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OPINION WANTED : Audi as a "consumer" vehicle (long)

Sorry for a somewhat indescriptive choice of the subject line --- this is 
the best I can do to describe my question. Basically, in a few words, if
you are not an Audi enthusiast (which I am --see below) and just wanted to
buy a car to transport yourself to work and back every day and travel ---
would you choose an Audi ( or vW, for that matter --- a passat is a #2 on
our list)   over a Honda or a Toyota or whatever else  90% of the
population of North Carolina owns. 

My wife and I are thinking about getting a second car. For the first time (
we have been through 3 cars so far) we are planning to spend more than
$900.00 ( the price we paid for every vehicle we owned so far except for
one, which I "bought" from a co-worker for a lunch ). Our current car is a
1984 4KS. The two main reasons  for getting a newer car are

1. We need a bigger car for trips
2. Our 4K is way past 250,000 (don't know how much because of the dead

The problem is, in the next few years, I will not be able to afford
(timewise) to have a car as a hobby. This means, for instance, that almost
all the work will have to be done by a shop.  I have reasonable mechanical
skills ( I work in experimental low temperature physics lab) and during the
first year  that we had the 4K invested several weekends in bringing the
car in shape ( mostly front end suspension and breaks). Aside of that, and
a really UGLY AT problem 2 years ago ( $1000,00 and 6 months without a car)
the car has been essentially trouble free
and, from that prospective, is a wonderful "consume" vehicle. 

Here come my questions:

Can I expect a similar reliability record from newer Audis ( I am
interested in particular in non-quattro 100 and 200, 89-92 years)

Is the average cost of ownership of an Audi ( it being somewhat a luxury
vehicle) higher than that of, say Honda Accord of a similar year? How much
do you spend per year on car repairs? I am not planning on buying parts
from a dealer and I know enough to be able to shop in places selling
refurbished parts.

Does an "economy" version of a 100 exist? I would like to see a 100 with as
few electrical amenities (such as seat ajustments) as possible. Also, could
someone tell me during which years Audi 100 was available with 5 speed ---
I am not buying an automatic ever again in my life.

One major reason to be looking at Audis for us is the handling and
drivability which our car offers. My wife is very sensitive to low
frequency "floating" feeling of many american made cars. An hour long trip
in a Chevy Blaser makes her really sick. The 4K seats are substantially
more comfortable than those in japanese cars. Question is ----

Can we afford owning an Audi ( say 5-8 years old with 100K miles or less)
and not a mass-market car under circumstances when we cannot do any
mechanical work on the car ourselves any longer ?

All opinions are appreciated.