Nostalgia Years: Cameron Gibson rides shotgun in a Audi S2

It passed me with a low yet still very noticeable grumble similar to that of an angry Backbencher in the House of Commons. It’s robust and endlessly enjoyable five cylinder engine producing a note which reverberated off the nearby buildings. As it passed, that silhouette became ever more noticeable it was an Audi S2.

The Audi S2 lived a short-life as the Audi sports-coupe that everyone wanted. Not just for its performance, but also the heritage that came with it. The S2 upheld a badge with a sizable clout; the ‘quattro’ badge. It took over from the original quattro coupe in the nineties, yet the relationship between those two cars resulted in the S2 being very nearly as exciting as the quattro. No small feat then.

All that history and engineering prowess led to many expectations for the S2; I knew of that legendary engine and well proven Quattro system,  the  good build-quality, so I was expecting a serious machine and it was. It met every one of my expectations.

As the Audi drove along, the 2.3 litre turbocharged 5 pot gave a brilliant snorting, popping soundtrack.  The engine overshadowed everything else. It gave a gorgeous noise and as it was driven along, you could sense that it could keep going regardless of what the rev counter showed, with plenty of grunt endlessly available. Yet despite the fury under the bonnet, inside it was very comfortable and quite quiet. The interior was typical Audi with clear dials, quality plastics, and full of polished wood and big supportive leather bucket seats. Despite being 20-odd years old, this Audi was very tidy. The interior was well-worn but nothing more than that, and the bodywork had little rust or dents to detract from that well balanced form.

5 pot snorting and  proven four-wheel-drive system very much similar to the quattro

I have talked about the seemingly never ending grunt, and usually such a sentence carries a warning of torque-steer, with an unruly chassis and often a car which is hard to control. Not so the S2. Thanks to a rally bred quattro four-wheel drive system the S2 seemed planted and could easily cope with the power.
So has my experience as a passenger in an S2 resulted in an all consuming want to buy one? Well, given the money to do so, it would be considered, but ultimately I’d have another Nineties turbocharged car with four wheel drive; the Escort RS Cosworth for example.

So it may not have the class or style of the timeless S2, and nor will it have a (lets be frank, the Cosworth isn’t exactly the last word in luxury travel) luxurious interior like the S2 but it does have appeal. It is a heart over head car this -a car which just oozes a carefree attitude and a lovable character. I’m sorry but the S2 just seemed a bit too serious compared to the mad Cossie. Therefore, the S2 is a serious machine, yet ultimately it is too perfect, and almost too serious to be an out-and-out B-road blaster. For that, you need an Escort Cosworth. But then again… the S2 and its predecessor, the Quattro, will be the closest most of us will get to be Stig Bromqvist.

Carefree attitude and character, but the Ford Escort RS Cosworth pipped this one to the post

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