1989 Audi V8L quattro

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1989 Audi V8L quattro

The Audi V8 was a large luxury 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 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 all-wheel drive and a 32 valve, DOHC V8 engine with either a five-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 grill design, extended wheelbase, pronounced wheel arches and larger 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 3.6 L (3562 cc) powerplant was essentially two four-cylinder engines which had been mated at the crankshaft to form a V8. In this case it was the Volkswagen Golf GTI’s 1.8 L, twin cam, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder that provided the starting point. Power output was very strong for the day, with 250 PS (184 kW/247 hp) and 340 N·m (251 ft·lbf) of torque available over a fairly wide powerband.

Audi introduced a long wheelbase version in 1990 and in 1991 made a 4.2 L (4172 cc) powerplant with 280 PS (206 kW/276 hp) and 400 N·m (295 ft·lbf) available. Like the base model, it had standard quattro and an optional automatic transmission, but a six-speed manual gearbox replaced the 5-speed of the 3.6 model.

The car’s base price in 1994, its final year of production, was US$58,700.


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 Rohrl 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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