The cars we loved.

1980-1987 Audi 4000S/CS

1984 Audi 400S

1984 Audi 4000S (European version)

The Audi 4000 was a sporty fwd compact car introduced in 1980 as a replacement for the Audi Fox. Up until this time many Audi products were mechanically indistinguishable from Volkswagens, and often appeared similar in markets outside of the US. The 4000 was no different as it initially came with the same  1.6L 4 cylinder used in Rabbits and Quantums. The following year the engine was enlarged to a 1.7L and was now a 5 cylinder. A 5 speed manual transmission became standard in addition to the optional 4 speed automatic. throughout its early development, the 4000 was available in a confusing array of sedans and coupes (some called different names, but most still called 4000).


82 Audi 4000 2 Door Sedan

82 Audi 4000 2 Door Sedan

The most confusing is Audi’s use of the term coupe. There were two coupes actually, a two door sedan with the upright proportions of a proper sedan, but with two doors and a fastback 2 door called the Quattro. Interestingly, VW had a version of the 2 door sedan called the Fox (a former Audi name, but still using old Audi mechanicals). The 4 door sedan was a little more clear-cut with a standard VW like 3 box design. The 2 door sedans were rare in the US, with the Quarttro being more common (but still rare). The sedan was the most popular version and arguably the best looking.

Audi sales had been steadily improving as it established itself as a maker of premium German cars. This was a time before Lexus and Acura, so Audi, BMW , Volvo etc. were seen as aspirational luxury brands in America. By 1982, a S model was added and it became a 4 cylinder again. The S designation was more to denote standard features vs. performance, but later became associated with sportiness. The 4000 seem to alternate between 4 and 5 cylinder engines and grew to 1.8L by 1985. 1985 was also the year of major changes in the engine and exterior of the 4000. The S received all wheel drive and was renamed 4000CS quattro. Quattro was Audi’s typical designation for cars fitted with all-wheel drive.

The 4000 became Audi’s most popular model in America. It’s compact size, maneuverability and all season performance made it popular with the automotive press and buyers alike. Other than a few Subarus and AMC floating around, there were few all-wheel drive sport sedans sold in America. The Audi 4000CS quattro firmly established itself as a leader in a still emerging market segment. The 4000 was replaced with the slightly larger 80/90 series in 1988. Eventually Audi would lose some of its defining grip on the near luxury market as the Japanese redefined the segment during the 90s.
1987 Audi 4000CS

1987 Audi 4000CS


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This entry was posted on November 5, 2009 by in 80's Cars, Audi.
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