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Driving report NSU Ro 80: Two-disc Wankeltechnik from Neckarsulm

Frank Herzog
NSU Ro 80 with double-pane Wankeltechnik from Neckarsulm
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D he name Ro stands for rotation , while 80 was chosen as the development number among all NSU developments running at the time. The power is transmitted via a so-called selective automatic, consisting of a mechanical three-speed gearbox, an electrically-pneumatically actuated single-disc dry clutch with an upstream hydraulic torque converter. When the switch stick is touched lightly, the clutch is disengaged and then switched.

From zero to 100 km /h in 14 seconds

Shifting without a clutch pedal ensures relaxed driving. However, the prerequisite for this is that the Ro 80 is in swing once. When accelerating, the typical weak torque of Wankel units becomes apparent. The NSU requires speed. The maximum torque of 158 Newton meters is only available at 4,000 tours. The factory specification of the Ro 80 for the acceleration from standstill to 100 km /h is not surprising - NSU promised 14 seconds.

Once in motion, the Ro 80 swims well in motorway traffic. Tempo 180 are still no problem with the historic limousine today. The engine noise, which decreases with higher speeds, and the smoothness of the Wankel unit promise driving comfort, and the Ro 80 chassis is also designed to be comfortable. The NSU almost completely filters out even rough bumps.

The ZF rack-and-pinion power steering ensures driving pleasure

According to today's handling standards, the four-door car struggles even in slow corners with increased body roll thanks to its comfortable chassis setup. The limit range of the front-wheel drive vehicle announces itself very good-naturedly with early understeer. The precise and direct ZF rack and pinion power steering ensures driving fun.

After various technical problems with the Wankel engine, especially in the early days, Wankel production was discontinued in 1977 due to the higher production costs compared to reciprocating piston units. Up to this point in time, the Ro 80 had rolled off the production line at the Neckarsulm plant 37,406 times.

You can find more about historical vehicles from our colleagues at Motor Klassik .


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