The Audi 5000 was tailored to needs of the North American market version based on the Audi 100 and Audi 200 Type 43 (1976-1982) and of the successor of Type 44 (1982-1990) or short-C2 or C3.

Audi 5000 C2 (Type 43)

The Type 43 was launched in 1978 on the U.S. market as the 5000 and 5000s, as opposed to other markets which were exclusively sold with the newly developed five-cylinder engines. Hence, the new Type 5000 that is consistent in regards to the appearance of the Audi rings and to the number of cylinders. The Type 43 replaced the Audi 100 (C1). The engine is throttled to 80 kW (108 hp) and is equipped with a catalytic converter. The appearance carries the massive bumper with integrated turn signals, side marker lights, and dual round headlights (until 1980); all of which were featured on the U.S. version. The color palette is less glaring than in Europe and the equipment complies with the European GL version that is for then-US relations very thin. The 5000 S has a richer features, including air-conditioning. The combined models (designated as Avant) and the two-door Type 43 were a 5000 Audi never offered and were rare in Europe.

In 1979 the five-cylinder diesel engine was offered. It was available with two trim levels (Audi 5000 Diesel and Diesel 5000 S), however, couldn't be purchased in California because it didn't meet the local emission regulations.

From 1980 onwards, the rear lights and the side marker lights are enlarged. The double headlights are now cornered, they correspond approximately to the positioning of those of the European Audi 200 . The instrument panel is changed, the instruments were altered to be those of the Porsche 928 aligned. The massive bumpers are pulled around the corners of the vehicle. In addition, a turbo version "5000 Turbo S" was offered, making the U.S. model only throttled at 98 kW (133 hp). For this model, automatic transmission was the only option. In 1982, a turbo-diesel is included in the program.

The Audi 5000 was initially quite successful in the U.S., and sold in a total number of 133,512 copies. It was, for example, 1982 in the movie ET - The Extra-Terrestrial seen in a guest role, as well as in the television series Magnum. It is marketed by the joint distribution channel Porsche + Audi exclusivity.