History of the Audi 80

Written by james rutter
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German automaker Audi built its entry-level model 80 from 1966 to 1969 and then continuously from 1972 to 1996. The company first sold the 80 as a variant of its F103 line and then manufactured the 80 as a standalone model in four generations, each of which featured different body styles, wheelbases, engines and transmission options. Audi replaced this model in 1996 with the A4, which it continues to sell as of this writing.

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F103 Variant

Audi built a number of cars from 1965 to 1972 under its F103 series, including the Audi 80. The company first introduced the 80 L in 1966. Buyers could purchase the F103 80L as a front-wheel drive two-door coupe or four-door sedan. These models spanned 172.4 inches in length and had an 88-inch wheelbase. The 1966, 1967 and 1968 80 L drew power from a 1.7-litre in-line four-cylinder engine. This engine produced 79 horsepower and 89 foot-pounds of torque. Audi coupled this engine to a four-speed manual transmission.

First Generation

Audi produced the first, or B1 generation of the Audi 80 from 1972 to 1978. Buyers could purchase the B1 80 as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan or five-door hatchback "Estate" wagon. Trim levels offered during this generation included the L, S, GL, GT, GTE, GLS and LS. These B1 models drew power from one of three engines: a 1.3-litre, 1.5-litre or 1.6-litre in-line four-cylinder engine, which produced from 55 to 110 horsepower. In 1975, Audi slightly redesigned the B1 models, and offered the GTE trim for the first time. This trim level featured the first fuel-injected engine offered in the Audi 80, a 1.6-litre in-line four-cylinder that generated 110 horsepower. Audi sold the 1972 GL trim levels with a choice of transmissions, a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic. The B1 had a 97.2-inch wheelbase.

Second Generation

The second or B2 generation sold from 1978 to 1986. Audi offered this generation as a two-door coupe, two-door hatchback coupe or four-door sedan. Notable changes in this generation included the introduction of a turbo diesel engine, a five-cylinder engine and the availability of Audi's Quattro four-wheel drive system for the 80. In 1978, the 80 drew power from a 1.3 or 1.6-litre in-line four-cylinder engine that produced 59 and 74 horsepower, respectively. Later engines included a 1.6-litre turbo diesel, 1.8-litre four-cylinder, and a 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre five-cylinder engine. Audi introduced styling changes in 1984. The turbo diesel produced 69 horsepower, while the five-cylinder engines generated Transmission choices offered during the B2 generation included a four-speed manual, three-speed automatic and a five-speed manual after 1984. These cars had a 100-inch wheelbase.

Third Generation

The third or B3 generation of the Audi 80 sold from 1986 to 1991. This generation moved away from the boxy appearance of the B2 and took on a more aerodynamic look. Buyers could purchase the B3 generation as a two-door hatchback coupe or four-door sedan. Audi stopped installing five-cylinder engines in the 80 for this generation while offering a range of engine displacement sizes for both gasoline and diesel fuels. Engines included a 1.4, 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine, some of which featured fuel injection. Diesel engines included a 1.6 and 1.9-litre and a 1.6-litre turbo. Audi eliminated the four-speed automatic from this generation and sold the B3 80 with a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic. Output ranged from 64 horsepower for the 1.4-litre in-line four to 135 horsepower for Audi's 2.0-litre, 16-valve in-line four, while the turbo diesel generated 69 horsepower. The B3 retained a 100-inch wheelbase and buyers could continue to purchase some models of the 80 with the Quattro four-wheel drive.

Fourth Generation

Audi manufactured the fourth, or B4 generation 80 from 1991 to 1994. The company sold the B4 as a two-door coupe or convertible, four-door sedan or four-door hatchback "Avant" wagon. These models featured a longer wheelbase than the previous generation, which ranged from 100.6 inches for the coupes to 102.8 inches for the sedans. Audi brought the five-cylinder engine back to the B4 line-up by selling the 80 with a 2.3-litre in-line five-cylinder. The company also offered a choice of a 2.6-litre or 2.8-litre V-6 engine for the 80. Buyers could also purchase the B4 with a 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder or 1.9-litre in-line four-cylinder diesel engine. Transmission options included a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual.

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