Audi V8 Model Overview
Audi V8 Cars
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Audi V8 Overview
Debuting in 1988, the Audi V8 was Audi's first entry into the luxury high-end full-size sedan market. Perhaps out of laziness or simply just for practical identifiability, Audi chose to name its sedan after the engine that sat under the hood, a 3.6-liter 250-hp V8. At least you knew what you were getting going into the dealership.
The V8 engine was a twin-cam 32-valve -- a pairing of two Golf 1.8-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engines. Initially only paired with a 4-mode automatic transmission, the V8 was Audi's first quattro automobile to be paired with an auto tran. The quattro technology distributed traction according to which wheels needed it the most in a given situation. The four mode transmission was meant to tailor performance to driver desire. You could set it to economy mode (E), sport mode (S), or manual mode (M). The V8 was built on an Audi 100 platform, but its longer wheelbase increased interior legroom and comfort. On the outside, it was hard to distinguish it from the 100, aside from its grill and large wheel wells. Some owners wish it had a bit more flash.
Unfortunately, the first V8s suffered from the weight of all the interior standard features and the quattro technology, so it never quite lived up to its high-performance branding. A competitive version was developed in 1990 and won the German Touring Championship Race. Receiving a new engine in the '90s, a 4.2-liter, 276-hp DOHC V8 and an optional 5-speed manual that was offered for only a couple of years, the V8 took advantage of its newfound engine power. Though still slow off the line, it performed best on the open highway, proving to be a speedy sports tourer with crisp handling and cornering. Owners felt it was fun to drive, while still being luxurious, comfortable, and practical on the inside with its seating for five and such treats as heated leather seats and a power sunroof.
The V8 was rated well by owners in terms of its driving performance, comfort, and durability. The biggest complaints mirror those of all Audis: expensive parts and unhelpful dealers. As Audi's upscale sedan offering, it paved the way for the A8 which - in the US - would be introduced three years after the V8's demise in 1994.