Remember the Extended-Use Audi 5000 R&T liked so much? Well, here’s an impression of the 5000 Turbo.
I think it looks sooooo much better in European guise, without the ‘orrible 5 mph bumpers. This is from the May 1980 issue:
I remember this generation Audi. This was the best looking Audi I’ve seen.
“R&T” had/has a long history of praising superlative-at-home foreign cars that were totally unsuitable for American driving habits of 14 to 20K a year, at 60 to 80 mph, with no or minimal maintenance.
This model Audi was not their worst offender; but hardly the best choice for most citizens of the USA.
I personally like the Audi 5000; but my driveway has been filled with wonky cars that required lots of fussing and TLC to keep them drivable.
In the mid-80’s I picked up a ’79 5000 non-turbo; round headlights (better looking than square IMO); brown (non-diesel). I loved that car but it tried my faith often with little nit-picky things like exterior door triggers (piece of aluminum; $200), electrical gremlins, wonky cooling system. Finally it overheated for the last time around 60k miles and I’d had enough. It made it to the Nissan dealer as a trade for my truck.
I loved the way it drove though. And it had a ton of low-key style.
I came really close to buying an ’81 5000 non turbo 5 speed in ’91. It was actually sold out from under me. Looking back, this was most likely a good thing. I doubt it would have held up long term. But it sure seemed like a good idea at the time.
Brazilian Passat had the same nose in the latest series:
It does just look so right as pictured. Chunky, strong, and purposeful. The turbo which was quite rare over here still looked better than the standard model if not quite as good as the Euro model our ride height may have been a tad higher as well. IIRC, early Magnum P.I. episodes featured a 5000 which I always thought was a turbo (but now realize wasn’t after googling) which went out in spectacular style being barrelrolled off the side of a street right around when the new jelly-beaned Audi 5000 came out…
This is the shape that I credit with inspiring Toyota’s Cressida from ’85-’88 though.
The design has aged quite well, still looks lean and athletic and very appealing.
Audi 200 (turbo) looks identical …I had one in the day ..in burnt met copper with houndstooth brown/beige interior ..nice seats …excellent supple ride …good power ..but finicky for reliability ..very easy to overheat the injectors system (which was fitted with a flimsy after-thought cooling fan set-up to try to overcome the issue) ..used to eat thermostats which were a nightmare to access and replace ..all in all too complicated a car just to own and relax with …always thinking ..”I hope we get there” ..lol
I have wonderful memories of this generation of Audi. My family moved to Germany when I was 14, and my dad bought a used 1980 Audi 100, which is what the non-turbo model was called.
I know these cars didn’t fare too well in the USA, mostly due to problems with the emissions controls and the electrical bits, but in Euro trim with minimal goodies the one we had was astonishingly durable. Our family had it for 15 years, put well over 200,000 miles (not KM) on it, and it never once had a major mechanical issue. I know I abused it horribly as a young driver, as did my two younger siblings, and it just kept on going.
It had excellent road manners, an extremely roomy and comfortable interior, and wasn’t too bad on gas. Just a 4-speed manual, 5-cylinder engine with a carb, no AC, no emissions controls (Germany didn’t adopt unleaded gas and catalytic converters until the mid-80’s), and a really classy design.
My folks finally sold it with just under 400,000 km on the odometer and still saw it driving around town for a couple of years after. It was legendary for its durability, even though I know it was an outlier for the brand at the time. I’d still seriously consider picking up an example in reasonable shape, just because it was such a nice car to drive.
There was a 1982 Audi 100 GL at the car show I visited recently. Completely original, 1.6 liter engine.
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