Audi as a high priced luxury car

I was going through some old files the other day, and I found one that had all the paperwork from my purchase of a new Audi 100LS in 1972. The price of the car was $5,250. I don’t know what the MSRP was because I didn’t save the Monroney label. Five thousand was not an exorbitant price for a well equipped new car in 1972. I considered that Audi to be a middle-class, middle of the road family car. I bought it because it closely resembled the contemporary small Mercedes. Now, it is spoken of as being in the same luxury class as Mercedes and BMW. When did that happen? Have I pulled a Rip Van Winkle and been asleep for 40 years? Thanks.

Close to it, at least since the days of the Audi 5000 they’ve been considered the premium line for VW and in the same class as Mercedes and BMW.

My grandparents Mercedes might qualify as a luxury car for the time but they bought it used in Morocco when grandpa was there as a water resource engineer. A 52 200D that they wound have owned in the early 60’s.

It happened just after you bought tour 72 Audi. The German mark had been 5 to a dollar when I bought my 71 VW bus for $3020 including radio. 3 years later, the mark was 2 for a dollar. The Germans found out, the more they charged us for a car, the more valuable we thought it was. Not all Mercedes used to be considered luxury cars. No one who drove a 180D would ever accuse it of being a luxury car. Mercedes are or were taxi’s in much of the world.

$5250 in ‘72 would be about $34,000 today, buys a near luxury car. A lot more for your money now.

$5250 in 72 would buy a decently optioned full size Pontiac, Ford or Dodge. Lots bigger car with a V8 engine, AC, automatic, power steering and brakes.

Audi has been been making premium cars since the late 80s. Where ya been?

Apparently asleep!

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I think that the same could be said for Volvo. Back in the '60s, their 544 model (the one that looked like a miniature '40s Ford) was more or less in the same price class as a VW bug. When their more modern 122 model was introduced, it was a bit pricier, but it was still in the lower-end range of car prices.

By the time that I bought my POS Volvo in 1974, prices had moved-up, but they were still not in the luxury range. Nowadays, with some Volvo models selling for $60k-70k, even if they are not quite as costly as many Audis, the fact remains that Volvo has moved itself very far up the price ladder over the past 40 years or so.


50 yrs ago. Long time. Friend bought a 95 accord ex for $25k. I was looking at a 2021 golf r for $40k. Prices go up.
Yes, v6, leather, sunroof. I did not think it was that high.
This was around 2000. So maybe it was a 98 or 99ish?

The friend is either really unaware of prices or he told you an untruth or you misprinted the year.

Surprisingly the 1995 EX V6 was $25K.

I worked with a guy in 1972 who had just bought ne. It was definitely not a luxury car The brakes wore out rapidly on the front since federal law put a maximum on brake pedal pressure a US driver could exert. So Audi made the front pads softer so as not to exceed 40 lbs on the pedal. The result was rapid brake wear.

For some mysterious reason those early models were not available with power brakes.

I thought it was a terrific bargain compared to the other cars I looked at, and that is why I bought mine. The A and C class cars weren’t available in the 1970s, only the hand made cars that made Benz famous.

I think Audi has gone upscale a bit since VW bought them. Volkswagen wanted a line to compete with MB, and Audi was it. Add to that, Benz has gone downscale in the ensuing decades.

Several decades or so ago those Audi 100s used to pop up now and then for service. Simple car but inboard brakes. Ugh.

Same goes for early Subarus. They were also fitted with inboard brakes. A few of those showed up now and then and people were appalled at the price of a front brake job.
It paid 8.5 hours flat rate and worth every bit of it.
Inboard drums with brake shoes and a dozen springs; only accessible through a small hole. Serviced with one hand, a flashlight in the other, and improved profanity.
Transmission came down the assembly line with brakes attached and the rest of the car assembled around it.

Here are some painful memories, then. Hey, if it’s good enough for Jaguar…

Circa 1974 a co-worker purchased the same model as I recall. Just a young guy right out of college, probably earning $13,000 per year or so. I asked him why he chose an Audi. He said he wanted a little luxury in his life. He took me for a drive in it several times, to lunch, etc, and it was a nicely appointed car with good ride. Definitely compared to my truck … lol … Not quite as overblown in appearance as the current audi’s.

It was a nice car, but it had some peculiar engineering; the inboard front brakes, as @ok4450 pointed out, an inline 5 cylinder engine, a 2 barrel progressive carburetor,and probably others that i’ve mercifully forgotten.

I watched the Subaru 1000 vdo … omg!! … lol …

Those mechanics definitely remained cheerful, even with all the difficulties they were having servicng those brakes. At one point they say “the sun has gone down long ago, and we still aren’t finished” … this is something I’ve said many times doing driveway diyer car repairs, but with not nearly as much cheer :). I think those fellows did great, being able to just take it as it comes without complaint. Even tho it took a lot of painstaking work, in the end they did it correctly, and they didn’t have to repeat the effort again.

At the Seattle Auto show a few years ago Volvo and Tesla were eight next to each other in the Luxury car area on the 2nd level. May as well have been invisible with the only people getting close were overflow from the Tesla display.

Asked a friend who had a Prius for 1 yr a question about ac and he replied he had not opened hood yet. Funny, we bought one and I did same thing. Was wife’s car.

I only open my wife’s hood maybe once a month to check the oil.