A history of Audi The 1980s

A history of Audi The 1980s. Home. Introduction. Milestones. Audi quattro. Audi 100. Audi 80, 90 (B2). Audi Coupé GT, Sport quattro. Audi 80, 90 (B3) …

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A history of Audi The 1980s

Home Introduction Milestones Audi quattro Audi 100 Audi 80, 90 (B2) Audi Coupe GT, Sport quattro Audi 80, 90 (B3) Audi V8 Audi Coupe Innovations Motorsport Exit

Introduction: the 1980s

This is the decade when Audi\’s Vorsprung durch Technik philosophy really broke through with the launch of the Audi quattro, widely reckoned to have rewritten the rule book for high performance cars. Members of the press were so amazed at its roadholding, speed and security that they bracketed it with supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Lotus. From the moment of its launch, people\’s expectation of Audi rose to a new level, and the company began its prolific introduction of new technology, while simultaneously raising quality standards. Innovations poured from Ingolstadt, ranging from the flush glazing that was the most obvious visual evidence of the new Audi 100 saloon\’s low-drag body to the ingenious Procon-Ten safety system and corrosion-proof galvanised bodyshells. Audi was among the very first manufacturer to sell direct injection diesel engines, too. But its most dramatic innovation was the quattro permanent four-wheel drive system. First fitted to the highperformance coupe of the same name (this model is nowadays known as the ur-quattro, above, or original Audi quattro), the quattro drivetrain rapidly spread through the range.

Home Introduction Milestones Audi quattro Audi 100 Audi 80, 90 (B2) Audi Coupe GT, Sport quattro Audi 80, 90 (B3) Audi V8 Audi Coupe Innovations Motorsport Exit

Some of its success stemmed from Audi\’s determination to prove the worth of fourwheel drive in the frenzy of competition, the quattro demonstrating that to win a rally this was the drive system needed. It was proven by two world drivers\’ championships and a pair of World Rally Championship constructor\’s titles. But all-wheel drive didn\’t merely penetrate rallying\’s forest and Tarmac stages – it was considered a breakthrough worth emulating by virtually every major manufacturer around the world, from Alfa Romeo to Volvo, from Porsche to Audi\’s

sister company Volkswagen. The impact of this innovation is still being seen today. The 1970s also signalled Audi\’s upscale ambitions with models that took it closer to the luxury segment, the 100-based 200 saloon confidently being renewed before the launch of the luxury V8 saloon in 1988. Audi\’s quality standard, though already high, advanced significantly in the 1980s, with `just-in time\’ production delivery techniques being introduced, while a new Quality Centre brought all staff from this discipline under one roof from 1986.


1980 Audi introduces the quattro, the world\’s first volume produced four-wheel drive high performance car 1981 Audi displays a research vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show illustrating the scope for saving raw materials, reducing weight, improving economy and advancing the car\’s environmental acceptability. Many of these ideas appeared in the next Audi 100. 1981 Audi enters the World Rally Championship with the quattro and wins three events. 1982 The new Audi 100 records the lowest drag coefficient of any production car to date, at 0.30Cd. 1982 The Audi 80 quattro offers all-wheel drive to a wider audience. By 1984, there are quattro versions of every Audi model in the range. 1983 C atalytic converters are available across the range, Audi being the first car maker to achieve this in Europe. 1983 The limited edition, homologation special Sport quattro is released. 1984 The Audi 90 quattro is launched. 1984 Audi wins driver and constructor World Rally Championships. 1986 A new quality centre is opened at Ingolstadt, bringing all quality functions under one roof. 1985 Audi is first to put a fully galvanised bodyshell into high volume production with the 100/200 ranges. A 10-year corrosion warranty is provided. 1985 An image of an Audi 100 bodyshell lifted by two women is released. Made from aluminium it signals future thinking. 1985 Audi NSU AG is renamed Audi AG, and its headquarters are moved from Neckarsulm to Ingolstadt. 1986 The third generation B3 Audi 80 is introduced, with a galvanised body, a 10year anti-corrosion guarantee and a drag coefficient of 0.29Cd. 1987 The B3 Audi 90 is launched. 1988 Dr Ferdinand Piech takes over from Dr Wolfgang Habbel as chairman of the Audi AG board. 1988 A new, three-door Audi Coupe is introduced, based on the B3 90. 1988 The top-of-the-range V8 saloon is launched, featuring a 3.6-litre, four-valveper-cylinder 250bhp V8 engine. 1989 Audi is among the first to introduce a direct injection diesel-powered car in the 100 2.5 TDI 120bhp. 1989 Audi reveals its first hybrid, the 100 Avant quattro-based Duo.

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Audi quattro

1980-91 11,452 built This is the car that redefined Audi, a trailblazer that gave the company a glamorous edge, an enviable international competition record and the right to challenge traditional supercar manufacturers.

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The quattro became a bedroom pin-up of teenage boys, and provided Audi with a technological advantage that the rest of the car industry scrambled to copy. The quattro was not the world\’s first high performance, permanent four-wheel drive coupe, but Britain\’s 1968 Jensen Interceptor FF was a highly specialised, very low volume model. It was the quattro that put all-wheel drive on the map as a real-world option. The quattro was loosely based on the Audi 80 from which the prototype was developed. The longitudinal driveline made it relatively easy to extend a propshaft to the rear, while the rear suspension was essentially the front suspension and subframe turned through 180 degrees.

A centre differential allowed drive to be apportioned between the two axles, preventing wind-up. Power came from the 200 saloon\’s 2.1-litre 200bhp turbocharged `five\’, allowing a 137mph top speed and a 0-60mph time of 7.3sec. Yet it wasn\’t the quattro\’s performance so much as its astounding roadholding, agility and refinement that created an impact. Suddenly, the Audi quattro was one of the

fastest point-to-point cars on earth. The quattro was partially hand-built on a dedicated line at Ingolstadt, every car undergoing extensive static and test-track quality assurance including a 100mph run. The first UK cars were left-hand drive, but right-hand drive became available in late 1982, when the quattro\’s popularity grew to the point where UK demand kept it in production beyond Audi\’s planned deletion date.

Audi 100 (right)
1982-90 1,097,877 built The most effective aerodynamics of any production car in its day, lightweight construction and the option of four-wheel drive made the 100 one of the most advanced cars in its class, with qualities as relevant today as they were in 1982. In basic form the 100 scored a Cd of just 0.30, much of this excellent result down to painstaking refinement of the airflow over the body rather than a radical approach to its overall shape. The aerodynamic effectiveness was the result of an extensive programme of wind tunnel work carried out amid obsessive secrecy in multiple facilities across Europe. Each worked on one aspect of the car without being allowed to see the whole thing. Why? Because Audi was anxious to prevent competitors from finding out what it was doing. Smoothing of the airflow into around the engine bay, the fitment of flush-glazed side windows – a production first – and airflow management under the car all contributed. The most aerodynamic models (with the narrowest tyres) carried a `Cd 0.30\’ badge in the rear side glass. Excellent efficiency was a key goal of the project, achieved not only with the slippery bodywork but also through lightweight construction, allowing the 100 to deliver competitive performance from much smaller engines than were typically used in the class. Superior fuel consumption was the result. The quest to pare weight even led to the jack being made from aluminium rather than steel. And in 1985 the 100 and its sister 200 range became the first volume production cars to feature fully

Home Introduction Milestones Audi quattro Audi 100 Audi 80, 90 (B2) Audi Coupe GT, Sport quattro Audi 80, 90 (B3) Audi V8 Audi Coupe Innovations Motorsport Exit

galvanised bodywork.

Audi 80, 90 (B2)

Audi 80 quattro (B2)
980-87 Having launched the quattro, Audi wasted little time introducing the quattro system to more affordable models. The 80 was the least expensive way to acquire quattro technology within the range, but provided the same, permanent all-wheel drive security.

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Audi 90
1984-87 129,068 built Having achieved some success with the 200, which was a better-equipped, more upmarket version of the 100, Audi applied the same principle to the 80 and produced the 90. It was available with two more powerful five-cylinder engines and a quattro option.

Audi Coupe GT, Sport quattro

Audi Coupe GT (right)
1980-87 169,017 built This is the car from which the quattro was spawned, although the faster model appeared first. The Coupe could also be had with quattro, although the majority sold were front-drive. Engines ranged from a 1.8 fourcylinder to a 2.3 `five\’. Unlike most coupes, this Audi could seat four, even five at a push, and had a decent boot to go with it. But it was best-known for its fine road manners, clean handling and above average build quality.

Audi Sport quattro
1983-84 224 built This brutal-looking beast (below left) was a road-going version of the Group B World Rally Championship quattro, Audi building just over 200 examples to meet homologation rules. The most obvious modification from standard was a shortening of the quattro\’s wheelbase, which gave it startling proportions. The shrinkage was performed in the interests of rally stage agility. In road-going form it produced 306bhp, weighed 1300kg and erupted to 60mph in just 4.8sec, and 100mph in 12.6sec. The standard quattro\’s engine was downsized slightly from 2144cc to 2133cc to allow this turbocharged engine to qualify in the under 3.0-litre class, and it eventually developed between 5-600bhp, making the Sport the most potent rally car of its era. It helped to win Audi both the driver\’s and constructor\’s championships in 1984, with Stig Blomqvist at the wheel. In 1986 rule changes drew the Group B rally era to a close, at which point Audi withdrew, having netted bagfuls of silverware and an image hugely burnished by its competition exploits.

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Audi 80, 90 (B3)

Audi 80
1986-91 1,438,475 built The third-generation Audi 80 (codenamed B3) took the new 100\’s more rounded, aerodynamic style, but shorter overhangs and a wider stance improved its proportioning. It looked terrific, and did much to further modernise Audi\’s image. Its body was entirely galvanised, a first in the class, and the interior was particularly well designed and made. Engines ranged from a 1.6 through to 2.0 litres, and there was also a 1.6-litre turbodiesel plus, of course, the option of quattro four-wheel drive. The Procon-Ten passive safety system was also available.

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Audi 90
1986-91 141,809 built The same principle applied – an upmarket, plusher version of the Audi 80, which felt all the more convincing with this generation\’s improved build quality. Several quattro versions were also available, as was ProconTen.

Audi V8

Home Introduction Milestones Audi quattro Audi 100 Audi 80, 90 (B2) Audi Coupe GT, Sport quattro Audi 80, 90 (B3) Audi V8 Audi Coupe Innovations Motorsport Exit Audi V8
1988-94 21,565 built Although it looked similar to the Audi 200, and shared its core platform with that car, the V8 was more different than it appeared. Most of its panels were unique, as were all its detail styling features. Mechanically, it was also different despite sharing the quattro system with the 200. The 3.6-litre 32-valve V8 – formed by fusing two 1.8 VW Golf GTi 16v engines together – developed a healthy 250PS, enough for 155mph and an impressive 7.6sec to 62mph in automatic form. A long wheelbase version appeared in 1990, and a 4.2 V8 in 1992. In manual form, it had six speeds, while the four-speed automatic was combined with fulltime four-wheel drive for the first time. The V8 was not a big seller, but it paved the way for Audi\’s first serious luxury saloon, the A8.

Audi Coupe
Home Introduction Milestones Audi quattro Audi 100 Audi 80, 90 (B2) Audi Coupe GT, Sport quattro Audi 80, 90 (B3) Audi V8 Audi Coupe Innovations Motorsport Exit Audi Coupe
1988-95 73,857 built This handsome, plushly appointed car added a tailgate and folding rear seats to Audi\’s coupe format, as well as the galvanised bodywork that came with the B3 generation 80 and 90 on which it was based. The quattro drivetrain and ProconTen was also available, along with the turbocharged five-cylinder engine that would soon produce the S2 version, a successor to the famous ur-quattro.


Audi quattro system
It was while Audi\’s chief chassis engineer Jorg Bensinger was winter testing the Volkswagen Iltis off-roader in Finland early in 1977 that he had the idea for a roadgoing four-wheel drive Audi.

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Though Volkswagen-badged, the Iltis was an Audi development, a successor to the DKW Munga off-roader, and Bensinger noticed that, despite its modest power output, this small Jeep-like vehicle intended for the military was quicker on the snowpacked roads of Finland than a lot of far more powerful vehicles. Bensinger contacted engineering boss Ferdinand Piech and suggested developing an Audi 80 four-wheel drive prototype. Piech gave the go-ahead, and the red Audi 80 development car was christened A1, for Allrad 1. Its driveline was built by Hans Nedvidek, who had formerly built F1 gearboxes for Stirling Moss and Jan Manuel Fangio, by using an Iltis diff at the rear. Although there was no centre differential to apportion torque between the axles, the system was always conceived to be permanent four-wheel drive on the basis that the driver would always get the benefit. By September the same year the project received management backing, although Piech\’s visionary idea was not so much

an all-wheel drive family saloon as a high performance coupe that could thrash the opposition and take Audi into motorsport\’s big league. Piech\’s next challenge was to persuade Audi\’s owners Volkswagen to give it the go-ahead. Volkswagen\’s board was invited to Austria\’s steepest mountain pass, the Turracher Hohe, for `tyre testing\’ in January 1978, when it would be snowbound. The 160bhp prototype had no trouble climbing the pass, not only without snow chains but on summer tyres, convincingly demonstrating its superiority. Though few board members could see a market even for 400 such cars, Bensinger made himself personally responsible and the project got the green light. A centre differential was added to the formula when the wife of Volkswagen development head Professor Ernst Fiala drove the car into Vienna and complained that it `jumped around\’ in tight corners

and when manoeuvring. She had been experiencing driveline wind-up, which was ingeniously eliminated by Nedvidek, who fitted an Audi 50 differential behind the transmission.

The Audi 100\’s 0.30Cd
The Audi 100\’s aerodynamic body concept emerged from no fewer than five wind tunnels, each contracted to work on a separate section of the car. No-one was allowed to see the car in its totality, the canny Ferdinand Piech figuring that this would make it much harder for his competitors to be fast-followers. Even Volkswagen was excluded, despite Wolfsburg developing the sides of the car – only Piech and Audi\’s designers knew how the whole thing came together. Hartmutt Warkuss was credited with the design, although there was much influence from the five wind tunnels and Piech himself. Innovations Continued

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