March 11, 2000

Ownership Recap: 1993 90S
Article and Photos by Matt Daniels

I recently sold my 1993 Audi 90S after almost 3 years of near trouble free ownership. During that time, I put 56,000 mile on the odometer and experienced only minor problems despite the car being first year production of a complete redesign and the 172 hp 12V V6.

My history with this car started in March of 1997. After realizing that I wouldn't be able to afford a new A4 any time soon, I decided to find the "next best thing". I found this car at a local Ford dealer and it had just over 30,000 miles on it. Final price I paid was $13,500 - about 50% less than it cost when new. For those unfamiliar with the 90 series, the S model for 1993 was the base model - it had manual climate controls, cloth interior and only came in front-wheel drive. On my particular car, the only optional extra was the power steel sunroof.

The performance of this car was always satisfactory, but like so many other older Audi's the car didn't have very much low-end torque. Off the line the car wasn't anything to write home about, but once up to speed the car could really move. I never did reach the 130-mph speed limiter, but I did have it over 100 mph a few times and it was always solid and willing to go faster.

Performance modification for the 90 series were few and far between, as a result I never made any major modifications to my car. Simple modifications included 16" Ronal R-26 wheels, K&N air filter, Rofren brake pads and tinted windows.

Shortly after delivery I discovered that the cruise control didn't work properly. It would hold it's speed for awhile but then shut off unexpectedly, generally it wouldn't work again for awhile. This is how it operated for most of my ownership, but towards the end, it sometimes work 100% of the time - or not at all. Through the Quattro List ( I discovered the problem was most likely a vacuum leak in the system or a faulty switch. Since I rarely used the cruise control except on road trips, I never bothered to have it professionally inspected or repaired.

I had always kept good maintenance and as a result I had very few unexpected repairs. I always had regular oil changed and at 60,000 miles I had the belts and water pump replaced. In my three years I had some ball joints that had to be replaced, but nothing major ever failed on this car.

One unexpected problem I had was the lower settings on the heater blower stopped working. Another quick question to the Quattro list and my problem was diagnosed and a new $15 part was on it's way from Clair parts. Unfortunately, this replacement part died two months later, but Clair replaced it free of charge and the 2nd replacement worked fine until I sold the car.

Another unexpected problem was the hoses to the washer nozzles kept coming loose - this was repaired with simple plastic ties. The same thing happened to the hose that leads out of the washer reservoir, the same repair was made, but it required that I remove the front left wheel and wheel liner to access the washer reservoir.

When I sold the car the odometer had just turned over to 86,000 miles and the car was still as solid as the day I bought it. There were only very minor squeaks and rattles, most of which could only be heard if you were really paying attention. The cabin had always been very quite even at highway speeds and I had never had a problem with wind noise or other unwanted noises from the outside.

Overall this was a very reliable and solid built car and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to buy a used Audi. Depending on year, mileage, location, and trim level you should be able to find a very good '93 90 model in the $6500 - $10,000 range.

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