Audi 50

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Audi 50 (86)
Audi 50.jpg
Audi 50 in the Audi Forum, Ingolstadt
ManufacturerAudi NSU Auto Union AG
180,812 built[1]
AssemblyNeckarsulm, Germany[original research?]
DesignerClaus Luthe
Body and chassis
ClassSupermini (B)
Body style3-door hatchback
Layouttransverse front engine,
front-wheel drive
PlatformVolkswagen Group A01
RelatedVolkswagen Polo Mk1
  • 1.1 L OHC I4
  • 1.3 L OHC I4
Transmission4-speed manual
Wheelbase2,335 mm (91.9 in)
Length3,510 mm (138.2 in)
Width1,560 mm (61.4 in)
Height1,340 mm (52.8 in)
PredecessorNSU Prinz
NSU 1200
SuccessorAudi A1[2]
Audi A2

The Audi 50 (known internally as the Typ 86) is a supermini economy car produced by German automaker Audi from 1974 to 1978, and sold only in Europe. Introduced two or three years after the Italian Fiat 127 and the French Renault 5, the model was seen at the time as Germany's first home grown entrant in Europe's emerging "supermini" class.[3]



The Audi 50 was built by Audi NSU Auto Union AG at the former NSU factory in Neckarsulm, Germany, and at the giant Wolfsburg plant by Volkswagen.[4]

Rebadging as Volkswagen Polo[edit]

The car was rebadged six weeks later by Volkswagen as the Volkswagen Polo with a wider range of engine and other options.[5] The Volkswagen Polo was launched in the home market in September 1974[3] and appeared in export markets, including the United Kingdom, a few months later.

Continuation of Volkswagen Polo, discontinuation of Audi 50[edit]

The car was offered as a three door hatchback with a 1,093 cc (66.7 cu in) petrol engine, producing either 37 kW (50 PS; 50 bhp) or 44 kW (60 PS; 59 bhp) for the LS and GL models, respectively. The model was popular in Europe, both because of its generous specifications for a car of the time, and on account of its relatively low price. The Volkswagen and Audi badged models were sold alongside each other for three years until 1978, but the cheaper Volkswagen Polo outsold the Audi 50 almost immediately, and Audi discontinued the Audi 50 in 1978, after a total production of 180,812 units.[3] A planned facelift, which would have given the Audi 50 a look closer to that of the Audi 100 and Audi 80 was never implemented, because of a holding company board decision that the Audi brand should concentrate on larger, more expensive cars.

The Volkswagen Polo range continued to evolve, with the Volkswagen Derby notchback version, despite being developed by Audi at Ingolstadt, branded as a Volkswagen and launched in 1977. Subsequently, the Volkswagen Polo has evolved through numerous generations to the present day.


The Audi 50 had no replacement in the supermini class, until the launch of the significantly larger Audi A2 in November 1999, which was also discontinued in August 2005.

In August 2010, the Audi 50 was spiritually succeeded by the Audi A1.[2]

Rear view


  1. ^ Werner Oswald: Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, vol. 4, ISBN 3-613-02131-5, p. 263
  2. ^ a b "Audi A1 vs Audi 50". Auto Express. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Oldtimer Katalog. Vol. Nr. 23. Königswinter: HEEL Verlag GmbH. 2009. pp. Seite 44 u. 358. ISBN 978-3-86852-067-5.
  4. ^ "A History of Audi: The 1970s" (PDF). Audi. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  5. ^ "News: Audi 50". Autocar. Vol. 141 (nbr4065). 21 September 1974. p. 29.