The S2 Niggles

Not much to say in this section but there are a few niggles on the S2 worth noting :

Brakes - Everybody's favourite subject! The standard brakes on the S2, when properly and regularly maintained, give adequate stopping performance for normal road use. However, they do not stand up well to prolonged periods of abuse such as track days. The root cause is that little margin was designed into the standard brakes for enthusiastic driving. The sheer weight of the S2 is a major factor in consideration of the stresses endured by the brakes.

This trait is generally true for all of the formative members of the 'S-car' family, including the UR-quattro which preceded them, until the introduction of the mighty RS2 and the huge braking improvements made on later models such as the bi-turbo S4, S6 and the silken S8.

Fortunately, improving brakes on the S2 is fairly straightforward with a good range of aftermarket pads, discs and calipers. More about this in the Technical section.


Guages - For some confounded reason, the graduations on the oil and coolant temperature guages are in bizarre increments which are tricky to read accurately with a quick glance away from the road. In addition, the console located near the gearshift does not have the guages angled towards the driver unlike those in the earlier vintage of Coupe quattros. Furthermore, traditionalists may also have preferred the light-grey coloured backgrounds on the dials to have been an option rather than standard equipment.

While we are moaning about guages, let's get a dig at the Audi engineers who decided NOT to equip the S2 with any form of boost guage. Sure they had their technical and cost-saving reasons, but it is annoying that the Ur-quattro and UrS4/S6 were built with boost guages fitted as standard equipment. Pity it wasn't even an optional item at extra cost on the RS2. No wonder then, that the cry of 'where is the best place to fit a boost guage on the S2' is one of the most frequently asked questions...


Tailgate - Well known for creaks and leaks on all the series 3 Coupes apparently, but the late series 4 models were much improved after design & adjustment changes were made over time. There is more information on the N.American 20V CQ site. Leaks into the luggage area are much more common on older S2 Coupes (MY91 & MY92).

Some owners of these older cars have found ingenious ways of curing the leaks e.g nipping a small hole at each  bottom corner of the seal fitted to the car body (not the tailgate door). This lets water trapped in the seal run to the outside of the car and greatly reduces the chances of it running into the luggage area.

The Coupe tailgate has two other curious annoyances. Firstly you cannot lock or unlock all the car doors with the key at the tailgate. Secondly, the tailgate lock mechanism can occasionally stick - forcing someone (usually me) to crawl into the boot and crank it open by hand.

Some owners have found that the root cause of leak problems has been the body sealer around the rear light clusters which loses effectiveness over the years.


Ambient Temperature Display - It seems that failure of the ambient temperature display is not uncommon on the S2. It was an option on the early S2 and other 80/90 models, but it became standard S2 equipment for the 1994 model year. This sub-system is ridiculously expensive to repair at your local Audi dealer with prices in the region of eighty pounds for the display unit and over fifty pounds for the sensor. The latter can simply fail due to its perennial exposure to the elements in a location just below the left headlight. The most common failure is the illumination bulb inside the display module - this can be replaced for pennies if you are not afraid of a screwdriver and a soldering iron. The Technical section at S2 Central covers this topic in great detail...

Radio/Stereo System - In Europe, the S2 was fitted with the Blaupunkt Gamma radio/stereo. An optional CD player in the boot was also available. Audi UK decided that British owners weren't going to like the Blaupunkt system and various Sony models were fitted by UK dealers. Unfortunately, none of the Sony models support the rather clever interface on the Blaupunkt which allows RDS information to be displayed on the Autocheck system. Annoying isn't it ?

Occasionally, one can find the Gamma radios fitted on EU models on auction sites such as eBay, but they often fetch premium prices.

Air Conditioning - This optional extra is nice to have but not really necessary for the British Isles (more's the pity). Faults in the aircon system, usually caused by leaks, are not uncommon for any ten year old car but the S2 is no different in this regard. The main 'niggle' with the aircon system is that UK owners once again got a raw deal from Audi in that they were all fitted with the manual aircon system which has three rotary controls. Cars in Europe have the much more elegant (and easy to fault-find) electronic climate control system. I think this niggle applies to all RHD S2 cars as it was also the case for cars exported to Australia.

Update on Aircon - I am working on a means to retrofit the digital climate system into the RHD Audi 80 / Coupe. Watch the technical pages for more on that...

Lights - The dipped headlight beams on the early cars are particularly poor as they greatly limit the cars dynamic abilities in the dark. The problem is often down to fusty reflectors which can be replaced on the early headlight units. The ellipsoidal or 'projector' headlamps fitted from 10/93 are an improvement on the older design, but the dipped beams still lack clarity and range. Reflectors are not available as spare parts for the projector headlights.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting kits are available at high cost (approx GBP 350 - 500) for those interested. Other owners have created their own kit with HID components sourced from other cars at lower cost (approx GBP 250). HID lighting is approx 50% brighter than convential halogen technology. Another subtle advantage of the HID system is that there is much less of a drain on the alternator (and ultimately the engine) in comparison to standard halogen bulbs. Details on this hot topic will be added to the site soon.

Last Updated 2nd September 2008