Sponsored by HUMAN Speakers The Audi Wars
Type 85 versus Type 89

Owning a vintage "Type 85" Audi, my 1982+ Coupe, and a good solid representation of a "Type 89" Audi, my 1989 90 Quattro, is bound to lead to one thing in a hurry - my list of items that were improvements with time and those I sorely miss. So, with no further unnecessary ado, let the battle begin!
Round One: Engine
Type 85Type 89
2144 or 2226 cc (100-115 hp) - Solid as hell, but underpowered by American standards.

The larger engine, introduced in 1984, is better managed with Bosch KE Jetronic - in fact, my 2144 gets 10% better fuel economy with the KE upgrade!

These engines are quite simple to work on.

2309 cc (130 hp) - Equally solid and even smoother, this high compression KE3-managed machine tears to the red line from the factory where the older rigs flatten out at about 5000 rpms.

The fuel system is designed with a better limp home mode.

I'll just plain ignore the 160 hp 20 valve engine...

Unfortunately there are very few affordable bolt on go-fast-goodies made for the five cylinder normally aspirated (non-turbo) engines. If you want more speed, you'll have to take them apart and rework them like real mechanics do.
Air intake - fairly restricted convoluted piping, usually in the fender Sports an awesome collector behind the right headlight
Round Two: Drive Train
Type 85Type 89
Bulletproof but a bit clunky in operation Smoother shifting transmission with simpler linkage
Rear struts (on quattros) require removal of parcel shelf to access top nuts Accessible through the "trunk," most have two piece strut housings.
Round Three: Body
Type 85Type 89
Very carefully prepared and painted. The later years are better, and even generate rumors that they are galvanized. Real galvanized sheet metal. Incredible rust prevention techniques justify a ten year corrosion warranty.
Some like the "boxy" look... the coupes are sleeker than the 4000s.

Exterior door handles require periodic replacement due to trigger breakage.

The aerodynamics of a brick have to be heard to be believed.

Aerodynamic design with nice "quiet" mirrors, door handles, etc.

Instead of the door handle breaking, the lock mechanism lever does.

Due to lack of noisy gutter, water enters through open drivers window in the rain or while operating windshield washer!

Round Four: Interior - Workability
Type 85Type 89
Notorious for hidden tabs and pins, systems that are very difficult to dismantle and reassemble. Comes apart and reassembles without breaking in so many places it is almost amazing.
The heater core is moderately difficult to change, since the A/C must be discharged and the evaporator moved out of the way. The heater core is buried under two feet of wiring and ductwork and is probably the most difficult job on this car.
Round Five: Interior - Ergonomics
Type 85Type 89
The '80-'84 examples are a bit clunky "70s" VW-ish, with a lot of hard plastic in evidence.

The '85-'87 interior is softer, more comfortable, easier to use.

These are luxury cars now.
Various surfaces are even more padded.
Front shoulder belts have easily adjustable mounting height.
Interior light has delay off function.

Driver door pull fails to be a nice armrest, however.

The '80-'84 cluster switch design is really a joke - but then the nicer '85-'87 headlight switch cannot be removed without damaging the mounting bezel. "Push-pull" high beam switch is an irritant

Windshield wipers have an explicit "one touch-one sweep" position

Round Six: Storage
Type 85Type 89
'80-'84: small door pockets
'85-'87 full length door bins - that break at their mounting holes.
Full length door bins that I am actually using
A Passat cupholder can easily be added to the side of the console Cupholder option available for the "glasses and change" space by the handbrake
A glove box that can hold two seasons worth of junk A glove box too small for the owners manual!
Trunk - about two and a half suitcases worth - smaller in quattro models of course A great place to keep the owners manual, tire gauge, and a flashlight...
Round Seven: Safety
(All Audis enjoy the inherent safety factor of a car that handles well under both normal and panic situations)
Type 85Type 89
Very safe for its day, with well designed crumple zones and impact bars in the doors Ten times safer. Heavier door bars.

PRO CON TEN (Programmed Contraction and Tensioning) system locks the seat belts and collapses the steering column in frontal impact.

ABS good! Airbags (ugh!), eventually.

Round Eight: Electrical
Type 85Type 89
'80-'83 or so: The notorious underdash fuse box with those funny "German" fuses, connectors all seem made to corrode efficiently, switches designed to trap moisture and dirt, AMP connectors that require bloodletting to disconnect...
'84-'87: The underhood fuse box with spade fuses is a blessing, and the wiring is of a higher quality with connections that get better with each model year, but the power mirror switch is always dead.

'80-'84: rectangular sealed beam headlights are ok, can be upgraded with minumum of fuss.
'85-'87: DOT aerodynamic headlights are dimmer than most modern parking lights.

Continues the trend of improved reliability, everything is neater and more reliable. Pretty much every electrical connector now has a good positive sealing system.
The drivers door switches, while getting wet constantly, seem to so well sealed it doesn't matter.
Louder horns - better wiring, or better horns?
The DOT headlights are still poor, but better than the type 85.
Round Nine: Sex Appeal
Type 85Type 89
Single dude out for some fast, carefree fun.
Power slides attract young male admirers. Hello officer...
Older gentleman likes to drive fast without being noticed.
A nice butt but no power bulges in the front.