the introduction of the five-door S2 Avant, along with a limited run of four-door S2 sedan models, of which 306 were produced. The S2 saloon and Avant are actually based on the next generation B4 platform, and feature a lot of similarities in the rear axle support system to the later B5 A4 quattro. The B4 platform S2 Avant was also used between 1993 and 1995 as the basis for Audi's RS2 Avant super-sports estate, which was modified for Audi with assistance from Porsche.
Audi RS2 Avant
The Audi RS2 Avant is fitted with a similar 2.2-litre turbocharged engine to the S2, but producing 232 kW (315 PS; 311 bhp). Reaching 100 kilometres per hour (62.1 mph) in just 4.8 seconds, it has a top speed of 262 km/h (162.8 mph).
The Audi RS2 was generally only available as an Avant, although four 4-door saloon models were officially produced by the factory, including one for the chief of the RS2 development programme. The RS2 was at least partially assembled at Porsche's Rossle-Bau plant in Zuffenhausen. Prior to manufacturing the RS2, the Porsche Zuffenhausen assembly line was busy producing the high-performance W124 bodystyle Mercedes-Benz 500E. The RS2/Porsche link is further exemplified by the RS2's dual circuit Porsche braking system (wearing Brembo calipers with a Porsche name), 7.0Jx17" alloy wheels which were identical in design to the Porsche 911 Turbo wheels of that era, and side view mirrors are also borrowed from the Porsche 911 Turbo. Additionally, the word "PORSCHE" is inscribed in the RS2 factory emblems affixed to the tailgate and front grille, and on the engine's inlet manifold. Porsche modified the Avant S2 body optics, added more power, better brakes, bigger anti-roll bars to front and rear, fine tuned the interior – and a super-sports estate was born. Porsche's involvement in the project was on the strict understanding that a coupé model would not be produced, as this was felt to be too close to Porsche's own products.