The Audi gets high praise from R&T.
This is actually a summery of the extended-use. From 1980 January issue:
“Not the least expensive car…..” Even today, an Audi is NOT a cheap car to own. I owned a 74 Fox and while I loved the car, the ownership experience was no fun. As the cheaper of the then 2 Audi models, dealers treated you like the proverbial red-headed stepchild. The car was well assembled but LOTS of small parts broke often or fell off. Example? The engine’s cooling fan thermo switch failed EVERY 10,000 like it was wired into the odometer. Jacking up the car on 2 separate occasions the car fell off the jack. The hubcaps would fall off if the 4 clips on each wheel were not replaced EVERY time the hubcap was removed.
An older cousin and her husband bought a new Audi 5000 in 78 or 79 – I believe it was a twin of the subject car. Their experience was quite similar to R&T’s but with a couple of additional issues that I recall, including a hose they re-replaced and rerouted that was constantly splitting. They simply loved the car and she told me last year, shortly before she died, that the 5000, along with their Fox, was one of the best, most enjoyable cars they ever owned. Perspective is required as the 5000 replaced a one year old Chrysler Cordoba that was the very definition of a lemon. Also, my cousins were mechanically inclined and could do some of their own service and repair so they were not daunted by things that broke that probably should not have.
For me, the 5000 remains a very attractive car that, along with other imports, redefined luxury for the US. Too bad that the “sudden acceleration” issue created so many problems for Audi for so long.
Although not the best built car, I’ve always liked how it looked. I had a school teacher who had one like what was in this R&T magazine article, and from what he mentioned, his was quite reliable.
The amount of repairs and issues people used to have put up with as routine is simply amazing.
30k miles into my 2013 and I’ve had to change the oil, rotate the tires, and replace 1 air filter.
Agreed – I’m always astonished when I read old accounts like this. Definitely one area in which cars have improved.
Nicely styled and well-proportioned, I always liked how the 5000 looked. But this car seemed to have a lot of issues, esp. considering it was a premium sedan at a premium price. I think maybe German cars were overrated even back then.
A good friend had one but traded it off before the warranted expired. He had lots of problems with it and didn’t want to be married to a money pit. I drove it a few times and was impressed and I liked the styling.
One version of the Audi 100/5000 that never made it to the USA was this two-door coupe. Notice how long the rear quarter windows are compared to the doors.
I’d quite forgotten that the coupe model existed in this series. I don’t remember ever seeing one on my trips to Europe. They must have been rather rare.
That’s definitely a two-door sedan. 40 years later, we get only “four-door coupes.” We’ve lost the practical car with the nice long doors and replaced it with one that is even harder to enter the back than climbing over seat belts used to be.
This generation was the death of the two door (Euro) full size sedan. In Sweden, these were so rare that I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the flesh. I wonder if it was even sold at the nordic market? The Audi 100 (C2) Avant was never sold in Sweden either.
I think the large two door sedan was mostly a German affair? There was similar offerings from Ford and Opel of those years, but the market was rapidly shrinking. There was two door versions of the E1 Rekord (77-82), but not of the updated and refreshed E2 (82-86).
Same with the Ford Granada, there was a two door sedan up until and including the Granada Mk II in 1977. It was refreshed in ’82, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a two door ’82 and up Granada? I have no idea, but it’s possible. I just think it’s interesting the three major players that had two door sedans on the German market all stopped producing them about 1982.
That’s not a coupe, but rather the 5-door hatchback that I wish would have been exported to the States. To Americans, it probably looked too much like a slightly oversize VW Dasher (a.k.a. Passat Mk1). The first-gen Audi 100 coupe (not the 2-door sedan, but the fastback coupe) wasn’t imported either, and I wouldn’t even recognise it as an Audi from a rear three-quarter view. Beautiful car though!
I didn’t say it was a coupe. Perhaps I should’ve been more clear. I said it was the Audi 100 (C2) Avant that we never saw in Sweden. We only got the (C3) Avant a generation after…
I recalled seeing one coupé in green metallic at Audi sales centre in Dallas, Texas in the early 1980s. This coupé didn’t have any dreadful US sealed beam headlamps and battle ram bumpers so I suspected it was grey imported and registered as personal exemption.
I looked up in mobile.de and found one for sale, which was surprising given the rarity of C2 100 coupé…
My best friend’s folks had a ’78 5000S in dark Charcoal with Light Gray velour, a truly gorgeous color combination. It replaced a very problematic ’75 BMW 530i. The Audi was a reliable car for them.
As teenagers we got to take it up to the Bay Area for a football game with two other friends. It was the perfect car for such a trip. The velour interior came off as very luxurious. The whole car was a nice blend of European tautness and American luxury. The A/C worked fine and the Audi was stable enough at high speed to hand a beer through the window to the car traveling next to you without concern.
I’ve complained here about the brake dive on my ’86 5000S and didn’t think it could’ve been the shocks because the car had low miles. But the R&T test car needed new shocks before 48k. They said the brake dive was gone after that so maybe that was the problem with my car after all.
They rode nicely ..and felt ‘solid’ and smooth to drive ..but the mechanicals were not always that reliable, particularly the engines. 2 of the 3 of these I had back in the day had me scratching around under the hood trying to patch split manifolds and seized thermostats on the go in the middle of journeys, even though the cars were in tip top order and perfectly maintained. Going Japanese was the answer if reliable transport was a priority, rather than the then vaunted ‘European excellence’ ..not ! 🙂
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