The Audi 80 is classed as a compact executive car, sharing the same market segment (D-segment large cars) as Alfa Romeo Giulia, BMW 3 Series, and its successor—the Audi A4. It was produced for four generations under platforms B1 through B4 from 1966 to 1996.
After the immense success of Audi 100 (also called F104 by the Auto Union in the early days), the Audi division of Volkswagen Group promptly started the production of the Audi 80. It hit the market with as much impact as the Audi flag bearer at the time. But while its success came after the footsteps of Audi 100, the Audi 80 was actually a much earlier effort engineered in 1965 as the 4-stroke DKW F102 under Auto Union/Daimler-Benz.
With a few facelifts, the DKW F102 became the F103 and later marketed as simply “Audi” when Volkswagen acquired ownership of the Auto Union. This happened in 1966, two years earlier than the launching of Audi 100 in 1968. In this article, you will also find useful the specs of engines and other Audi parts for all generations of the Audi 80.
The Typ F103 sold profitably as the first Audi venture of Auto Union under Volkswagen. However, the first Audi was not hugely successful until it was restyled and marketed later as Audi 80.
Under the F103 platform, and after the successful launching of F100, the models in this series were called after their nominal power output in PS (Pferdestärke which meant horse-strength in German). The variants during this period were led by the Audi 80 as described below:
- Audi 60 – 2-/4-door saloon/sedan or 3-door station wagon; nominal power output of 60 PS (44 kW)
- Audi 72 – 2-/4-door saloon/sedan or 3-door station wagon; nominal power output of 53 kW
- Audi 75 – 2-/4-door saloon/sedan or 3-door station wagon; nominal power output of 55 kW
- Audi 80 – 2-/4-door saloon/sedan or 3-door station wagon; nominal power output of 59 kW
- Audi Super 90 – 2-/4-door sports saloon/sedan; nominal power output of 66 kW
The sections below show how Audi 80 came to be one of the company’s chart-topping models in history through four generations under the B-series (platform numbers B1-B4).
1st Generation: B1 platform (1972-1978)
Audi 80 Sedan/Saloon – 4- and 2-door variants
Under the B1 platform, Audi 80 underwent major changes clearly distinct from Typ F103. Audi 80 was internally designated as Typ 80 until 1976, and coded Typ 81/83 from 1976 to 1978. It took on Volkswagen’s EA827 1.3-L and 1.5-L SOHC inline 4-cylinder petrol engines in favor of the old Mercedes-Benz engine. The B1 Audi 80 also shed off its Auto Union body style, donning modern trims and luxurious features.
The Audi 80 2-/4-door sedan/saloons were produced in the following variants:
- Audi 80 – base trim; 1.3L engine, ZA code; nominal power output of 55 PS (40 kW)
- Audi 80 S – base trim; 1.3L engine, ZF code; nominal power output of 60 PS (44 kW)
- Audi 80 LS – L model; 1.5L engine, ZB code; nominal power output of 75 PS (55 kW)
- Audi 80 GL – luxurious trim; 1.5L engine, ZC code; nominal power output of 85 PS (63 kW)
- Audi 80 GT – 2-door only; sporty trim; 1.6L engine, XX code; nominal power output of 100 PS (74 kW)
- Audi 80 GTE – replacement of the 80 GT; fuel-injected 1.6L; nominal power output of 110 PS (81 kW
It was not until 1973 when Audi 80 was introduced to Australia and North America. It was badged Audi Fox for this market, for which over a million units were built. It was Audi’s entrant against Ford Cortina and more upscale cars like Alfa Romeo Alfetta at the time.
Audi 80 Avant
The B1 Audi 80 Avant, a 5-door station wagon, was produced sometime in 1975 for several markets including the USA and South Africa. Since Volkswagen’s Passat—which shared the same platform as Audi 80—catered to the same market, this line was discontinued shortly. Upgrades were not seen since then through B2 and B3, reappearing only in B4 but not for all markets.
2nd Generation: B2 platform (1978-1986)
The Audi 80/90 models in the B2 platform were internally designated as Typ 81, while the Coupé, 4000, and Quattro were Typ 85. The redesigned Audi 80 included the following variants:
Audi 80 Sedan/Saloon – 2- and 4-door variants
The 4-door sedan/saloon came ahead of the 2-door variant. All B2 Audi 80 body styles were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro as upscale compact executive cars to compete against BMW 3-series. Like the previous series, they were available with front-engine, front-wheel drive. They began to be available in four-wheel drive (quattro permanent four-wheel drive) in 1983, though they didn’t sell as well as their Audi 100 counterpart.
More than 1.5 million units of Audi 80 and 90 in this body style were built under this platform. Within 1978-1986, it underwent several upgrades and facelifts. These were the variants during this period:
- Audi 80 – engine: 1.6L 4-cyl turbodiesel engine; power rating of 70 PS (51 kW)
- Audi 90 – two added engine options: 2.0L 5-cyl inline petrol engine; power rating of 115 PS (85 kW) and 2.2L 5-cyl petrol engine; power rating of 136 PS (100 kW)
From 1980 to 1987, the Audi was produced for the North American market as Audi 4000. It came in these versions:
- 1980 model – 1.6L inline 4-cyl engine; power rated at 77 PS (57 kW)
- 1981 model – 1.7L engine; power rated at 75 PS (55 kW)
Audi 4000 5+5
In 1981, the B2 Audi 80 sedan/saloon was introduced to the American market. In the succeeding years, it came with several facelifts and modifications. These were its variants and derivatives:
- Audi 4000 5+5 – 2-door; 2.1L 5-cyl engine; 5-speed gearbox; power output of 101 PS (75kW)
- Audi 4000S – 4-door; 2.1L 5-cyl engine
- Audi 4000 quattro – sold in colors of black, white, red, and silver; 5-speed gearbox
From 1981 to 1983, the 4-door Audi 80 sedan/saloon was marketed in Australia badged as Audi 5+5. It came with a 2.1L 5-cyl engine and 5-speed transmission, with both manual and automatic options available.
Audi Quattro—also called Ur-Quattro, meaning “the original Quattro”—is Audi’s rallying car fitted with a four-wheel drive (hence “Quattro” which means four). This turbocharged performance car shared the same platform and designation as the Audi Coupé (Typ 85).
It was the first rally car to use 4-wheel drive in racing, for which it performed successfully. To mark Ur-Quattro’s historic first, all Audi vehicles produced with the 4-wheel-drive system took the proprietary “quattro” badge with lowercase “q”. So the reference to “quattro” in Audi 4-wheel drives refers to the original Quattro that used the 4-wheel-drive system even if subsequent versions had already been modified.
The Audi Coupé was produced from 1980-1988 under the B2 platform, Typ 81/85 designation. Its basic body shape mimicked that of the Quattro, without the distinct fender flares of the rallying car. These were the versions of the Coupé, from the basic Typ 81 to the quattro-upgraded Typ 85:
- Coupé GL
- Coupé GT
- Coupé quattro
In 1987, the production stopped for the standard Coupé and Coupé GL, which were replaced by Coupé GT. Nearly 170,000 Coupés were built under this platform.
3rd Generation: B3 platform (1986-1992)
The Audi 80 models in the B3 platform were built with zinc-coated galvanized bodywork and aerodynamic body style. They had the internal production codes of Typ 89 for models built in 1987-1989 and Typ 8A for models built from 1990-1992. The Typ 8A production line was a pitch against upmarket rivals BMW and Mercedez-Benz.
The Audi 80 had by this time cut clean from the Volkswagen Passat with the new B3 platform, but which retained the longitudinal front-wheel drive layout in the Typ 89 models. The cars produced for the European market were made available for a wide range of inline 4-cyl engine options, both petrol and diesel. The following were the range of inline 4-cylinder engines available for Audi 80:
- Audi 80 – 1.6L carburetor petrol engine; rated at 75 PS (55 kW)
- Audi 80 – 1.8L carburetor petrol engine; rated at 75 PS (55 kW)
- Audi 80 1.8S – 1.8L carburetor petrol engine; rated at 88 PS (65 kW)
- Audi 80 1.8S – 1.8L carburetor petrol engine; rated at 90 PS (66 kW)
- Audi 80 1.8S – 1.8L fuel-injection petrol engine; rated at 90 PS (66 kW)
- Audi 80 1.8E – 1.8L fuel-injection petrol engine; rated at 112 PS (82 kW)
- Audi 80 1.9E – 1.9L fuel-injection petrol engine; rated at 113 PS (83 kW)
- Audi 80 2.0E – 2.0L fuel-injection petrol engine; rated at 112 PS (82 kW)
- Audi 80 2.0E – 2.0L fuel-injection petrol engine; rated at 113 PS (83 kW)
- Audi 80 16V – 2.0L fuel-injection petrol engine; rated at 137 PS (101 kW)
- Audi 80 Diesel – 1.6L diesel engine; rated at 54 PS (40 kW)
- Audi 80 Diesel – 1.9L diesel engine; rated at 68 PS (50 kW)
- Audi 80 Turbodiesel – 1.6L TD engine; rated at 80 PS (59 kW)
- Audi 80 Turbodiesel – 1.6L TD engine; rated at 80 PS (59 kW)
For the upscale market, Audi 90 was again introduced in 1987 as the high-end version of the Audi 80. It was available for a range of 10-valve inline 5-cyl petrol engine choices, with or without quattro. For the visual aspect, the Audi 90 featured high-beam lights, a distinct front grille, velour-fabric upholstery, leather steering wheel, boot spoiler, and other well-appointed details. The following range of 5-cylinder engines was available for Audi 90:
- Audi 90 2.0E – 1.9L; rated at 115 PS (85 kW)
- Audi 90 2.2E – 2.2L; rated at 136 PS (100 kW)
- Audi 90 2.3E – 2.3L; rated at 134 PS (99 kW)
- Audi 90 2.3E 20V - 2.3L; rated at 170 PS (125 kW)
4th Generation: B4 platform (1991-1996)
The last generation of Audi 80 ran for five years, overlapping with B3 production for the period 1991-1992. The revisions made in 1991 for the third-generation Audi 80 were actually internally coded as Type 8C under the B4 platform; thus, the overlap.
The final generation of Audi 80 before it was replaced by Audi 4 included variants in four body styles. They were available in a wide selection of engines, and in front-engine front-wheel or quattro permanent four-wheel drive options.
Audi 80 Sedan/Saloon
Over 900,000 units of B4 Audi 80 saloon were produced in this generation. The new model was available only in the 4-door variant, which was upgraded with longer wheelbase, 15-inch wheels that also required bigger wheel arches, modified fuel tank and rear axle to accommodate foldable seats, more spacious storage, and a more luxurious interior. The exterior displayed a redesigned grille and bonnet.
In the American market, these units were sold as Audi 90 because of its more expensive features. In the European market, on the other hand, all models were sold as Audi 80. In 1994, the production of Audi 80 sedan/saloon was discontinued.
Audi 80 Avant
The 2-door station wagon reappeared as the B4-based Audi 80 Avant, but it was not officially available. Only the left-hand model was produced, which was released only to the European market but not in UK. It was fitted with the standard Audi 80 features, with some innovative options available. Production was discontinued in 1995.
In North America, only the 2-door Audi Coupés were sold for the model years 1990-1991. Within the period 1991-1996, however, the sports version of the B3-based Coupé (the Audi S2) was produced. It was a derivative of the Audi Quattro. It later became the basis of the B4-based 2.2L turbocharged Audi RS2 Avant produced from 1994-1996.
The production of the B4-based Audi Coupé was stopped in 1996.
For the first time, Audi had a convertible variant, and it was called Audi Cabriolet. This 2-door Audi 80 had a soft top and was initially available with 2.8L V6 engine. Later, it became available in 2.6L V6. It had the body and sporty look of the Coupé, with a bar-reinforced soft screen as the convertible roof. The production of the convertible extended past the other variants and was only discontinued in 2001.
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By Patrick Lumontod