Audi 80, 90 and quattro (1986 – 1991) Review

Audi 80, 90 and quattro (1986 – 1991) At A Glance


+Quiet and well-made, galvanised body, a hushed cruiser

-Non-assisted steering is gruesome, 1.6- and 1.8-litre cars are gutless, five-cylinder has disappointing handling

The 1986 Audi 80 and its five-cylinder off-shoot, the 90, were a very big leap forward. They were given premium prices, their interiors were exquisitely made, and their styling and detailing oozed quality. Aerodynamics were the big thing at Audi from the mid-'80s, and it shows in the design of this car.

However, smooth styling might have oozed sophistication, but it also lacked character. Premium prices of all models – especially the 90 – were over-ambitious, especially considering the under-nourished suspension and oddly shaped boot. But Audi developed the 80 and 90 throughout their lives, with Quattro and Sport models adding appeal. Still in the doldrums, ironically because it looks so modern, the 80 will surely become desirable as supply thins.

Ask Honest John

I have a 1989 Audi 80 Quattro sat in a barn - what's the best way to start restoring it?

"I've owned a 1989 Audi 80 Quattro 2.3 for a good number of years now and it has been confined to a barn, which is a great shame. I'm looking for some advice on to the best way to restore this beauty back to its former glory? The motor is doing fine but the body, gears and piping will all need an overhaul. Any tips for the best way to go about this, i.e. should I buy another car for parts to use on mine?"
The sad truth is that restoring a car rarely makes financial sense. There are exceptions, of course. You could get lucky and spot 'the next big thing' in terms of classic investment. You could have deep pockets and money might not be a concern. Or you might work in the trade, be handy with a set of spanners, have a mate who can paint. You could even teach yourself these skills as you go - after all your, time is free but you'll need to buy tools etc. With this generation of classics, a rolling restoration is often the best way to go. You can keep the car going and on the road (and most importantly enjoy) while attending to the most important jobs first. If you're thinking about restoring the running gear, then you probably should consider rebuilding the engine - it'll be out and easy to get to. I'm not sure that buying a donor car is the best way to go - after all, you'll just inherit a new set of problem. So decide what you want at the end of all this - are you looking for an investment to sell or something to enjoy? Once you know where you want to be, make a plan of how to get there and budget accordingly.
Answered by Keith Moody
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