The Audi 100 was launched in November 1968 as 4-door full-size saloon/sedan classified in the market as E-segment executive cars, where cars like Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E Class belong. It was powered by a 1.8L 4-cylinder front engine and front-wheel drivetrain.
The “Audi 100” nameplate denoted the car’s power rating of 100 PS (PS stood for Pferdestärke which meant horse-strength in German) equivalent to 74kW. Its launching in 1968 marked a very important milestone in the history of Audi—the full revival of the car brand after its disappearance for over 25 years.
Audi 100’s significance became more pronounced when it would later become one of the company’s bestsellers and the progenitor of A6. For the next 26 years from its launching, it performed so well in the market that the Audi division of the Volkswagen Group continued to produce it for four generations (from platforms C1 to C4). In the sections below, you will find how the Audi 100 evolved from its debut in 1968 until 1994, including the engine specs and Audi parts for the different models and variants in all generations.
1st Generation: C1 Platform (1968-1976)
The first Audi 100 under the C1 platform is also referred to as the Audi Type F104. The original four-door sedan/saloon was later produced in several variants.
Audi 100 Sedan/Saloon – 4- and 2-door variants
In October 1969, a two-door variation was added to the original four-door sedan/saloon. Both came in several versions with the following power rating and engine/transmission specs:
- 100 – 80 PS (59 kW); 1.8L 4-cyl engine; 4-speed manual gearbox
- 100 S – 90 PS (66 kW); 1.8L 4-cyl engine; 4-speed manual gearbox
- 100 LS – 100 PS (74 kW); 1.8L 4-cyl engine; 4-speed manual gearbox
- 100GL – 115 PS (85 kW); 1.9L 4-cyl engine; 4-speed manual gearbox
In April 1970, the 100 LS became available for 112 PS (82 kW) with a 1.9L 4-cyl engine and a 3-speed automatic transmission. In 1973, it underwent minor facelifts which included a new grille and modified headlights.
In March 1971, barely 2 years since its debut, half a million Audi 100s had been built. It was a very impressive start for a car that nearly vanished in history.
Audi 100 Coupé S
In 1979, the sporty fastback coupé variant of Audi 100 was introduced to the market. It had a power rating of 115 PS (85 kW) and was powered by a 1.9L engine with a 4-speed manual gearbox.
For this period alone (1968-1976), 796,787 Audi 100 saloons and 30,687 coupés were built.
2nd Generation: C2 Platform (1976-1982)
The Audi 100 upgrades in this platform were also coded as the Audi Type 43. For this generation, the Coupé was discontinued, and instead, four C2 variants were manufactured and marketed.
Audi 100 Sedan/Saloon – 4-door
The saloon underwent modifications, starting with an engine reconfiguration from the C1’s 4-cylinder to C2’s inline 5-cylinder engine, which offered a power range of 100-136 PS (747-100 kW). The C2 Audi 100 sedans had a more rounded look. The 2-door version suffered a decline in demand, so the sedans produced in this generation were mainly of the four-door type.
Audi 100 Avant hatchback
The 100 Avant model, featured with a 5-door hatchback body style, was introduced in August 1977. A month later, the company produced its 1,000,000th Audi 100. Incidentally, the millionth Audi 100 produced was a 100 Avant.
In 1979, another C2 variant came to the market, which was to be the star of this generation, the Audi 200. It featured fuel-injected 5-cyl engines and luxurious trims. It was built to make Audi 100 more competitive alongside Mercedes S and BMW 7 models.
The Audi 200 was available in two options – the 200 5E (also called Audi 5E in Australia) and the 200 5T. The former is naturally aspirated 5-cyl 100-kW petrol engine, while the latter is turbocharged 5-cyl 125 kW diesel engine. They were offered in both the saloon and hatchback body styles.
The most distinctive exterior features of the 200 were its four square headlamps and bumper-mounted indicators, which in the typical 100 were featured as two large headlamps with indicators on the wing edge.
C2 Audi 100 was introduced to North America as the Audi 5000. It was an executive car offered as a two- or four-door saloon. It sold over 100,000 in North America, where it was available only as a 5-cyl engine car. The initial models featured two round headlamps, but in the later C2 model years, these were restyled into a pair of rectangular headlamps.
3rd Generation: C3 Platform (1982–1991)
The C3 Audi 100 models are called Audi Type 44 in the production line. It displayed a more aerodynamic design that reduced drag and increased efficiency in fuel economy. It was made available for a wide range of engines.
Audi 100 Sedan/Saloon – 4-door
The C3 models have incorporated flush windows and door handles and a streamlined contour compared to the angled corners of the C2 generation. The two-door models were completely discontinued. Production expanded to South Africa and China. It was released in South Africa as Audi 500. For the Chinese market, it was called Hongqi Mingshi, which was produced with limousine and pickup truck variants.
Audi 100 Avant station wagon
In the C3 platform, the Audi 100 Avant name would cover all Audi station wagons. The 5-door station wagon had an extra collapsible seat in the third row.
The Audi 200 continued as the high-end flagship of the third generation. It was available in 2.2L 5-cyl turbocharged engines rated for a power output range of 165-200 PS (121-147 kW) and 20-valve 3B engine for 220 PS (162 kW).
In 1991, the Audi 200 20-v engine underwent some revision, including wider tires and wheel arches that were flared in front and rounded at the rear.
A controversy involving the Audi 5000 caused its sales to plummet. Some accidents due to sudden unintended acceleration were linked to the car’s defect-prone idle-stabilization system. Modifications were made by Audi on automatic transmission models and about 250,000 cars were repaired and installed with devices. The 5000 was even renamed at some point. Sales, however, continued to fall.
4th Generation: C4 Platform (1990–1994)
The C4 Audi 100 models are also referred to by Audi as Type 4A. The 4th generation Audi models were produced in two variants: the 4-door Audi 100 sedan/saloon and the 5-door station wagon. They were released to the Continental Europe and British markets in 1991.
These models were made available to the public in 2.8L V6 SOHC 12v engines with the option of Quattro permanent AWD that came with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Several powertrain variants came in for both petrol and diesel engines to provide various combinations of powerful performance and fuel economy.
Though the company stopped using the Audi 100 tag in 1994, it did not actually stop producing it. In 1995, the C4 car was restyled and renamed as Audi A6 and continued to be produced until 1997.
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By Patrick Lumontod