Despite being an older marque, the Audi 80, and it’s quattro variants, is still regarded as one of the finest automobiles for the tuning enthusiast giving good power range at very affordable prices. The Audi S2, a sport version with 2.2 liter turbo petrol engine was produced in 1991.
First manufactured in 1966, the Audi 80 had a long production run into the mid 1990s, with final cabriolet models rolling off the production line in 2000. One of Audi’s most popular models, the Audi 80 changed significantly over it’s development, although still retained the same classic lines through most variants.
Tuning an Audi 80 depends very much on year and engine type, and some parts for older variants may be very difficult to come by, resulting in quite a few owners of 1960s Audis having to source parts from wreckers yards or pay a premium for new parts manufactured by Audi.
Engine capacity and power output varied considerably over the thirty year production of the Audi 80, beginning with normally aspirated 1.6 liter engines right through to the final years of production when 2.0 liter petrol and 1.6 liter turbo diesel engines were fitted as standard.
The same body shape with larger 2.3 liter five cylinder engine and more luxurious interior trim was also marketed as the Audi 90. The two models are essentially the same, and a lot of cross compatibility of parts exists. In fact it is possible to drop a 2.3 liter from an Audi 90 into an Audi 80 with minor adjustment and proper tuning.
Tuning the Audi 80 for maximum performance should probably start with getting the engine and drivetrain back to as near new condition as possible, a full service and diagnostic analysis should be undertaken to ensure the baseline measurements conform to standard.
Owners of the turbo diesel and MPFI engines will get more performance thru acceleration and top end by re-chipping the car with an aftermarket chip, then tuning again with the new baseline. Most kits provide full installation instructions from removal of the old chip to soldering in the new chip an the entire process can take less than a couple of hours with the right setup.
Some models of Audi 80 do not feature a removable chip, and the entire computer will either need to be removed and sent to the chip programmer, or the car taken to a custom tuning workshop with the capability to reprogram the ECU.
Audi 80s are known for needing regular coolant changes, usually every two years, and before starting your cars performance tuning it’s a good idea to change the coolant and check for head gasket leaks.
Catalytic converters on the Audi 80 and variants can also be problematic, unfortunately it’s a design fault, and replacing this with one from a wreckers yard may not entirely solve the problem.
A new exhaust system with chrome tailpipes is an affordable option for tuning an Audi 80, and used systems may be readily available from trade and exchange markets.