The Audi 200 5T could not be described as a trend-setter, but the overall package presented by this new top of the range model could be a firm indication of trends in the luxury car market of the future.
The 200 5T is light — 24.8 cwt., a full 11 cwt. lighter than a Jaguar XJ4.2 — roomy, well equipped, has a small engine for its overall size, but through its exhaust driven turbocharger gives more than adequate performance, coupled with good fuel consumption.
In all the Audi 200 5T is a nicely produced package which pits this German manufacturer firmly in the luxury car market pitching against BMW’s Seven series, Granada 2.8i Ghia, Mercedes 2800 and Rover 3500 V8S.
It is anticipated that the 200 Turbo will be available in the UK from April, and price is expected to be about £13,500, which again compares well with Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar. The importers estimate initial sales of up to 1,000 turbo-engined 200s during the remainder of 1980 — Britain is in fact the largest market for Audi outside West Germany and the USA — and the forecast for total overall sales is 19,300 units. In 1979 the figure was 16,580 units.
Although Europe and America will have the choice of a fuel-injected five-cylinder 200 model — titled the 5E and sharing the same body — the UK importers have decided to bring only the turbo model to these shores. Also the 5T will be available as standard with three-speed automatic transmission, although five-speed manual gearbox will be a no-extra cost option.
Standard equipment on the British model includes cruise control, electric windows, electric sunroof, central door locking, stereo radio and cassette player, power steering, heated front seats as well as electrically operated and heated door mirrors. Quite a package with the only extra cost option being air conditioning.
The attraction for many people will, however, be Audi’s move into the increasingly popular area of turbocharging. The 200 5T is powered by the same 2.2-litre five-cylinder engine from the 100 model, the addition of turbocharging having resulted in comparatively few mechanical modifications to the well tried unit. The compression ratio had to be reduced — achieved by sleeved pistons with a bowl in the crown — but by far the most difficult task was the exhaust manifold design. Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injection is fitted.
The turbocharged engine offers 170 b.h.p. — the same as the Porsche 924 turbo — at 5,300 r.p.m., a 34 horsepower increase over the fuel-injected five-cylinder, but it is in the torque figures that the improvement is best felt with output boosted to a goodly 192 lb. ft. at 3,200 r.p.m.
Apart from better torque and performance, a claimed side-effect of the turbo installation is a reduction in interior noise. Frankly one would be hard-pressed to notice a reduction of “up to two decibels”, particularly as under hard acceleration there is quite a noticeable growl from under the bonnet. However, it is not an unpleasant intrusion into an otherwise calm, comfortable and sound-deadened interior.
We drove the automatic version of the 200 5T, and could not help but be impressed with the straight line acceleration. The matching of automatic and turbo is a joy, although I for one would have liked more feel through the standard power-assisted steering. There was also evidence of “snatch” through the wheel when accelerating hard, although otherwise the P6 Pirelli tyres on smart 6J x 15 alloy wheels coped admirably.
The test route did not include much in the way of corners, but undoubtedly it is on motorways and long flowing fast roads that the Audi excels. Claimed maximum speed is 125 m.p.h. whilst the manufacturers quote a 0-60 m.p.h. time of 8.6 seconds.
As far as fuel consumption is concerned. Audi claim a figure of 18 m.p.g. for the EEC Urban cycle; more than adequate for a ball five-seater, four-door saloon in the luxury end of the market.
Audi have come out with a very impressive addition to their improving range — and image — in the 200 5T. We await a longer acquaintance with relish. — M.R.G.