There are some articles that are ok for the public, there are some articles that are editorial prostitution and then there are the articles I write for myself. And the Audi A4 80 is in the latter category.
Come to think of it, the Audi A4 80 is of same age with me. Launched in 1991, this was the first Audi to make the leap from the mid-range to the premium zone, to be paired against BMW and Mercedes. And how did Audi do that? They took the A4 B3 and gave it a healthy facelift, like VW did with the Passat B6 and B7, gave it some solid engines, and launched the first Audi RS and many other toys. We got air conditioning, power steering, cruise control, automatic gearbox, leather upholstery, rear headrests, panoramic sunroof, and – perhaps most importantly – here debuts the 1.9 TDI that the whole of Europe is still cheering for today. We in Romania at least know how to say “TDI” before we say “mother” and “TDI” in general is the universal answer to any question or situation.
On top of that, we also have the famous Quattro from Audi and we have engines for virtually everyone’s needs. From a modest 99 horsepower 1.6 naturally aspirated petrol to a decent 2.8 V6 to the monstrous 315 horsepower 2.2 Turbo in the Audi RS2 Avant. And while we’re on the subject of the Audi RS2 Avant, the history of this model should be mentioned here. Basically back in the 80s Porsche wasn’t doing so well financially and was putting their services at the disposal of others, and at that time they were dealing with some absolutely special Mercedes models. So Audi came to them because they wanted something to take on BMW and Mercedes and Porsche went to work. Porsche’s only condition was that they wouldn’t make a coupe because otherwise, they’d be competing with themselves so they’d make station wagons and a couple of sedans that they gave away to whoever had the influence to do order such a thing. And so came about the Audi RS2 Avant, the first Audi RS.
Audi A4 80 Engines
- 1.6 MPI 99 horsepower – Most likely you’ll find this car in some field, costing 700 euros max and a picture of Uncle Ben’s. There’s nothing wrong or right with this engine, it just exists.
- 2.0 MPI 90 and 114 horsepower – This was the base engine for the German models and comes with some features to make it worthwhile. Plus the 114 horsepower edition was also mounted in the Passat B4 or Audi A6 C5 or Passat B5.5 or the first Superb or Golf IV or any 2.0 petrol aspirated car from ’95 – 2000 from the VW group. Apart from the oil consumption, you have nothing to complain about.
- 2.2 Turbo with 230 and 315 horsepower – The only 5-cylinder petrol that is not reasonably priced and if you are going to buy one of these you have to choose between the Audi S2 and the Audi RS2 Avant.
- 2.3 MPI 131 horsepower – The only 5-cylinder petrol that is reasonably priced and definitely worth experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime 5-cylinder petrol as only Audi does it. It has no specific issues but you have to consider the age of the engine.
- 2.6 V6 150 horsepower – I’m starting with the first V6 and I’m going to say step because I’m going to move up to the 2.8 V6 straight away because they’re essentially the same except the 2.8 is slightly larger.
- 2.8 V6 174 horsepower – Also because you have a much better chance of getting a Quattro system for the 2.8 V6. Two glorious engines in sound and performance. As issues, we have the Hitachi brand ECU and the injectors which are either Hitachi or Bosch ISV and are both equally bad. Besides the injectors, you also have issues with the engine seals but at this age, it really doesn’t matter.
1.9 TDI 75 and 90 horsepower – The 75 horsepower one is an antique I wouldn’t get but if you found it, sure, because it’s the same 1.9 TDI just without the intercooler. The whole party instead is about the legendary 90 horsepower 1.9 TDI 1Z, the most 1.9 TDI of the 1.9 TDIs.
Audi A4 80 General Issues
- First of all, it should be mentioned the age and the fact that it was a popular car and today it is driving through the rural parts of the country so the chances of finding a good car are very slim.
- The starter motor is a notorious weak point for Audi A4 80 so before you start replacing batteries, check the starter motor.
- The brake pressure plate is another sore point but here a lot depends on the engine because not all engines reach high enough speeds to be in danger of a serious crash.
- Sure, the bodywork is galvanized but rust still forms on the fenders, because we are talking about a car at least 25 years old.
Audi A4 80 Verdict
This is where Audi’s transition into the premium area begins and it’s no longer looked at the way we looked at Hyundai back in 2005. So if you want to experience the German car exactly as it is presented by the Romanians, i.e. indestructible, this is where you have to stop. What comes after is ok, but this is the pinnacle of the German car, built to be functional even after 30 – 40 years.
What engines do I recommend? If you want something classic, 2.8 V6 Quattro 175 hp but most likely you’ll be looking for a 1.9 TDI 90 hp.