Talk:NSU Ro 80

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A question of copyright infringement was raised about the initial version of this article. I contacted the author of the website that contained similar content and received:

Hello Matt,
No problem at all, I was the writer myself on wikipedia!
Jan Hullegie
  • webmaster

so I think this is settled! —Morven 10:06, Jun 27, 2004 (UTC)


My uncle had a Ro80 in the early 80's and I remember it having a switch operated clutch on the gear stick knob (so no clutch peddle). I'm not sure if this was standard or a modification to the car he had. Any thoughts..? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:13, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

It was standard. Someone - I think you - has described the thing now in the article. There was always a concern that the passenger might absent minded disengage the clutch simply by resting his right (rhd) or left (lhd) hand on the top of the gear knob - eg if the passenger was just short of his/her 17th / 18th birthday and learning to change gear with the 'wrong' hand while a passenger, but I suppose the answer was to restrict your passengers to those who knew how to keep their hands to themselves. There was also, I think, some kind of a torque convertor in the transmission system which increased the glorious (and maybe somewhat misleading in terms of the rotor seals) sense of unburstability as you increased the revs. The thing I never understood was how it worked. There certainly was NOT any sort of a visible switch on the top of the gear lever (British English terminology). Was there a simple thermal sensor which responded to the heat in the hand and so threw a switch which disengaged the clutch? That seems the most likely, but if some one (1) knows (or can look up) the answer and (2) enter it to the article using words that I can understand, that would be interesting... Regards Charles01 (talk) 10:41, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

The Ro80's transmission was fitted with a torque converter to reduce the effect of the (then) typical Wankel engine stutter on the overrun. As you can't change gears in a conventional (not epicyclic/planetary gear) gearbox without interrupting the torque flow there was a conventional clutch as well. This was operated by a standard microswitch integrated in the rubber knob on top of the gear lever, not on top of that knob itself. As soon as you touched the gear lever, the microswitch triggered the vacuum operation of the clutch and you could change gear. There were only three speeds in the gearbox as the torque converter was considered to be a replacement for the first gear of a conventional gearbox.

Just did some proofreading. I haven't altered anything in the articles. Andacar (talk)

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With the development of the Audi 100 C2, AudiNSU made a last attempt in taking over the Wankel engine in a new model by implanting it in a chassis of the 100 as an attempt of retrieving the costs and a possible engine option for a planned luxury version (later realized in the Audi 200 with the naturally aspirated or turbocharged inline-5 cylinder engine). However, the major problems of the comparatively high fuel consumption and NOx emissions couldn't be solved satisfactorily which led to the final decision of abandoning the rotary engine by the VW company.

2A02:560:4251:DE00:F805:D60B:8E9:37F6 (talk) 21:26, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Additional facts[edit]

I'm listing some additional facts which should be worked into this article:

  • the official power output for the Ro 80 was given with 85 kW/115 hp. For markets with stricter emission requirements (e.g. Switzerland), the output was reduced to 107 hp.
  • Another reason for the poor reliability of the engine was the ignition system which had to be adjusted exactly to specs, otherwise the spark plugs would either foul or burn prematurely. Another source of trouble were the contacts which did also tend to burn early, causing the timing to shift towards early and subsequently causing engine damage. In 1971, the difficult twin spark ignition was replaced with a single spark system by Bosch (HKZ, Hochspannungs-Kondensatorzündung) resolving these issues.
  • The torque converter could cause damage to the engine and transmission by chipping or shards if the rpm limit was exceeded repeatedly, with the blades of the converter scraping and/or breaking on the casing during extension. With the introduction of the HKZ in 1971, a rpm limiter (by blocking the fuel line) and a warning chime were also added. The comparatively high number of damaged converters can be traced back to many owners of a Ro 80 being unfamiliar with the fact that in opposite to the piston engine, the Wankel doean't get much louder or even quieter with increasing rpm.
  • On the other side, up to 35% of the engines being send to Neckarsulm as being defective required nothing else but new sparks and contacts. Many dealers and garages were simply overchallenged with the new technology, exacerbated by NSU which had rushed the Ro 80 to the dealers but neglecting to train the mechanics properly.
  • The Ro 80 had neither a predecessor nor a successor as erroneously stated in the article. The NSU Spider was derived from the NSU Sport Prinz which itself was based on the contemporary Prinz. The Audi 100 (C1) was the first independent construction of the Audi AG in the post-war era and had nothing to do with the Ro 80.
  • The drag coefficient of 0.355 is only valid for a 1:1 model being tested in a wind tunnel. Serial production vehicles achieved 0.38 which isn't bad but also not being extraordinary (the Alfa Romeo Giulia had a cd of 0.34 - in 1962!).
  • A single Ro 80 was fitted with an upgraded Wankel engine (larger displacement of the chambers, different carburetor) delivering 130 hp. Overall, the effects of these modifications were rather modest.


  • Dieter Korp "NSU Ro 80 - die Geschichte des Wankelmotors" (Motorbuch-Verlag Stuttgart, ISBN: 3-613-01455-6; out of print)
  • various issues of Auto Bild classic, [Auto Classic] and others

2A02:560:4248:2200:653E:C3E4:36C6:5C6E (talk) 18:49, 20 September 2020 (UTC)