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NSU Ro 80

NSU Ro 80

If a car is deemed good enough to be named European car of the year, then it's guaranteed sales success, surely? Not in the case of the controversial NSU Ro8O. Universally praised at launch for its incredible styling, excellent performance and superb high-speed refinement, the Ro8O was also a technical masterpiece. It was the first volume production car to use a rotary engine, which has fewer moving parts than a conventional unit and offers exceptional smoothness. But unfortunately, the engine hadn't been properly developed, and was prone to failure as the seals between the tips of the rotors and combustion chamber wore out, sometimes as early as 15,000 miles. Later cars were vastly improved in terms of reliability, but NSU's reputation was ruined and sales never recovered. A great shame, because the Ro8O was a brilliant piece of design.

NSU Ro 80 Specifications

Top speed:110 mph (178 km/h)
0-60 mph (0-96 km/h):13.4 sec
Engine type:Twin-rotary Wankel
Displacement:61 ci (995 cc)
Transmission:3-speed semi-automatic
Max power:115 bhp (86 kW) at 5,500 rpm
Max torque:121 lb ft (164 Nm) at 4,500 rpm
Weight:2,695 lb (1,213 kg)
Economy:15.7 mpg (5.6 km/I)
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