Curbside Classic: 1985 Audi 80 (B2) CC – Exactly What It Says On The Box

We’ve had a number of posts on the 1978-86 Audi B2 (a.k.a Audi 80 in Europe and 4000 in North America), but never a “proper” long-form CC. This one, which I found in Switzerland last summer, was the perfect candidate: not only is it a German-registered car, but it even said “CC” on the rear. It was practically begging to be featured on this site, really, and to be the star attraction of this German 4-door Week.

I rarely get to write up Audis, as the older ones just don’t exist in the countries I’ve frequented recently. I found two or three interesting Audis in my decade-plus time in Asia, wrote up this Quattro a while back, but that’s it. I’ve seen more Lada Nivas, more Morgans and way more 1959 Cadillacs than old Audis in Japan, something that continues to baffle me. But just a week in deep Schweiz and look what cropped up.

Well, are you excited? Neither am I. Non-Quattro Audis of this era are many things — competent, spacious, well-engineered — but exciting? That was never the point. This is an Audi, not an Alfa or a BMW. Italdesign’s Giorgetto Giugiaro (somehow aided by Klaus Luthe, according to some sources) may have been the author of the car’s lines, but the brief was clearly not to design something too left-field. The revolutionary stuff, styling-wise, was best left to the Audi 100. The 80’s remit was more to be a sensible alternative to a Saab 99 or a well-built Renault 18.

The third generation Audi 80 was launched in 1978. Compared to its predecessor, the B2-platform-based Audi 80 (a.k.a. Typ 81) was wider, longer and a shade spicier, especially once the Quattro version joined the range in 1983. The only body variants on offer were a 2- and a 4-door saloon — the wagon version was only available as a VW Passat. The derivative Audi GT Coupé was marketed as a separate model, though it did share a lot of the 80’s bones. Our feature car is a post-1984 facelift model, where the most noticable update was the rear end’s chunky light clusters and larger boot opening.

Audi had a rather large array of two- and three-letter codes to signify trim levels — such as CD, GLE, etc. To add a bit more confusion, they decided to re-name their trim levels when they did the 1984 facelift, which is when the CC was created. It was essentially a “plain deluxe” trim, i.e. one rung above the base model, which was called, simply enough, Audi 80. Fancier and plushier alphabetical combinations were available, which could entail larger engines, but only up to a point: whereas the pre-facelift Audi 80 range had a number of larger 5-cyl. engine options, those were almost all absent after 1984 and made into the Audi 90.

In Europe, the smallest available engine on the Audi 80 was a 1.3 litre 60hp 4-cyl., but I doubt this would be in this rather well-equipped car. It’s likelier to have the 75hp 1.6, or even the “big” 90hp fuel-injected 1.8. There was a 4-cyl. turbo-Diesel too, good for 70hp, but I’m not sure how popular those were in Audi’s domestic market back then, compared to Diesel-mad countries like Italy, Belgium or France.

In most European markets, the standard-issue Audi 80 was a pricey machine, especially when compared to the many rival models from Ford, Peugeot, Fiat, Opel and most of the Japanese makers. They really should have called it “4000” like in the States; it sounds more expensive than 80. Hence why they created the 90 halfway through the B2’s production run. Incidentally, I have pondered and lookeed around for the reason that Audis of this vintage had different numerals according to which side of the Atlantic they were marketed in, but have not come up with a satisfactory answer. Is there such a thing as a satisfactory answer in this instance? CC, as always, will know.

When reading contemporary Audi 80 tests, whether from the Anglosphere (mostly British and American) or Francophone sources, the opinion generally coalesced on the car’s dynamic competence and airy cabin, as well as the feeling of quality it exuded. But nearly all testers also reported a lack of spark, a certain soullessness about the car, that was prevalent among Audis in general, but particularly so in the 80. There’s a bit of that left today, even if the passage of time has imbued it with some cachet. With over 1.4 million units sold (not counting the 90 or the Coupés), the Audi 80/4000 may have been a bit of a cold fish to some, but it was warmly received by many others. Here’s hoping a few of this impressive cohort is still around for decades to come, especially the ones proudly calling out for “CC”.


Related posts:


CC Capsule: 1985 Audi 4000 S Quattro – Sunday Softcore, by Perry Shoar

CC Capsule: 1984 Audi 80 CL – Ready for Loading, by Yohai71

Dash-Cam Outtake: 1986 Audi 80 and Oldsmobile Alero – Double Feature., by Yohai71

COAL: 1980 Audi 4000 – The Boy Embraces His Heritage, by Jim Klein

COAL #7: 1980 and 1986 Audi 4000’s – The Buttoned Down Sports Sedans, by Ed Hardey

Cars Of A Lifetime: 1984 Audi 4000 S Quattro, by JunkHarvester