Friday 27 January 2017
The Audi 100 had an aerodynamic look, achieving a drag coefficient of 0.30 for its smoothest base model. The increased aerodynamic efficiency resulted in better fuel economy. The design was in contrast from the boxy shape of the C2. Audi innovated flush windows on the C3, a key area for aerodynamic drag that has been adopted by virtually all manufacturers today. The aerodynamic body gave the 100 higher top speed than other cars of similar engine size. A new technology introduced in the C3 included the procon-ten safety system.
The two-door models were no longer available, and the Audi 100 Avant was reintroduced as Audi's first attempt at a station wagon based on the 100. It was marketed as a lifestyle estate rather than a loadlugger, although an extra folding seat for two in the luggage compartment was an available option. This extra seat was not available in conjunction with ABS-brakes as the brake control unit sat in the same space. The 200, launched in 1983 continued as the upmarket variant with several versions of the 2.2 L turbo 5-cylinder available in different markets over its life ranging in power outputs from 165 PS (121 kW) MC engine, through the 200 PS (147 kW) versions to the final 220 PS (162 kW) 20-valve 3B engine available from 1991. The 1983 Audi 200 Turbo had a top speed of 139 mph (224 km/h). The MC turbo engine was available in the 100 as well for some markets.
The 1991 200 20V was distinguished by its flared front and rounded rear wheel arches instead of the flat type used for the rest of the 100-200 range, this allowed wider wheel and tire combinations to be fitted to 20V models. U.S. magazine articles of the period reported 0-60 times of the 20-valve Audi 200 under 7 seconds, with 1/4 mile times in the mid to upper 15 second mark.
The 100 also featured a 2.5 L straight-five direct injection turbo-diesel (TDI) model with 120 PS (88 kW) introduced in January 1990 (engine code 1T). A such-engined Audi 100 was the first model to wear the TDI label. It had a brief career in the C3, being replaced in December of that year when the C4 arrived.
During model years 1983–1987, Audi's U.S. sales fell after a series of recalls of Audi 5000 models associated with reported incidents of sudden unintended acceleration linked to six deaths and 700 accidents. At the time, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was investigating 50 car models from 20 manufacturers for sudden surges of power.
In North America, the CBS television broadcast network 60 Minutes news program aired a report titled Out of Control on November 23, 1986. It featured interviews with six people who had sued Audi after reporting unintended acceleration, including footage of an Audi 5000 ostensibly displaying a surge of acceleration while the brake pedal was depressed. Subsequent investigation revealed that 60 Minutes had not disclosed they had engineered the vehicle's behavior – fitting a canister of compressed air on the passenger-side floor, to pump fluid via a hose to a hole drilled into the transmission — the arrangement executed by one of the experts who had testified on behalf of a plaintiff in a then-pending lawsuit against Audi's parent company.
Audi initially responded by suggesting that the drivers of the cars involved in the incidents were at fault, because they had stepped on the accelerator pedal rather than the brake. Subsequently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that the majority of unintended acceleration cases, including all the ones that prompted the 60 Minutes report, were caused mainly by factors such as confusion of pedals. CBS acknowledged the report and stressed its findings that “the problem could be aggravated by vehicle design, the shape, location and feel of gas and brake pedals." Audi's research demonstrated that many of the drivers who encountered "unintended acceleration" were "below average in height", indicating their knowledge of a relationship between design and the incidents.
In a review study published in 2012, NHTSA summarized its past findings about the Audi unintended acceleration problems: "Once an unintended acceleration had begun, in the Audi 5000, due to a failure in the idle-stabilizer system (producing an initial acceleration of 0.3g), pedal misapplication resulting from panic, confusion, or unfamiliarity with the Audi 5000 contributed to the severity of the incident."
This summary is consistent with the conclusions of NHTSA's most technical analysis at the time: "Audi idle-stabilization systems were prone to defects which resulted in excessive idle speeds and brief unanticipated accelerations of up to 0.3g [which is similar in magnitude to an emergency stop in a subway car]. These accelerations could not be the sole cause of [(long-duration) sudden acceleration incidents (SAI)], but might have triggered some SAIs by startling the driver. The defective idle-stabilization system performed a type of electronic throttle control. Significantly: multiple "intermittent malfunctions of the electronic control unit were observed and recorded … and [were also observed and] reported by Transport Canada."
With the series of recall campaigns, Audi made several modifications; the first adjusted the distance between the brake and accelerator pedal on automatic-transmission models. Later repairs of 250,000 cars dating back to 1978 added a device requiring the driver to press the brake pedal before shifting out of park. It is unclear what was done regarding the defects in the idle-stabilization system. Subsequent to the recall campaigns, vehicles now include gear shift patterns and brake interlock mechanisms to prevent deliberate gear selection.
Audi's U.S. sales, which had reached 74,061 in 1985, dropped to 12,283 in 1991 and remained level for three years. – with resale values falling dramatically. Audi subsequently offered increased warranty protection and renamed the affected models — with the 5000 becoming the 100 and 200 in 1989. The company only reached the same level of U.S. sales again by model year 2000.
As of early 2010, a class-action lawsuit — dealing with a charge that on account of the sudden acceleration controversy, Audi models had lost resale value — filed in 1987 by about 7,500 Audi Audi 5000-model owners remains unsettled and is currently contested in county court in Chicago after appeals at the Illinois state and U.S. federal levels. The NHTSA's findings have been "small solace for Audi in defense of product liability actions, as more and more successful cases used Audi's human factor design errors and failure to warn or recall as a basis for liability."
- engine: 5 cylinders
- capacity: 2200 cc
- horsepower: 217 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 230 km/h