Audi’s emergence from the remains of NSU and DKW in the late sixties happened very quickly, and by 1972, when the German car maker released the Audi 80, they were starting to look like a valid alternative to their long established rivals.
The Audi 80 was an excellent example of where the company were ‘at’ during this period. With its platform, built to be shared with the VW Passat, the 80 showed off compact Bertone/Luthe styles, front wheel drive, an uncomplicated beam axle, lightweight construction and excellent EA827 engines. The result was a fine looking, and superb performing saloon.
Front wheel drive wasn’t exactly a novelty for a company that had sprung from the DKW stable, but the engine that powered the Audi 80 was something that hadn’t been seen before. It would remain in use long into the 21st century. The Audi 80 was lightweight, efficient and always performed well regardless of what engine it was fitted with. Volkswagen – who owned Audi – benefited massively from Audi, by badge-engineering the 80 to become the 1973 Passat. The 80’s biggest and most significant contribution however, was the 1.6-litre GTE edition, which prompted VW to design the Golf GTi.
Audi 80 by numbers:
- Number built : 1,103,766
- Number currently for sale : 24
- Current MOT pass rate : 48.5%
- Number left : 5,015