I can show you parking lots full of Mercedes W123s, but a C2 Audi 5000? Not one to be found anywhere, yet their lifespans corresponded almost exactly. And the 5000 was quite popular in the US, at least on the coasts. But NickyD has caught one, in Berkeley, no less. Only one shot, along with the nose of Quattro Coupe, so it appears to be in loving hands. But if we ever get a full set, this is a car that’s long overdue for its day of reckoning here.
Cohort Sighting: Audi 5000 (100-C2): The Anti-W123
– Posted on March 13, 2014
Now these cars should be a fashion statement. They’re dorky (in a good way) and take a more conciliatory, charitable approach to driver comfort, unlike the Merc which has a gigantic wheel and zero thigh clearance. Were they any more reliable than the disastrous C3 which followed? Prob not.
…and yes, I also had these in mind when writing about the W123.
Now go find a 5+5 coupe and I’ll be a happy camper….
I thought this would be appreciated!
Paul, did you miss the other shots? There was a bevy of old Audis all parked together: the 5000, a 100 Avant, and TWO B2 Coupes. Unusual enough on their own, but quite a sight together. There are shots of each on the Cohort.
I was in a super hurry just then; needed a quick post to round out the schedule, and when I saw the 5000, I decided it was perfect as a contrast to the W123.
Such a handsome car and so much more interesting to look at than the C3. I don’t remember a side marker in front I wonder if the guy added that.
Thanks for the reminder about these being in production the same time as the 123. Hard to believe considering how few 5000s you see and how many 123s.
Remember how the crazy mom drove one of these in ET? Was it awarded to her in the divorce, or did she buy it post settlement. Always wondered…still a great looking car.
We had a 1980 C2 (100 L5S) when I was growing up in Germany. It was 5-cylinder, 4-speed manual, and was an awesomely durable car. It survived 3 teenagers, long-distance vacation trips, all kinds of weather, and just an amazing amount of abuse. Seriously, if you want to hear somebody speak of a car in tones of reverence and awe, just mention that car to any member of my family. The W123 and E12 5-series both came and went, but the old Audi 100 soldiered on for 15 years and 300,000 KM before it was sold to somebody else who drove it for some time longer. It was just unstoppable. I could quite literally drive all day on the Autobahn with the pedal to the floor and it was perfectly happy to do that.
Also, it was also unencumbered with US emissions controls, AC, and automatic transmission. I’m sure that made a big difference in longevity in Europe vs. here in the USA. But I can’t deny that as foolish as it sounds I’d probably buy one of these if I had a shot at a good one with a manual transmission. It was a great middle ground between the W123 and E12 at the time, and it’s a shame more of them haven’t survived.
Oh DEAR …back in the day I had an ’82 Audi 200 (170hp 2.2 litre 5 cyl turbo) …and it gave my family no end of overheating breakdowns and roadside stoppages …first at the inlet manifold with overheating injectors …then by way of thermostat failures (and it was a biggish job to replace just the thermostat on that particular ‘buried deep’ mechanical layout..
Although it rode and tracked well ..it was a devil for reliability !
I bought it after a sweet Audi 90 1588 injected… but what a mistake it was.. .. .. : /
Bad memories of these
Great car, but from 1976 I’d still take a Rover SD1 3500.
The W123 is on my list of the most sginificant cars of the 1970s though
These things make Rovers seem reliable.
Looks like it could share the front door with B1 Audi 80/1st gen VW Passat/Dasher …
Is this what you’re looking for? I see a few old 5000s in SoCal on a regular basis. This one is spotted in the same area of downtown Santa Monica during the week – it appears to be a daily driver. Clearly held in esteem by the owner as it has “The Club” attached to the steering wheel every time. Has age appropriate plates and SM Audi license brackets. Interior looks quite decent.
I always thought these were rather elegant for the times. However, I must correct that the Audi driven by Dee Wallace-Stone in E.T. was an Audi 4000 😉
I’m pretty sure it was a 5000.
It was a 1981 5000 S
I fell in love with Audi after ET. I still can’t see that car without picturing it backing into a trash can at the end of a suburban driveway. How many Audis were sold because of ET?
My late Uncle bought one of these C2 shape Audis back in the mid-80s. It replaced his ’82 XJS HE and was an ’82 200T, jet black. It was NZ-new but had the US-spec quad light front end (did all 200Ts have this maybe?), and bizarrely I thought that front end actually worked on it. From memory I think the seat tracks were mounted horizontally on the sills and center tunnel rather than on the floor like usual? I also seem to recall it had a lot more air vents in the dashboard than other cars had. I was too young to drive, but was went for rides in it, and it was very fast in a straight line but under-steered like nothing on earth. A number of interesting electrical issues developed in and behind the dashboard so it was on-sold after not very long. I do like the C2 shape, it has a certain Teutonic elegance about it.
My parents had the Turbo-Diesel version. Looked just like this. Not very fast, but 39 mpg in ’82 wasn’t too shabby. Beautiful to drive when everything was working right, which was almost never.
In Canada they had the “Audi Card”, which was a 3 year no-questions asked bumper-to-bumper care package. The dealer, as all VW-Audi dealers are, was complete pond scum. (FU Doug McGowan, if you see this). One of it’s myriad problems was the cloth braided (WTF!) oil cooler lines blowing out. When the first one blew out,about a month before the warranty expired , I demanded they replace the other one too, since it couldn’t be far behind. Nope. They only change what’s broken, nothing more. Of course it blew out while
I was coming back from Edmonton, in a BFE town called Lloydminster.
The only shop which would work on it was a father-son place which specialized in heavy trucks, and aftermarket turbo/LPG conversions.
The elder of the 2 fabbed up a replacement from scratch, did a bang up job, too.
All in all, a stinking pile of unreliable, overpriced, rapidly depreciating poop. Replaced by an ’88 Accord EXi that outlasted my parents and which my brother is still driving.
And re Scott’s post above-Why is it that over in Europe these VW-Audis have such a rock solid reputation when in the NA market they are devil spawn?
AFAS the example pictured above, something doesn’t look right. It has the 5-lug Turbo wheels on it, which should be accompanied by the thick style body moldings low on the side, as in the ad.
The standard 5000S had 4 lug wheels with a slimmer molding mounted higher up, which IMHO doesn’t look as good. Either the molding’s been changed or it was converted to 5-lug hubs.
..so agree with you …they were crap cars …not to say the Audi A4 was any better …my then 3 year old A4 1.9TDi had a COMPLETE CATASTROPHIC failure of the power steering set-up (and engine cooling) one day mid-way thru a motorway turnpike (at speed) …the steering suddenly became ‘ROCK STIFF AND DEAD’ (virtually immobilised) ..what had happened was that a spring tensioning alloy mount had split off from the engine block …it could have killed my wife who was the sole driver at the time ..I had the Audi agent come over with a tow truck and take that thing away for good …I told them I never wanted to see it again
200Ts had five lug wheels.
I know the wheels are Turbo or 200T, but the bodyside moldings are wrong.
My guess would be the emissions equipment. It wasn’t until the early 90’s did Europe start to make real progress towards changing emissions regulations significantly.
I think the reason these had a better reputation in Europe- having lived in both the US and Europe- is that here, (Uk at least) we get the cheaper and thus less complex versions. They also weren’t exotics, but were just fancier versions of Volkswagens, which meant that everyone had a VW specialist in town that could work on them instead of being slave to a rip off dealer. However, even with all that, they were still only averagely reliable, far below BMW or Mercedes of the era.
I had a really nice one of these in the early 80s, Inari Silver in colour. I drove it from Tasmania to Cairns and back and sat on 100 mph + most of the way. Picked up 3 speeding tickets in one day and the last one chased me for 20 miles before he could catch me in his Commodore. I found it to be a superb car, only problem was an occasional electrical glitch that would stop the car firing up.
I’ve never owned an Audi but the idea of acquiring an older S8, RS4, or RS6 does intrigue me. What and why do they go wrong?
Answer to Q1-Everything
Answer to Q2-We’re not sure.
I love this car. Had a 1978 round-eyed brown one in the late 1980s – I loved driving that car but the 5 cyl was prone to overheating and the aluminum door triggers failed often and expensively.
I’d love to see something this stylish come out for a reasonable price.
…yes, engine overheating was a real issue with them …particularly the turbo version which loved to fry it’s injectors to death… so they devised a little ‘cooling fan and shroud add-on’ just to cool the poor injectors down a few degrees ..but it didn’t work ..and they still fried anyway ..haha
Then I think I can say that I have a special car 🙂