Feature Car: 2B S2

by: Ray Reyes, photos: 2Bennett Audimotive

In recent years, classic Audi restoration projects have been on the rise. Among them is the much loved, but quite rare, Coupé quattro. 

In October 1988, Audi introduced a version of a new three-door coupé in Europe, code name type 8B, basically a variant of the 80 type 89 sedan. When it arrived for sale in the U.S., it came with Audi’s normally-aspirated 20-valve 5-cylinder 2.3-liter engine pushing 164 hp and paired with quattro. The Coupé quattro was a very impressive machine beating out some of the then-current class models with a 0-60 in 8.7 seconds and a price tag of about $29,000.

In 1991, Audi added a turbocharged version dubbed S2, though by that point the Coupé quattro had already been slated to leave the U.S. market due to lagging sales. The S2 used Audi’s 2.3L DOHC turbocharged ADU/ABY engine producing 217 hp and boasted a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds. Since then, fans in the U.S. market have craved the performance of this highly sought after model.

Dilesh Patel is one such fan. Dilesh spent most of his youth in United Kingdom, studying in North London and then seeking a job in the automotive industry. He landed a job at one of UK’s biggest Audi dealerships, Audi Dover Court. This was in the mid ‘80s, right in the middle of the Sport quattro and ur quattro era. Group B rally racing was at its peak in popularity. It was a great time to be involved with Audi.  

During this period, Dilesh worked at the parts department and learned a lot about Audi and building these magnificent classic models. He dreamed of owning an ur quattro but just could not afford the model with his dealership salary. When the S2 Coupé arrived, Dilesh fell in love with the design because it moved away from the sharp corners of the ur quattro. Its smooth lines and less air restrictive body retained a sloping trunk that was a more practical hatchback. His dream of owning a Coupé came true when he purchased a naturally aspirated 2.3E Coupé quattro. It wasn’t an S2, but it was a great beginning of his Audi collection.

Life moved on for Dilesh. He got married, had kids and relocated to the USA where he progressed in his career, building Cal America Construction. He is now able to afford some of those pleasures that he yearned for in his youth. His daily driver is an SQ8 and even his kids have the Audi bug. He still longed for an S2, but that was a challenge given they were never sold in the U.S. After considering his options, he decided to have one built to his own taste, locating a salvaged example in need of repair and sending it to 2Bennett, the longtime vintage Audi specialists in Davis, California.

The project seriously took root in July 2020 and would involve a significant amount of parts to convert the Coupé quattro into an S2 clone. Though Dilesh didn’t have all the parts needed, 2Bennett maintains a large inventory of historic parts in their warehouse and was able to fill the gaps. 

At the heart of the build would be a turbocharged 5-cylinder. For that, the team sourced an AAN code motor like those used in the C4 S4/S6 sold in North America. 2Bennett has built many S2 clones with this configuration and AAN can handle higher levels of boost because it’s still an iron cast block. However, to fit this engine into the Coupé quattro, you must alter a few things. First, you must remove the battery tray to make room for the turbo and intake tubing. The wiring harness connector bracket must also be modified and placed where the battery tray was once fitted. This holds plugs for the injectors, hall sender, knock sensors, speed sensors, RPM sensor and battery relays. 

The project’s AAN was fully built with Carrillo Rods incorporating RS2 spec managed by a custom ECU file created by 2Bennett. A 2Bennett high-efficiency all-aluminum radiator with 500-watt cooling fan was added to keep things cool, while a 2Bennett 76mm stainless turbo-back exhaust system was installed to keep exhaust gases flowing. In the meantime, an 01E 6-speed manual transmission converted using 2Bennett adapters finished off the drivetrain.

In order to improve handling, the team at 2Bennett installed their own adjustable coilover suspension system that gave the car a sense of purpose. For stopping power, the team went with 2Bennett’s Stage 2 GT front prake system featuring Brembo calipers and 350mm slotted multi-piece rotors, while at the rear are 2Bennett Stage 2 rear brakes featuring 309 mm slotted multi-piece rotors. The car also received 5-lug 5×112 knuckle conversion kit to align it with factory S2 wheel fitment.

On the inside, the overhaul continued. Alcantara was used to trim the headliner. Recaro seats were added along with matching upholstery for the factory rear seat. An OEM S2 instrument cluster was sourced, as was carbon fiber beltline trim. The audio was updated with a stealth 10-inch subwoofer and amps. Finally, the team made a conscious decision to retain the factory air conditioning given it calls sunny California its home.

On the outside, the Coupé was fitted with S2 spec bumpers front and rear, then re-shot in its original Volcano Red factory hue. A final touch were the wheels – 18-inch OZ Ultraleggera wheels that seem to harken the later B5 Touring Car era, yet painted white to pay homage to the Group B Sport quattro.  

The net result is a highly sorted clone and just the sort of work that 2Bennett has come to be known for. Even better, it was tailored to Dilesh’s tastes in a way that can take him back to the very earliest days of his automotive passion.

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