In the October 1989 issue of Car & Driver, there is a review of the new Audi V8. After the unintended acceleration debacle of the 1980s, I thought Audi was out of the U.S. market in the 1990s. Like Robert Downey, Jr. with his drug addiction, I thought it was game over.
I vaguely knew about the existence of this car. Here are some highlights from the article:
- At 240 horsepower, just 5 short of base Corvette
- But because of weight, 0 to 60 was achieved in 9.3 seconds
- First luxury sedan with all-wheel drive
- "Astonishing" stability at limits on race track
- Entire engine in front of front axle meant understeer
- Same ZF 4-speed automatic as that in BMW 735i
- 3 transmission settings: Sport, Manual, Efficient (not "Economy" because that sounds cheap)
- Poor ergonomics
- Steering wheel on car tested was offset to the right and canted to the left ("unpardonable in a $48,500 car")
- Assembled in Germany and Japan(!)
- Won DTM back-to-back in 1990 and 1991
- Piech's wife had a one-off wagon version of the car
I really feel like this was the inspiration for the Phaeton. Understated luxury.
Here are two videos. The first one is in Dutch with English subtitles. It's a modern review of the V8 and the long wheel based V8. The second one is in German (I think), but you don't have to understand a word to appreciate it. Paul Frere, in his classy suit, puts the V8 through some grueling tests.