For many people, the third generation Audi Coupe wasn’t quite the match for the car that it replaced. Launched in 1988, even Audi would seem to agree; it continued to produced the original Quattro through 1991, alongside its seeming replacement. While the looks of that replacement – the 20V turbocharged S2 – were considerably more sedate than the Quattro, it was nonetheless a handsome car. Though the iconic flares and chunky styling was replaced by a more rounded look, there were many advantages to the newer cars. First off, they were considerably safer with a stiffer structure and passive safety systems to protect drivers and passengers (anyone else remember the seatbelt pretensioning “PROCON-10” system?). Additionally, the smoother styling meant the car was much quieter at speed than the Quattro ever had been. The drivetrain was nearly identical to the end of run “RR” Quattros, right down to the new Torsen differential in the rear with electronic lock. And unlike its predecessor, and though few people remember, there were three versions of the S2 available; the oft-emulated Coupe, the highly desirable Avant, and the quite rare sedan of which only around 300 were produced. But as this is Coupe Week, we’re taking a look at one of the 2-door variants, of course!
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S2 at Classic Park
Engine: 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 21,709 km (13,489 mi)
Price: E.34,000 ($38,726 Today)
The in 1990 introduced Audi S2 (1991-1996) was the official successor of the popular Audi Quattro (the Ur-Quattro). It inherited the four-wheel drive and 2.2 five cylinder 20V turbo engine of the Quattro. The output though, was better manageable for normal road use. At its introduction the manufacturer called the S2 a ”practical Supercar”.
It was once suggested that Audi forced the powerful turbo engine into a coupé body with a shoe-horn. The attraction of the S2 evidently, is not the styling or comfort, but what lays under the hood. The first series S2 B3 had a 2233 cc engine that produced 220 hp and had a top speed of 150 mph (246 km/h). The torque was 309 Nm at 1950 rpm. In 1992 the engine underwent some minor adjustments and was coded ABY. It had six instead of five gears. The horsepower increased to 230 hp and the torque to 350 Nm at 1950 rpm.
The Audi S2 ABY on offer at Classic Park, is a fine specimen from 1995, recently portrayed extensively in the German magazine AutoBild Klassik.
There were other advantages to the revised B3 platform over the B2; though the B2 looked like it should be a hatchback, the positioning of the gas tank thanks to the all-wheel drive system meant that it couldn’t actually be a hatch. That problem was fixed with the B3 and is one of the signature items of the later Coupes. There were changes over the S2’s production run; from early 3B engine codes with 5-speed transmission (shared with the 200 20V), the change to B4 platform meant new ellipsoid headlights, new wheels and the updated ABY engine with 6-speed transmission. Those Avus wheels were Speedline made, though they are often mistaken for the later similar Ronal design from the late 1990s. This particular example is one of the last made and presented in Cyclamen Pearl with quattro script cloth and carbon trim; an interesting combination, as many of the later S2s came with leather. Also interesting is that 1995 was the changeover to airbags for the ’95/’96 S2, though this car retains the non-airbag Nardi wheel often associated with the model (and awesome to hold, from experience!). Also interesting is that the later S2s are much more rare than the early cars; nearly 6,000 3B models were made, but a scant 1,570 ABY coupes were made making them more rare than the Avants. Condition is absolute top of the market, unsurprising given the only 13,000 miles this car has driven. Price, accordingly, is also top of the market at nearly $40,000. While it’s not yet importable to the U.S., this car could be brought into Canada, for example. I’ve mentioned that we’re quite close to having the first of the 3B cars importable to the U.S.; and most of these S2s are available in the $10,000 range. This one is much more expensive owing to its low mileage and pristine original condition; however, at the price point I think I’d be more interested in finding a higher mileage RR Quattro or even late MB 10V Quattro. Not as refined as its replacement, long term I think the original will be much more valued and appreciated than the ’90s Coupes. Nevertheless, this is one impressive example of arguably one of the best Audis made, and part of what helped the create the Audi S (and later, RS) brand into what it is today.
Thanks to our reader John for sharing this excellent example!