1994 Audi 80 Avant 1.9 Tdi from UK and Ireland


Practical luxury barge with road presence


Persistent fault with the engine 'coughing' during heavy acceleration or high speed motorway cruising.

Electric windows failed (my fault - I tried to fix them!)

Handbrake ratchet broke after being sat on.

The accelerator pedal plate has come off, but the pedal is still usable.

Rear brake caliper seized (handbrake only) costing £100 to repair for MOT.

General Comments:

This is the first car I've owned and I've had it for just over a year. In this time it's been a mixed bag. It has been a great car overall, but it has a few niggles which prevent me from recommending that you rush out and buy one straight away.

The engine is great. It produces plenty of torque if not much power, and never feels like it's only got 90Bhp. It pulls well, giving traffic beating acceleration in 2nd gear, spinning the wheels in first if you get it wrong and helping the car be an accomplished motorway cruiser. It's a real sleeper on motorways. People in much newer cars see the tail of it disappearing as it accelerates from 70 to 95 Mph like it's on a steam launch rail! The engine is efficient and returns around 45 Mpg if you drive it like you've stolen it, and above 50Mpg on relaxed long distance drives. This allows you top drive 650 miles between refills. Not bad for a heavy car. My major complain about the engine is that there is a fault and under heavy acceleration or under load on the motorway (up hills) it sometimes 'coughs' and judders, preventing you from accelerating for a short period. I have spent around £200 having this fault investigated, but as no one could diagnose it and the car really isn't worth that much I've decided to live with it. It's not a worsening fault and it's not dangerous, but it can spoil an otherwise pleasant drive.

The gearbox and transmission is fine if unremarkable. There's a bit of slack in it as you'd expect after 120,000 miles, but it has always been reliable. The clutch is good with nice weighting and feel, but otherwise it does it's duty without invoking comment.

The brakes are a weak point. There is a lot of travel in the pedal and you have to really give it a stomp to get the car braking heavily. There's also little feel or feedback. It's the only time you feel the mass of the car. When they're biting they do work well however and the car comes to a halt in a surprisingly short distance. I have never managed to activate the ABS which suits me just fine.

The handling on this car is surprisingly good once you learn its characteristics. I have cheap tyres on it at the moment which don't due it justice as the road holding on damp roads is very poor. On dry roads however the grip is good and you can get a feel for the chassis. It is well balanced for a front wheel drive car. If you push it you can feel the front tyres beginning to scrub wide before they lose all traction and this gives you plenty of time to correct. I have only swung the back end of this car out once under extreme provocation on a closed road, and whilst it wasn't particularly fun, there was enough response to gather the car up without totally loosing control.

Overall it's not a 'sporty car' it's not quick enough and the wrong set of wheels are driven. Driven correctly it can be surprisingly agile and fast flowing roads are a revelation. Cruising long distance shows what this car is best at though. The ride quality is generally very good especially on new road surfaces. Potholes and rough concrete roads can upset the damping and lead to the sensation that the shocks have suddenly turned solid, but this is rare. I've been in new cars that have worse ride (2004 Vauxhall Astras for example).

The quality of the body and interior is very high, and the previous owner had a high quality stereo with a 6 disk CD changer and four more (discreet) speakers fitted which means it sounds great. There are no squeaks or rattles to mention and everything electrical still works. I love the design and quality of the interior. I think it looks better and is more ergonomic than many middle of the range modern cars. It is also very comfortable and the fabric seats still look new. The interior can get very hot on summer days though and the interior ventilation is poor. The fan has 4 settings which are silent, quiet, loud and really loud, unfortunately these don't correspond to more air being blown into the car! It's windows down on hot days. I like the looks of the car and the body is totally rust free. The estate (avant) version has dated much better than the saloon and still shares the basic styling cues with the new A4. The roof rails also help it look a it more streamlined.

In total this car cost me £5000 to buy (£3000) insure, fuel and maintain over the last year which I think is very reasonable at 50p a mile so far. I've had to change the cambelt at 120,000 miles, but this only cost £200 at an independant VW audi specialist. If it lasts another 2 years before it dies then I'll be very happy with it and think it has been a great, reliable and interesting car to own and drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2005

7th Sep 2005, 16:06

Nice to know that someone else is happy with there Audi 80 tdi Avant.

I purchased mine with 112k 18 months ago, it's now got 142k on it. Did have a slight problem with the waste gate on the turbo which stopped me going over 60mph, but some mechanics at Seat bypassed it for me and it works fine now.

I too found that budget tires on steel wheels (195/60 15) were a little on the slippery side, so I found myself some second hand Audi 80 alloys for £100 with 2 OK tires on them. So I treated the wheels to 2 new Avon ZV3's (205/55 15), put those on the front and the older OK ones on the back. then proptly went into a wet car park and lost the back end! Problem solved 2 more Avon ZV3, mmm much better. Grip feels endless, only then I created one more problem. Body Role! Looking at the shocks I found that they were a bit worn so I've just purchased some 30mm Eibach lowering springs, Koni adjustable shock absorbers and some posh bushes, (£700, ouch). there not on yet, but I'll try and let you know the outcome.

To End I did test an Audi A4 110tdi Avant the other day (p reg), it may have had full electrics and climate control etc. but it just hasn't got the character of the 80.

Enjoyed your article.

Regards C.

1994 Audi 80 B4 2.6 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


A great car, but mine was unreliable at best


Within 2 days of picking the car up from the dealer it started overheating, the dealer mechanic had connected the electric thermo-fans backwards resulting in hot air from the engine being blown through the radiator. This took 4 trips to the mechanic to fix.

At 99,000 km the heater core outlet failed dumping to coolant all over the road, leaving me stranded. I was told the heater core would cost AUD$1000+ to replace so I by-passed it leaving the car drivable, but with no heating.

The following day the fuel pump failed, leaving me stranded (twice in two days not happy).

At 102,000 Km I took the car to a auto trans specialist for a service after I noticed the gear changes were getting a bit 'sloppy'. I was told that they had found plastic and clutch material in the filter. The mechanic advised me to sell the car before the auto gearbox failed leaving me with a AUD$3500-5000 bill.

General Comments:

The car is beautiful to drive, the steering is responsive and there is plenty of power.

The interior is a delight, if you turn the stereo down the only sound you hear is the creaking of the leather seats.

There is a slight lack of interior room particularly if the driver is over 6 foot.

The only thing that spoilt the driving pleasure of this vehicle was wondering what was going to break next and how much it was going to cost to fix. I think I must have been unlucky and bought a poor example. Sorry if you ended up buying it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 27th April, 2004

6th Jun 2004, 06:58


I concure also. I have had Audi 80 2.6E for some 3.5 years. My also was very unreliable and EXPENSIVE to repair. I had all the same issues, plus timing belt jumping due to a siesed water pump ($1,500), Fuel pump ($500), Radiator Core - After I sold it! ($1200)

This is a good car - in GERMANY!

20th Aug 2004, 03:39

Funny, we have one as well, it has been most unreliable. We have had heater core, gearbox, brakes (which is still not fixed, because no one knows what is wrong with it), now we have an idle problem which is currently being fixed. Lucky for us we had mechanical insurance and they spent $11,000 on the car in the first 12 months, we have only had it 18 months. I wonder what is going to be next. It only has 80,000 km.

17th Oct 2004, 13:09

Hi there,

It is strange to read such thing about Audi. I think that mechanics are not informed enough about some special feature of this brand or they are superficial. the 2,6 litre Audi is very reliable. Mine is running since 3 years already without major problem (manual).

Only a thermostat and 3 relays went wrong, beside wearing out of brakes which is obviously normal. The tachometer shows 286.000km. I bought it with 189.000 km.

30th Apr 2007, 05:38

I'm stuck with a 2.6E also.

First the heater core went (not worth fixing) then the head gasket went ($2,000) now the trans (auto) is getting sloppy (nightmarish costs)

Sooner I offload it the better...I'll stick to BMW's from now on.

23rd Jul 2008, 21:08

I have a Audi 1994 V6 80 26e with transmission problems.

The auto transmission experts say there is nothing wrong with the transmission.

The audio dealer did not have the correct equipment to diagnose the fault.