Although the vehicle was based on VW/Audi's existing C3 platform (namely the 100/200 sedan), the V8 model featured standard quattro permanent four-wheel drive, and a 32 valve, DOHC V8 engine, with either a five-speed manual, six-speed manual, or four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, giving it the power and road-holding ability to match the V8 powered offerings from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The V8 closely resembled the 100 and 200 models, although a unique grille design and bumpers, extended wheelbase, pronounced wheel arches, all red rear lights and larger 16" or 17" wheels helped distinguish it. Much attention was lavished on the vehicle's new engine, although the V8 was also significant in that it was the first production Audi to combine the quattro system with an automatic transmission.
The 3.6L (3562cc) powerplant was essentially two four-cylinder engines which had been mated at the crankshaft to form a V8. In this case it was the acclaimed Volkswagen Golf GTI's 1.8L, twin cam, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder that provided the inputs. Power output was very respectable for the day, with 250PS (184kW/247hp) and 340N·m (251ft·lbf) of torque available over a fairly wide powerband. The top speed was 250 km/h and 0-100 took 7.6 secs with the automatic.