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Audi 100 Type 43 - five-cylinder makes technical history

Jacek Bilski
Audi 100 Type 43 in the driving report
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The history of the A udi 100 Type 43 begins -at the Arctic Circle - and it begins with one Mistake. Caught cold. At the Arctic Circle, somewhere between the Swedish ore city of Kiruna and the ore port of Lulea, the new, large Audi 100 is making its first wintry attempts.

The Audi 100 shares an assembly line with the Porsche 924

In the protection of the almost deserted Scandinavian wilderness, the first ready-to-drive, barely camouflaged prototypes of the Audi 100 Type 43 unwind their test kilometers in February 1975. They look like oversized VW Passats - with a Peugeot emblem on the bow. But the lion comes from Ingolstadt. At home he says hello with every bottle of Herrnbräu. Permafrost and endless snow slopes turn the large front-wheel drive into a confident ice skater. The clever Erlkönig photographer Hans G. Lehmann, a master of camouflage, has the gang of four from Ingolstadt with the Munich camouflage license plate in his sights. His motorized Nikon F2 with the long telephoto rattles off.

The full-format leaf shot will soon land on the cover of a major German car magazine. 'Still a secret: the big VW,' it says in tabloid letters. But my colleagues are wrong. The four Erlkönige show the new Audi 100 in the later Avant version. Admittedly, the evidence speaks for a VW. The discontinued models 412 and K 70 urgently require a successor that fits into the Audi modular system based on the Passat model. The type code 43 also points to Wolfsburg - Audi models always start internally with an eight.

In fact, the hatchback version of the new Audi 100, similar to the Passat and Audi 80, is also conceivable with a VW emblem. But CEO Toni Schmücker makes consistent decisions based on the brand hierarchy. The big car only comes as an Audi, and the 924 originally planned as a VW receives the Porsche logo. Both share the assembly lines at the Audi /NSU plant in Neckarsulm. There, around 20 years after the end of production of the Type 43, we meet Andreas Bauditz at Gate 6. The young graduate engineer certifies the emission behavior of Audi engines according to the strictest US standards. Bauditz awaits us with his Audi 100 CD 5E, built in 1982 - a well-cared-for pensioner, in helios blue metallic. It has Audi in its name, in its heart and in its head. The four rings have shaped him since childhood and never let go.

Audi 100Type 43 - a beautiful piece of technology

At the beginning of the nineties, Bauditz extensively restored an Audi 100 Coupé S. Later he discovered his weakness for the outsider Audi 100 Type 43, which was waiting for his youngtimer opportunity at the end of the nineties - it was still a retired car. The inventory decreased dramatically to around 2,000 pieces, and the price level fell abruptly. The powerful five-cylinder units are mostly burned up as cheap used ones in the hands of juvenile stokers. Because of its American flair, a Ford Granada II drives up cooler than the Audi 100, which is always somewhat instructive. Even the stuffy-faced Mercedes 230 W 123 sees itself as a cult car in the youngtimer scene.

In an interview, Bauditz 'defends that beautiful piece of technology ', as Audi called the new, large Audi 100 Type 43 in advertising at the time. He can even win a few revolutionary details from it: 'With the flush-glued windows and the design of the front end based on the autogenous folding method, it stands for new solutions in body construction and accident safety. Not to mention the exclusivity of the first five-cylinder petrol engine . '

Ambitious Audi debut by Ferdinand Piëch

As the first Audi of the Ferdinand Piëch era, it shows the ambitious handwriting of the maker. Unlike its good predecessor, this car was supposed to set new standards in its class in terms of space, driving comfort and fuel consumption. The five-cylinder injection engine plays the key role here. Piëch sees in it - assuming optimized mass balance - the ideal Audi drive for the leap in performance in the luxury class. A straight six-cylinder in front of the front axle of the Audi 100 Type 43 would unbalance the body overhang and weight distribution.

A V6 engine would be an expensive new development. His handicaps, mass balancing and the design of the intake manifold were retained. Piëch and his engine man Franz Hauk extended the four-cylinder by one unit using the modular system. That sounds simple, but it requires hard work in researching the insidious tumbling effect of the crankshaft - after all, the gasoline engine rotates up to a maximum of 6,500 rpm. The OM 617, which Piëch previously developed for the Mercedes 240 D 3.0, was content with 4,500 rpm. At Audi, the 1.6 liter bucket tappet engine from the Audi 80, which also drives the VW Golf and Passat under the acronym EA 827, forms the basis for the five in the Audi 100 Type 43. In purely mathematical terms, the motto 'Take' results Five 'two-liter displacement - the forged crankshaft with a vibration damper and ten counterweights, however, was designed with a longer stroke, which benefits the torque curve.

Sonorous staccato sound of the five-cylinder

An even ignition interval of 144 degrees with a crankshaft offset of 72 degrees including the 1-2-4-5-3 firing order take away from the five-cylinder in the Audi 100 type 43 the birth defects even at high speedsunfavorable mass moments and tumbling vibration behavior. They give it that sonorous staccato sound that arouses V8 cravings when accelerating.

Gate 6 is behind us, driving pleasure in the Löwenstein mountains on a warm summer day. The five-cylinder sings its melody, powerfully and unobtrusively. In a comparison test back then, it was the quietest, even before the BMW 525, whose six-cylinder is always characterized by the word silky smooth. The driver hums along, intones the gentle babbling, knows when the sound becomes duller when the automatic upshifts. At 2,500 tours he sounds best, so beautifully rumbling and angry. The feeling of space in the Audi 100 Type 43 is generous, only the Mercedes S-Class offers more space. Just when you step in, the sound of the door reveals the lightweight construction. The efficient Audi weighs 150 kilograms less than the competition. In general, efficiency is the maxim of the Audi 100 design - the five-cylinder injection engine is not only inexpensive to manufacture, but also light and economical to use.

Perfecting the front-wheel drive

Yes the ratio of the designers did not result in any hostility towards pleasure. In addition to the stimulating acoustics of the engine, the CD equipment with its luxury appeal is particularly attractive. The lush front seats do not provide support without security. The rear passengers can play with two cuddly cushions embroidered with the CD logo. A blue velor salon that glides smoothly even over undulating streets. The powerful front-wheel drive doesn't pull in the steering, its turning circle remains manageable. Vorsprung durch Technik is not only evident in the revolutionary, but above all in the perfecting of the front-wheel drive. Its advantages can be felt, but not its disadvantages. Instead of reactions to load changes, there is a threat of a driver change. Bauditz takes over, steers the beautiful piece of technology into the domestic underground car park. There, under a tarpaulin from which only the square double headlights peek cunningly, is an even nicer piece, an 200 5T. The exciting Audi 100 Type 43 has what it takes to be a two-piece vehicle.


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