V8? Check. Quattro? Check. 5-Speed?

Let’s cut the chase right now, shall we? Audi’s quality control and build standards in the late-1980’s/early-1990’s were not exactly something to write home about. You wouldn’t even mention these attributes in polite company. This point makes one of their humble offerings, like a 90 or 200, a mediocre idea at best. Applying the point to what could best be described as a niche model, like this Audi V8, pushes the idea off a cliff.

But I don’t care. Because this Audi’s 3.6-liter V8 pushes the goods through an honest-to-goodness, row-your-own 5-speed. And that makes it special.

Audi made very few manual transmission V8s. More exist now, thanks to ambitious owners with a disdain for autotragic gearboxes. In its day, this flagship had every bell and whistle any self-respecting German automaker could stuff into a four-door package. The Audi advantage? Quattro. The magic word that makes a powerful two-ton sedan dance through rain and snow with impossible prowess.

In chatting with the owner, Cary, I immediately spotted a guy who knew exactly what he had, who had probably paid too much, and didn’t regret one moment of his decision. He knows it doesn’t have Honda reliability and that its unique parts can be painfully expensive. But you could tell any bother to him was easily dismissed, like the dust he was casually wiping from the trunk lid.

The rest of the car was in fine shape, certainly a loved example. Cary let me know the engine was not stock (cams, software, etc.) and that the aftermarket exhaust really brings out the sounds of the V8. The car obviously sits lower than US stock, making it look kind of mean. I’m not a fan of the wheels, preferring the look of the stock BBS units. Wheels are easy to change, though.

I love it. I’d have it. I’d have days of painful regret and sadness, but I’d work through it.

~ Jonathan

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