Back To The 80s: Audi 100

Fri 31st May 2019

When we think of the classic eras of motoring we might cast our mind back to stylish cars of the 1950s, the muscle cars of the 1960s or the super cars of the 1970s. What might not spring to mind however is the motors which were produced in the 1980s - an era which certainly favoured practicality over power, style and sophistication.

But the cars of today owe much to 80s, it was decade which brought us turbochargers, multi-valve engines and hot hatchbacks, an era of the people-carrier and the rise of the SUV. Digital displays and electronic gadgetry, were the norm as designers pushed the boundaries of of what was capable in a production vehicle.

So let's celebrate the 80s, a period of huge change across Britain as a whole, and one which had incredible landmarks in the motor industry.

Audi 100
The Audi Company that along with BMW and Mercedes is considered one of Europe's 'big three' luxury car manufacturers owes much to the critical and public reaction to the 100, a vehicle, which with it's two previous generations had failed to turn many heads.

The 100 C3, which was launched at the Paris Motor Show in September 1982 certainly did the trick and in upstaging both the home favourite, the Citreon BX and another 80s classic, the Ford Sierra, Audi entered a new era of dominance.

The 100's unique selling point was its aerodynamic performance, which owed much to the determination of Audi's chief engineer, Ferdinand Piech, who pulled off a smooth drag co-efficient of 0.30, which at the time was the lowest of any production vehicle in the world, making rivals such as the Sierra seem like a tank.

This low drag more than made up for the 100's modest engine-power, which was admittedly rather weedy for a car pitched at executive and business customers. But whilst the 100 looked the part, and was a big vehicle, that famed 0.30 made it an economical dream. The Audi included the world's first use of flush-fitting side windows and Piech paid close attention to where the air was was sucked around the engine and underneath the car for optimum flow.

The company was so proud of their 0.30 drag, that they even badged the base models with 'Cd 0.30' to celebrate the fact. But this wasn't just a swift mover, it also innovated for lightness with a jack made from alumnium, rather than steel and broke new ground three years after launch when it came with a fully galvanised body shell, which allowed the German manufactuer to confidently launch a comprehensive anti-perforation warranty.

The 100 certainly launched Audi into a new stratosphere of luxury car making, and this was matched by their marketing, which was the first time we heard that brilliant catchphrase 'Vorsprung durch technik' - a masterclass in every sense of the word.

Manufacturer: Audi
Assembly: Neckarsulm, Germany
Designer: Ferdinand Piech
Place In History: September 1982 was a month in which Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards saw his mansion burn down, while Chris Evert won her sixth and final US Open tennis title.