Audi S2 Coupe
Smoother S2 was a major departure from original Quattro.
The original Quattro proved to be such a success that by 1987, there was a four-wheel-drive version of every model in Audi’s line-up. And by 1993, one in 12 customers was buying an all-wheel-drive Audi.
In the early Nineties, the biggest draw for quattro fans was the S2 Coupé, which arrived in 1991. It was the flagship of the Audi 80-derived coupé range, and the first production car to wear the S badge.
The logo was made famous by the mighty World Rally-winning S1 competition car, and has adorned performance Audis ever since. The S2 Coupé’s 2.2-litre, five-cylinder engine can trace its roots back to the Sport Quattro, and original cars produced 220bhp with a five-speed manual gearbox. Then, in 1993, power increased to 230bhp and a six-speed transmission was fitted.
With its two-door coupé body, the S2 was the spiritual successor to the original Quattro after the final version of the rally legend rolled off the production line in 1991. Clean styling ensures it looks far more modern, and it provides much improved refinement. However, there was some criticism of the design as it lacks the muscle and aggression of the original car.
There can be no arguing with the superior aerodynamics, though, as its smooth body has an impressive drag coefficient of 0.32Cd. Owners never wanted for performance, but the more modern driving experience comes with some compromises, as it lacks the purity and feel of the original. In no way could the S2 be dismissed as flawed, but any car following in the footsteps of the original Quattro had an awful lot to live up to.
Inside, the upright windscreen pillars seem close to the driver compared to more modern machinery, but despite tight rear legroom, the coupé is a genuine four-seater. Elsewhere you can see the beginnings of Audi’s now famed interior quality. The S2 brought the Audi performance recipe bang up to date and proved the performance quattro was here to stay – so the pretty coupé is well worth a place in our greatest quattros line-up.
WHY: The S2 updated the rally legend Quattro and brought it into the nineties
In this review
- 1IntroductionAudi's new RS5 has been launched on the 30th anniversary of Audi's quattro system. Here we hit the race track in 11 of the best four-wheel-drive cars has ever made...
- 2Audi UR QuattroOne of the first passenger cars to feature four wheel drive, the UR Quattro's engine, looks and handling propelled it to legendary status
- 3Audi Rally QuattroAfter transforming rallying for good, the Rally Quattro went on to win just about everything - with up to 600bhp under the bonnet
- 4Audi Sport QuattroThe 2.1-litre engine in the Sport Quattro produces 307bhp and shoots it to 60mph in 4.8 seconds. Not bad for 1984, or now for that matter
- 5Audi S2 Coupe - currently readingSmoother S2 was a major departure from original Quattro.
- 6Audi RS2 AvantPorsche and Audi joined forces and engineered the 315bhp RS2 Avant. Less than 3000 were made and even fewer were RHD.
- 7Audi A4 Touring CarFielding an all-wheel drive Audi in the BTCC gave it the notoriety it deserved. It also got 4WD cars banned from entering ever again.
- 8Audi TT SportThe lighter, tuned TT Sport turned the already great TT into a proper drivers' car
- 9Audi RS4 AvantA spiritual successor to the Porsche-tuned RS2, the RS4 Avant blends supercar power with estate practicality
- 10Audi RS6The most powerful production Audi ever belongs in this list for that reason alone