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

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