The Porsche-assembled Audi RS2 is to many the ultimate evolution of the Audi 80, and with good reason. However, its popularity means that the more obscure, and therefore more affordable, yet still fantastic Audi S2 is often overlooked in the search for a classic fast Audi.
Released 1991, the S2 featured a longitudinally-mounted turbocharged inline-five 2.2-litre engine derived from the unit used in its predecessor, the iconic Audi Quattro. Mated to a five-speed manual, which became a six-speed after 1993, the unit pumped out 350Nm of torque and 227 virile German horses through its permanent 4WD drivetrain. The sprint to 62 came in just 5.7 seconds, fast enough to keep many of today’s hot hatches up at night.
In fact, when comparing the stat sheet to today’s roster of ‘roided hatchbacks, the similarities to the S2 are striking. Even its second-hand prices (hovering around £17,000) are right in line with the resale value of Audi’s current 227hp AWD hatchback, the S1. If the choice were up to me though, I’d certainly pick the original. The S1 may wear a Quattro badge, but we all know it isn’t the real deal.
Visually, the S2 threw out the Quattro’s ruler-straight lines in favour of a more modern, curvy aesthetic. Thankfully, the distinctive roofline was retained, reminding onlookers of its rallying pedigree. The mega full-width rear light bar also made a return, although sadly no longer blacked out, along with one of the best looking boot spoilers ever fitted to a car. Best of all it’s not made of rubber, unlike the 944’s.
If it were my money, a 90’s bonus-point-earning Emerald Pearl S2 with cream interior would be the spec of choice. Whatever the spec though, tint that rear light bar, throw on some rally wheels, and you’ll be feeling like Walter Röhrl in no time.