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Audi 80 1994 Review

The Audi 80 2.6E quattro could be a sports-luxury car with its free-revving engine and racetrack heritage.

Audi is on the right track to boost sales in Australia with the 80 range which is topped at just under $60,000 by the 2.6E quattro.  The money for the quattro version buys you a satisfying blend of performance, safety and luxury which has no real direct competitor at anything like the same price.

In fact, the Audi 80 2.6E quattro could be classified as a sports-luxury car because of its free-revving engine and the racetrack heritage of its quattro four-wheel drive.  While these attributes are aimed at the person who likes driving, the safety and luxury aspects are at the top of the luxury class.

The car's safety package, in addition to the sure-footed quattro system, includes a driver's airbag and anti-lock brakes.  Standard equipment is impressive, s expected at this level, offering almost everything you will demand at this price - except leather trim and cruise control.

Comfort and convenience items include air-conditioning, central locking, foglights, metallic paint and powered doors, windows and external mirrors.


The 2.6-litre V6 has been introduced to the Australian market in place of Audi's 2.3-litre five-cylinder engine.  It is based on the 2.8-litre V6 also sold here, but the engine's capacity has been trimmed almost 200cc by shortening the stroke and maintaining the 10:1 compression ratio.

Weight and cost have been saved by using a constant length inlet manifold rather than the 2.8's multi-path manifold.  Power output from the 2.6E is 10 per cent greater than the five-cylinder engine, and just 18kW short of the 2.8.  This puts the 80 2.6E quattro at the top of competitive four, five and six cylinder cars.

Audi's new engine offers strong mid-range torque and free revving to almost 7000rpm in contrast to the five-cylinder's stronger bottom-end torque. A sprint to 100kmh takes a little over nine seconds. Top speed, where permitted, is 212kmh.

Driving pleasure

For my money, I'd rather have the 2.6E with the security of quattro than the front-drive 2.8E at the same price.  The quattro system gives you a feeling of great confidence in all weather - especially when the roads are wet and greasy.

Fitted with a Torsen differential and fully independent suspension, the 2.6E quattro provides incredible traction and adhesion.  Suspension t-up has largely eliminated nydive and pitch, allowing the 80 2.6E to be driven hard without unsettling the car.

Gearshift throw and clutch action are good, but the space between the transmission tunnel and clutch pedal is not wide enough to slip a broad foot through to the footrest.  Audi's steering has been criticised in the past, but the feel of the 80 2.6E could not be described as vague or rubbery. The car has great brakes.

In summary, the Audi 2.6E quattro offers a better engine package than the 2.8 or 2.3 plus the unrivalled certainty of four-wheel drive.

The competition

Strictly speaking, the Audi 80 2.6E quattro really has no competitors in this segment of the market if you are looking for V6 power and four-wheel drive.  However, there are several European cars that compete on price.  The Audi 80 2.8E ($59,990) costs the same as the 2.6E quattro, but a bigger engine drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission.

The Volvo 850 GLE/SE ($57,950) comes with a 10-valve 2.4-litre five-cylinder engine producing 103kW. This is a Volvo you can enjoy driving, but the GLE/SE is auto only.  Standard equipment includes an airbag, anti-lock brakes, climate control, alloy wheels, a six-speaker sound system, and power locks, mirrors and windows.

The BMW 320i ($56,100) has a 24-valve 2.0-litre six-cylinder engine with the same power output as the 2.6E. Apart from four-wheel drive, the BMW's equipment levels fall short of the Audi's in relatively minor areas, but is an control, foglights and metallic paint. equally satisfying car to drive.

The Saab 9000CD ($44,990) has virtually all the features in the Audi plus extras. lloy wheels, CD player, leather upholstery and a power sunroof. Power output from the 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine is identical to Audi's 2.6-litre V6, completing a great value package. It doesn't have foglights or four-wheel drive, but it has a $15,000 price advantage.

The Mercedes-Benz 2.0 190E ($72,320) is always on the shopping list if you want a European car. The 90kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine offers the lowest power output of this group.

Audi 80 2.6E quattro

Engine: 2.6-litre single overhead-cam V6 petrol engine with electronic multipoint fuel injection. Manual transmission only.
Related to the 2.8 V6, but with a shorter stroke. Remains a smooth and quiet engine despite the capacity being reduced by almost 200cc.
Power: 110kW/5750rpm. TORQUE: 225Nm/3500rpm.  Power is up against the superseded 2.3-litre five-cylinder engine and just 18kW short of the 2.8 unit.
Fuel consumption: 11.2 litres/100km average on test.  Fuel economy will vary depending on whether you drive it like a luxury car or sports sedan.
Suspension: Independent. Front - McPherson struts; rear - double wishbones. Torsen differential.  Well-balanced set-up plus the sure-footedness of quattro four-wheel drive.
Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion.
Brakes: Discs, ventilated at front. anti-lock brakes.  a1< Good stopping power and the anti-lock brakes work well in a variety of conditions.
Wheels: 7x15-inch alloy. TYRES: 205/60 radials.
Price: $59,990. The 2.6-litre engine is also available in front-drive versions of the 80 series from about $46,000.  A full list of features makes this price good value.

Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
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Highest Price

Range and Specs

2.0E 2.0L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,800 – 6,160 1994 Audi 80 1994 2.0E Pricing and Specs
2.6E 2.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,700 – 6,050 1994 Audi 80 1994 2.6E Pricing and Specs
2.6E Quattro 2.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $4,300 – 6,930 1994 Audi 80 1994 2.6E Quattro Pricing and Specs
2.8E 2.8L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,500 – 7,260 1994 Audi 80 1994 2.8E Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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