The History Of AUDI V8
The Audi V8 is a large luxury saloon/ sedan built by Audi AG of Germany from 1988 to 1994 as the company's range-topping model, and was the first Audi to use its namesake engine configuration.
It was replaced by the Audi A8 in 1994, though the A8 would not be sold in North America until the 1997 model year.
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.
Audi introduced a long wheelbase version in 1990 and in 1992 a 4.2L (4172cc) powerplant with 280PS (206kW/ 276hp) and 400N·m (295ft·lbf) was introduced. Like the 3.6L model, quattro four-wheel drive came as standard. A six-speed manual gearbox replaced the 5-speed manual of the 3.6 model. The top speed was 250 km/ h and 0-100 now took only 7.2 with the automatic and 6.7 with the manual transmission.
The V8 was never a huge sales success despite the obvious qualities of the car. The Audi V8 came out at about the same time as the Lexus LS400, and in many respects, the V8 was a superior product both to the Lexus, and competitors such as the S-class Mercedes, the 7-series BMW, and the Jaguar XJ-series. However, despite being a technological marvel as the only car in its class to offer four-wheel drive and a galvanised body, with its clean but understated design, most consumers thought the car resembled the lesser Audi models too much to warrant the price. The V8 came standard with a full set of usually optional features as standard; including Bose audio system with 8 speakers, walnut wood trim, leather interior, front and rear heated the seats, and a built in car phone. The only options available were pearlescent or metallic paint. Some available colors included pearl white, lago blue (teal), blue mica, and black, amongst others.
If nothing else, the place of the V8 in the history of Audi was to make life easier for the successor, the Audi A8 in that customers were now viewing Audi as a proper manufacturer of prestigious luxury cars providing a credible alternative to the established competitors. Today, the V8 has a cult following in many countries, and many examples are in the hands of enthusiasts who appreciate the quality and performance offered by what has turned out to be a durable well-built car.
The car's base price in 1994, its final year of production, was US$58,700. Today, the V8 trades for values between $2000 - $10,000 dependent on condition of the car.
Audi developed a Group A competition version of the V8 for entry into the DTM (German Touring car Championship), and began racing with it in 1990 with Schmidt Motorsport running the operation, and Hans-Joachim Stuck, Walter Röhrl and Frank Jelinski driving. Stuck won the title, and the following year, Audi added a second team to the mix, Audi Zentrum Reutlingen. SMS continued with Stuck and Jelinski, while AZR raced with Frank Biela and Hubert Haupt. Biela gave Audi another crown in 1991, but was unable to defend the title in 1992. After that season, the DTM organizers deemed the V8's crankshaft illegal, and Audi retired from the championship.
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