Third-generation Audi 80 was launched in 1986. Design boss Hartmut Warkuß and his team had draped the Audi 80 B3 in a smooth and rounded body with a discreet wedge shape. This body distinguished itself with harmonious design solutions and a drag coefficient of just 0.29 – a colossal advance compared to 0.41 for the B2.
There was little change in dimensions; the wheelbase grew by a few millimeters and the vehicle became just a little shorter. The two-door version was eliminated.
The significant innovation of the Audi 80 B3 was the fully galvanized body for optimal corrosion protection. As for engineering and technology, Audi had laboriously refined components of the predecessor model.
Upon request, Audi supplied a safety system known as procon-ten (programmed contraction tension). In the event of a frontal crash, steel cables running round the engine and transmission block drew the steering wheel away from the driver and tensioned the front seat belts.
A new two-liter, four-cylinder engine generating 83 kW (113 hp) appeared in the Audi 80 in 1988. A year later, the diesel expanded to 1.9 liters of displacement. The naturally aspirated version produced 50 kW (69 hp) and the turbocharged version 59 kW (80 hp).
Until 1989, all gasoline engines had controlled three-way catalytic converters. Sporty four-valve versions of four-cylinder and five-cylinder engines followed in 1989/90.
quattro models were available from day one. The self-locking center differential replaced the drivetrain’s mechanical limited-slip differential and made it possible to implement an ABS system.
When the production ended in 1991, 1.3 million Audi 80 B3 were built in five years.