The Audi 80 was produced by the venerable German automaker from the years 1966 to 1994. A compact executive car, the Audi 80 had the same platform as the Volkswagen Passat from 1973 to 1986, as Audi is a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. In addition, the 80 was made available around the world as either a sedan or a wagon. Coupé and convertible models were also available, but they were branded as a different range of cars and therefore not considered Audi 80s, despite the fact that they shared the same platform and had many parts in common. Manufactured in Germany, the car features European luxury, styling, and performance, and it continues to sell well on the used car market.
Over several decades, the 80 came with many changes, models, and generations. The first 80 was a part of the Audi F103 series, and, along with the 60, 72, 75, and 90 models, was named after its horsepower rating. That car was produced beginning in 1966. Then, in 1972, the B1 Audi 80 debuted. Here and in the United States, that second-generation 80 was known as the Audi Fox. This model took the place of the discontinued F103 series, however, the Audi 80 maintained its power-inspired name, despite updates to its powertrain. These 80s featured a MacPherson strut suspension and went on to win the 1973 European Car of the Year Competition for their unique blend of styling, safety, and performance.
In 1978, Audi released the third version of the 80, named the B2. This car came to the market in Australia in October of 1981. When the press began clamouring for a 5-cylinder engine, Audi obliged, producing a 5+5 version as a sort of ‘Australian special.’ That car was the precursor to the Audi 90. A B3 and a B4 rounded out the final generations of the Audi 80, and the car was phased out of production in 1994, to be replaced by the Audi A4, which is still on offer today.
Throughout its production run, the Audi was praised for its seamless blend of safety and luxury. Numerous safety features made the Audi 80 a popular family car, while great standard kit made the 80 appealing to those looking for luxury. Overall, the car feels solid and durable, featuring better manufacturing than some of its Japanese counterparts. The European heritage is also apparent in the stable handling and above-average road grip. Small enough to be easily maneuverer and parked, the Audi 80 is a great car for city driving. What’s more, plenty of 80s can be found on the used car market today in great condition, and at seriously low prices that belie their impressive quality.
Over several generations, the Audi 80 went through a series of changes and improvements to its powertrain. The first version available here, known as the Fox, featured a 1.5L engine with 41kW of power on a 4-speed manual transmission. As the Fox was developed, successive models came with a 1.6L engine with an output of 62kW.
A later generation of the Audi 80 (the B3, available from 1986 through 1991) came with a wide variety of engines under the bonnet. These included a base-option of 1.4L V4 with an output of 48kW and 110Nm of torque and a top-range model with a 2.0L engine with 101kW and 181Nm of torque. The final generation of the Audi 80 came equipped with either a 2.0L V4 with 85kW and 165Nm of torque or a more powerful 6-cylinder 2.6L option with 110kW of power and 225Nm of torque.
Options tend to vary widely across the various generations, but the Audi 80 always came equipped with luxury kit befitting its status as an executive car. Starting in 1986, 80s came standard with a zinc-galvanised body shell, the first mid-size car to do so. This zinc shell prevented corrosion, perforation, and rust, ensuring the 80s maintained their attractive appearance for years. In addition, this Audi was outfitted with a more aerodynamic body, meaning that older models and generations could appear boxy.
More recently, Audi 80s were sold with an impressive standard safety features including driver’s side airbag, anti-lock brakes, and seatbelt pretensioners. Inside, the most recent version of the 80s came standard with power steering, a 6-speaker sound system, power mirrors, fog lights, and air-conditioning.
The Audi 80 faced stiff competition from various other luxury European automakers. For example, the Audi competed with the similarly priced BMW 320i. Featuring a 24-valve, 2.0L 6-cylinder engine, the 320i had an output of 110kW (the same as the final generation Audi 80) and 190Nm of torque. Another competitor was the Volvo 850 GLE/SE, which had a 10-valve 2.4L V5 engine with an output of 103kW around the same time. Both can still be found on the used car market alongside the Audi 80.