The Audi V8 (Typ 4C) is a four-door, full-size, luxury sedan, built by Audi in Germany from 1988 to 1993, as the company's flagship model. It was the first car from Audi to use a V8 engine, and also the first Audi to combine a quattro system with an automatic transmission. Early cars used 3.6-litre V8s, while later cars featured a 4.2-litre version of the engine. The Audi V8 was replaced by the Audi A8 in 1994, although the A8 was not sold in North America until 1997.
The competition model of the Audi V8 won back-to-back Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft driver's titles in 1990 and 1991, with the championship winners being Hans-Joachim Stuck and Frank Biela respectively. Audi was the first company to win back-to-back DTM titles.
Standard features for the Audi V8 included a 32-valve, double overhead camshaft (DOHC) V8 engine and a four-speed electronically controlled ZF 4HP24A automatic transmission providing Audi's quattro permanent four-wheel drive system. A five-speed (later in production six-speed) manual transmission was also available.
The Audi V8 had a galvanized steel body, with a 10-year anti-perforation warranty (against corrosion). The Audi V8 was specifically designed to be a top of the range 'flagship' car and included a number of luxury features as standard equipment, including leather seating and Audi's quattro all wheel drive system (see standard features list). The Audi V8 created a new elevated image for the company, providing a viable alternative to established competitors such as Mercedes-Benz. In this regard, the car was a cornerstone in developing the history of the Audi marque as it is today.
Factory production commenced in October 1988, and ceased in November 1993, although sales of completed vehicles continued in 1994. It was replaced by the Audi A8 in 1994.
The styling of the Audi V8 resembled the Typ 44 Audi 100 and 200 models, and was based on a stretched version of the Volkswagen Group C3 automobile platform, known either as the D1 or D11 platform. The Audi V8 differed from the Audi 100/200 with a unique grille attached to the hood, new bumpers and headlights, all-red tail lamps, extended wheelbase, wider track, pronounced fenders, and a completely different interior. Furthermore, only alloy wheels were offered, ranging from 15 to 17 inches.
In addition to the standard-length model, there was also a long wheelbase (LWB), ('Lang' in German) version of the V8 (refer to the infobox for differences in dimensions). It was assembled at Steyr-Daimler-Puch factory in Graz (see production figures). This tradition would continue with the A8, offered in "A8L" format.
A one-off experimental Avant (estate) version was built for the wife of former Audi CEO Ferdinand Piech. This car is no longer on display at the Audi Forum Ingolstad. The car is now in storage in Neckarsulm.
Powertrain detail of the Audi V8 featured one of two all-new, all-aluminium alloy engines – both petrol engines, and both in V8 configuration with 32 valves (four valves per cylinder) with dual valve springs, and four overhead camshafts (DOHC). The design set the pattern for future Audi-developed Volkswagen Group V8 engines. In addition to using an all-aluminum alloy cylinder block (when the established material was grey cast iron), the camshafts were driven using a hybrid method. A rubber/kevlar toothed timing belt, driven from the front of the crankshaft operated only the exhaust camshaft in each bank. The inlet camshafts were then operated via a simplex roller chain from the exhaust camshaft – the right bank, (cylinders 1–4) at the rear of the engine, and the left bank (cylinders 5–8) at the front of the engine, immediately behind the timing belt. This method reduced the complexity of the timing belt layout, and as a result, required fewer components, such as idler rollers and guides, and lead to easier and less costly maintenance of the timing belt and associated components. The intervals for changing the timing belts varied; the 3.6 V8 (PT) required changing every 90,000 kilometres (60,000 mi), whereas the 4.2 V8 (ABH) had a longer interval at 120,000 kilometres (75,000 mi). A thermostatically controlled electric cooling fan also became standard, replacing the engine-driven viscous fans on earlier cars. This not only provided forced airflow for the engine coolant radiator, but also for the smaller engine oil cooler.
Audi's 'trademark' quattro permanent (or semi-permanent, dependent on gearbox type) four-wheel drive system was the only offering for the drivetrain. This normally distributes the engine torque as a 'default' 50:50 between front and rear axles, but can automatically dynamically apportion up to a bias of 20:80 to 80:20 front and rear. The automatic transmission utilizes a hydraulically controlled multi-plate clutch to apportion drive between front and rear axles, whereas the manual transmission variants utilize a Torsen type 1 Torque Sensing center differential. The rear axle final drive unit contains a Torsen type 1 Torque Sensing differential, instead of the more common hypoid open differential.
Both available engines used a Bosch Motronic fully electronic engine control unit (ECU), with cylinder bank selective knock control, dual-barrel throttle valve, lambda mixture control via intake air volume metering and exhaust gas temperature sensor, and required unleaded petrol. Fuel was delivered to the combustion chambers via eight intake manifold-sited electronic fuel injectors, fed from two common fuel rails (one per cylinder bank), and were sequentially 'fired' or activated in accordance with the engine's firing order. Whilst the 3.6 V8 was able to use 95 RON (91 AKI) fuel, for the 4.2 V8, the more expensive 98 RON (93 AKI) 'SuperPlus' unleaded was required in order to achieve the quoted power output. The usage of 95 RON in the 4.2 V8 resulted in a lower power output, as well as increased fuel consumption.
At the initial launch of the Audi V8, the only offering was the 3.6-litre powerplant, which displaced 3,562 cubic centimetres (217.4 cu in). This V8 engine was DIN-rated with a maximum motive power output of 184 kilowatts (250 PS; 247 bhp) at 5,800 revolutions per minute (rpm), and generated a torque turning force of 340 newton metres (251 lbf·ft) at 4,000 rpm. In August 1991, Audi introduced a 4.2-litre engine, displacing 4,172 cubic centimetres (254.6 cu in), to complement
the choice of the existing 3.6-litre V8. This shared many components from the 3.6 V8, and the 4.2 unit was identical to the optional V8 used in the Audi S4 (aka Ur-S4), sharing the same rated outputs and ABH identification code. Like the 3.6 V8 model, the existing four-speed automatic gearbox remained available. However, a new six-speed manual gearbox replaced the five-speed manual. This powerplant is identified by chrome 'V8' badges on the front grille and at trunk lid, where in some cars also '4.2 quattro' badge is present.