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Audi Reviews

Audi's history is a convoluted one, but in essence, what goes by that name now is an amagamation of several historic marques - each with their own fascinating stories. August Horch chose Audi as a name for his 1909 company because ‘Horch’ in German means ‘hark’, which equates to ‘Audi’ in Latin.

Audi became best-known for its luxurious and sporting big-engined cars, joining with the Wanderer, DKW and Horch firms to form Auto Union in 1932. The four marques formed the rings that makes the company's logo to this day. It was largely dormant after the war because its factories were in East Germany, Auto Union was bought by Volkswagen in 1964 and relaunched the Audi brand, building updated DKW front-wheel drive cars.

The marque really moved forward in the late 1970s and early '80s with launch of the five-cylinder engine, the four-wheel drive quattro, and turbocharged 200 and highly aerodynamic cars like the 100 and 80/90.

Good: Advanced specification for its era
Bad: Boring, especially without the two-stroke that DKW originally fitted to it
Good: Thoroughly well engineered saloon, tough, reliable and good to drive
Bad: A bit dull, not exactly rust-resistant
Good: Looks like a Fiat Dino or Aston Martin DBS, and is built like an Audi
Bad: A fairly ordinary drive, rust killed a lot of these
Good: Economical and efficient saloon that makes the most of its engines
Bad: Rust and a near-unobtainability of some parts
Good: Like its predecessor a very efficient car, some character injected with the arrival of the five-cylinder engine in 1977
Bad: Not exactly exciting in entry-level trim, and on the endangered list in the UK
Good: Golf GTI-engined 80 Sport is good fun, cooking versions are light, efficient and economical, large boot, well-made and reliable
Bad: Parts availability is dreadful, off-set pedals
Good: Well appointed interior, far more character than the Audi 100 it was based on, turbo performance is very impressive
Bad: Try finding parts for it
Good: Rapid performance, four-wheel drive grip, 1980s icon status, chunky good looks, five-cylinder soundtrack, room for four
Bad: Brittle interior, drivetrain components fearsomely expensive, many parts now no longer available, left-hand drive only.
Good: Solid and efficient coupe that's surprisingly roomy
Bad: Doesn't feel sporty, even in five-cylinder quattro form
Good: Five-cylinder 80CD makes a great noise; earlier 2.2-litre quattro version a genuine sports saloon phenomenon, the later four-cylinder car surprisingly economical
Bad: Parts availability is dreadful, driving position spoiled by offset steering wheel, pre-facelift car's dashboard plasticky
Good: Offers as much refinement as a modern car, rides well at high speed, excellent fuel consumption in all forms
Bad: They look amazing when polished but when they're down at heel there's still a whiff of banger
Good: Improved interior (from 1985), right-hand drive. the option of anti-lock brakes
Bad: Digital dashboard (from 1985) might be a little off-putting
Good: Fast, refined and effortless over long distances
Bad: Still looks too modern for most people to consider these cars as classics
Good: Warbling five-cylinder engine in the compact B2 body makes an appealing sports saloon, quattro transmission makes it unstickable
Bad: Parts availability, sheer rarity, more cramped inside than it looks, front-wheel drive models not available with more powerful 136bhp engine
Good: A much more focused quattro with more performance and much improved handling
Bad: Rare and exceedingly expensive to buy, and repair costs are astronomical
Good: Quiet and well-made, galvanised body, a hushed cruiser
Bad: Non-assisted steering is gruesome, 1.6- and 1.8-litre cars are gutless, five-cylinder has disappointing handling
Good: Smooth, effortless, characterful five-cylinder, 20-valve just adds to the appeal
Bad: Only the Sport model drove as well as it looks
Good: Like a quattro, but faster and more responsive
Bad: You'll pay for the privilege
Good: Big, unusual, quick and grippy
Bad: Lack of image, generic styling, not as reliable as what followed
Good: Thrilling five-cylinder turbo performance, effectively a more refined quattro 20V, available at reasonable prices
Bad: Some parts are hideously expensive and hard to get hold of, lacks the kudos of the original quattro
Good: Wide choice of models, solidly screwed together, galvanised bodywork resists rust well
Bad: Lacklustre handling, problems with TDI models, auto gearboxes and suspension, front tyres can wear quickly, lacking any form of classic appeal aside from S4/S6
Good: Nice-looking, classy well-built open-top car with a wide choice of engines and rust-proof bodywork
Bad: Stodgy handling, rear bench only good for two midgets, tight for headroom with top up, plastic rear window becomes opaque
Good: Bodywork unlikely to rust, some very good engines, such as strong 2.0-litre 16-valve, smooth 2.6-litre V6 and frugal TDI turbo diesel.
Bad: Some problems with catalytic converters, TDI engines can wear out after 150,000 miles, rear brake discs can rust, still viewed as a 'modern' car
Good: The ultimate five-cylinder five-door Audi, and the car that defined its sporting DNA for years to come, brilliantly fast, musical engine, superb handling
Bad: Almost perfect - apart from the slightly numb steering
Good: Design icon with sure-footed handling.
Bad: Not Audi's best-built car.
Good: Stylish looker with strong engines, mostly good build quality and tidy handling.
Bad: Some problems with engines, suspension and catalytic converters. Only average crash test rating.
Good: Roomy, safe and luxurious. The 4.2 V8 model is rapid. All versions are bursting with quality.
Bad: Lightweight body is prone to dents and expensive to repair. Ride quality isn't the most cosseting.
Good: Economical engines, very comfortable seats, decent ride, grippy handling and good crash safety rating.
Bad: Bodywork is expensive repair. Access to the rear seats is awkward. The 1.4 can struggle when fully laden.
Good: Strong on image and build quality. Good crash test rating. Tidy handling.
Bad: Pricey to buy compared with its rivals. Limited space in the rear.
Good: Better than previous A4 in virtually every respect. Classy looks, plenty of kit, roomy cabin and a good crash safety rating.
Bad: Not cheap to fix if something goes wrong. Multitronic transmission can give trouble.

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