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Audi 90CD and 90 quattro (1984 - 1987)

Last updated 18 December 2014

 
4
Warbling five-cylinder engine in the compact B2 body makes an appealing sports saloon, quattro transmission makes it unstickable
Parts availability, sheer rarity, more cramped inside than it looks, front-wheel drive models not available with more powerful 136bhp engine

Introduction

Five-cylinder Audi 80s had actually appeared at the end of 1980 with the arrival of the carburetted CD 5S model. It looked like a miniature Audi 200, and proved to be moderately successful. So when Audi introduced the facelifted 80 for 1984, it made the clever move of renaming the five-pots the new 90, and charging even more of a premium for them. Visually the big differences were the adoption of Coupe bumpers, spoilers and wheels, as well as its more complex dashboard surround.

The 90 and 90 quattro were effortlessly quick and capable, well screwed together and had great handling, but lacked that vital spark that would have earmarked them as truly special. But they proved that the Ingolstadt company could be successful selling its cars at a premium, something BMW had been doing for some time. In its European markets, the 90 name didn’t make it beyond the B4 generation, but its spirit lived on in the plush V6-engined 80s that replaced it.

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