Introduction - Part 2     [ Back to Part 1 ]

The Early S2

The S2 was launched in the UK at the British motor show in the Autumn of 1990. The first S2 Coupes hit the road in early 1991 in the UK but perhaps earlier on mainland Europe. The production mindset of Audi with the S2 was different to that of the Ur-quattro which had a significant hand-built contribution in the factory on its own special line and it's own dedicated chassis designation (85).

In order to keep production costs down, the S2 was treated in much the same way as the 3rd generation Coupe which had been in production for a year or so. The decision was made that the S2 would have none of the flared arches that set the Ur very physically apart from its normally aspirated siblings.

The S2 shared the same '8B' chassis code as its base vehicles for the Coupe and '8C' for the Avant. The production of the S2 Coupe commenced in September 1990 with chassis number WAUzzz8BzMA004187.

These first generation S2s were all in the Coupe format and were equipped with the 3B engine producing 220bhp (161kW). This is the same engine that was fitted to the 200 Turbo quattro (200TQ) sold in Europe and North America around the same time. The early S2 had a 5 speed gearbox and 5 spoke alloy wheels. The S2 was equipped with twin catalysers right from the start of production, in advance of mandatory UK & EU legislation. 

Click here to see the brochure for the 1991 S2 Coupe.

The first generation S2 Coupes (S2C) were equipped with the Bosch Servotronic steering system which has variable power assistance dependent on road speed. Some drivers find the steering feel to be overly light at speed and with less than desireable feedback. Many owners of servotronic equipped cars have disabled the system by disconnecting the electrical cable from the servotronic control module.

Interior equipment was based around the quattro sport Jacquard satin cloth or leather seating surfaces. Options for wooden and carbon fibre trim were available on all but the very earliest S2 Coupes which had a perforated leatherette trim. ABS, electric front windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors and heated headlamp washer units were fitted as standard, whilst air conditioning and an electrically operated sunroof were available as options. Heated seats were also an option. Other cool options were electrically operated rear window vents, a ski bag and a solar roof which powers a fan to reduce cabin temperatures when parked on a hot day.

Every S2 was equipped with the Autocheck driver's warning system and the traditional VAG trip computer system. All S2s had a full complement of VDO guages for road speed, engine speed, water temperature, fuel, oil temperature, oil pressure and alternator output. One unfortunate omission in the driver's  instrumentation department was a boost guage for inlet manifold pressure.

A beautifully sculpted 3-spoke Audi Sport leather clad steering wheel, commissioned by Personal, was fitted to all S2s. Original owners specifying a drivers airbag had to make do with a much less tactile 4-spoke affair. In later years, the airbag wheel was considerably improved with another elegant 3-spoke design.

Early Interior


Later Revisions

A revised S2 format was introduced for the 1993 model year, with build changes in the factory coming into effect from August 1992. This provided a higher equipment spec on the Coupe and a similar specification on the Audi 80 Avant to create the S2 Avant. The major revisions on the 2nd generation S2s were the more powerful ABY engine, a six speed gearbox and stiffer suspension. The Servotronic aspect of the PAS system was deleted from the S2 at this time.

An additional change for the 1993 model year came into effect for the anti-lock braking system ( ABS ). This involved the deletion of an accelerometer, a revised ABS computer and the unfortunate deletion of the console switch to turn the ABS off. The ABS cancel switch is a useful feature when driving in heavy snow, gravel or at track days when locked wheels can be desireable.

The reworked S2 Coupe weighed in at an astonishing 105kg heavier than the first generation S2. One can only summise that the extra weight came from a combination of the six speed gearbox and the new engine. 

The most noticeable visible difference in the makeover is the six spoke 'Avus' style alloys on ABY engined cars. Other cosmetic differences include projector style ellipsoidal headlights which followed in 1994. S2s manufactured from the 1994 model year also sport clear indicator lenses on the front bumper instead of the traditional orange lenses. Another item of standard instrumentation on the 1994 S2 was an ambient temperature display which was added to the instrument cluster

An on-line copy of the entire Audi UK brochure for the 1994 model year S2 is available here and a full set of specifications are here .

Much has been written (somewhere) about the six speed gearbox fitted to the later S2s. A factory recall was made on vehicles with the first six speed boxes as they were prone to failure on 1st gear. A heavier duty variant replaced the original tranny and will provide many years of reliable service. Further modifications to the 6-speed gearbox were made to facilitate the extra torque provided by the very special RS2 - A Porsche tuned version of the S2 Avant built in very limited numbers. 

So what is the difference between the ABY engine and the 3B engine? Well the ABY has 10bhp more at the flywheel and has an 'overboost' feature in it's engine management system which provides more torque under certain load and acceleration conditions.

As for the visible differences between the two engines, the ABY doesn't have a distributor and has individual HT coils on each spark plug. Wazzat mean ? No visible HT leads on the ABY... The ABY utilises a more advanced Bosch Motronic ECU than the 3B engine. More details on Motronic here

S2 Coupe manufacture ceased towards the end of 1995 in line with chassis number WAUzzz8BzTA001775.


Click here for a photo of the 3B engine (RHD)

Click here for a photo of the ABY engine (RHD)

Lets not forget one of the world's fastest estate cars - The RS2 Avant !

In 1994, a Porsche engineered derivative of the S2 Avant was created in the form of the awesome RS2 with an eye-popping 315bhp (232kW) along with stronger transmission and much beefier brakes. This was the ultimate factory evolution of the 5-cylinder turbo format. Sadly, an official RS2 Coupe was never produced by the factory, but several S2 Coupe owners have retrofitted the key RS2 components to transform the 'ordinary' S2 performance by a few more notches.

Other more serious spanner specialists have dropped the RS2 running gear into an Audi Cabriolet and an Audi 90 saloon. More information on the RS2 can be found at , but in time I hope to provide further coverage of the RS2 here...


Nor the rarest S2 of all...

With only 306 units manufactured between 1993 and 1995, the S2 Saloon is clearly the rarest S2 of all. Perhaps the rarest 'S-Car' of all since the S1 by my reckoning. The S2 Sedan shares the '8C' chassis designation with the rest of the Series 4 Audi 80/90 saloon. If you are confused about Audi VINs, check out the VIN Decoder .

Apparently, the S2 saloon was never officially imported to the UK, but it was available in those very limited numbers in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and mainland Europe.

If you ever see one in the flesh, have a good look because the S2 Saloon is extremely rare.

The very rare S2 Saloon
The S2 Saloon was equipped with the ABY engine and 6-speed box as per the specification of the S2 Avant and later S2 Coupe.



Thinking of buying an S2 ?

Check out the buyers guide

Last Updated 7th November 2002