1988 Audi 90 Quattro 2.3 5 cylinder from North America


A rewarding all weather driver's car


The muffler just wore out.

The fuel pump quit leaving me stranded. I would advise any owner to change theirs, as mine only acted up under the heat and load from a long trip. Its demise gave no warning, and was difficult to diagnose. After the pump cooled off it ran perfectly, which was very frustrating after a + 100 mile tow!

At 100K the water pump developed a very slow leak. A thousand miles later it seized, ripping off my recently replaced timing belt causing very expensive valve damage.

The lifters are noisy until the engine warms up. I'm told this is a common quirk with this engine and isn't dangerous or damaging. I've found that using 20w50 synthetic oil and a can of Restore at every oil change will reduce but not eliminate this problem.

Other minor repairs such as minor electrical problems, new window switches, and renewed fuel lines are to be expected on a car this old, I guess.

Parts for this car are expensive, so potential buyers be prepared. Frequent maintenance by a mechanic experienced with these cars is essential, and will save you a lot in the long run.

General Comments:

Despite its expense in repairs, this car is overall very reliable.

Quattro system is incredible in snow and rain, giving unparalleled control. The drive-line is silky smooth. Braking is excellent. The suspension is also top notch, as this car is very comfortable on trips while giving the driver a firm and precise feel of the road.

This is a heavy little car and feels that way off the line and when pushed to its cornering limits. Although my car has responded well to a K&N filter and Total Audi Performance chip upgrade.

This car's sweet spot is in third gear 3500-5000 RPM. It cruises comfortably at 90 MPH.

Fit and finish is second to none.

Easily the most beautifully designed car I've ever owned. Its shape is still contemporary today.

Despite its age it gets lots of compliments and admiring looks.

The heated seats are a godsend, and the Bose stereo system still works well and still sounds crystal clear.

This car loves to be really driven, the engine sounds wonderful and feels strong under all circumstances.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th May, 2001

19th Nov 2003, 11:08

My mechanic told me that the 2.3 liter engine in my 1988 model 90Q was a 'non-interference' engine, so that the timing belt breaking shouldn't damage the valves. I'm surprised to hear that yours caused valve damage.

27th Aug 2004, 14:04

This isn't true. It's an over head cam engine like most engines today, it doesn't matter if it's an I4, V6, V8 or I5 (like the Audi 90) I heard that the 2.3 could interfere at higher RPMs.

7th Mar 2008, 11:20

Does anyone know where to get a repair manual? I love my 1988 Audi 90 Quatro, but need to figure out a few things that have stopped working.



19th Aug 2008, 18:59

A rule of thumb when replacing the timing belt, is to replace the water pump as well while you're in there. There is nothing wrong with preventive maintenance.