- Post is under moderationESTATE OF MIND
/ #Audi-S6-JNL-Racing has created this highly-tuned 650+bhp monster of an avant – surely the finest Ur-S6 in the world… Words Davy Lewis /// Photography Matt Dear
JNL Racing's fierce 5-pot unleashed.
UR-S6 JNL Racing’s 520bhp avant
I first met JP, the main man at #JNL-Racing , at Santa Pod back in 2009. I was working on the now defunct Redline magazine and we’d got together a selection of the UK’s fastest tuned cars to go head-to-head in our Fight Club event. The premise was simple; entrants had to take part in two disciplines – a quarter mile and then a handling course – with the best overall time winning the day. Several Audis took part including Dialynx’s black SWB quattro and TTS Roadsport’s TT RS, but the one that stood out was a humble estate.
This stock-looking #1996 #Audi S6 #Avant C4 / #Audi-A6-Typ-4A seemed a bit out of place among the track prepped competition – which made it all the more impressive when JP proceeded to kick the arse out of it, laying down some impressive times in the process. All of which he did with a smile on face. Here was a man who clearly didn’t take it too seriously. However, when it comes to tuning, he is deadly serious.
Specialising in bespoke, hand-crafted cylinder head work and engine builds, JP has carved out an enviable reputation. Although VAGs feature heavily, he works on anything and has customers all over the world; working with anything from old school E-Types to the latest Japanese, European and US brands.
I bumped into JP just before we launched AudiTuner and said I’d love to feature the S6 when it was ready. It had come on a bit since the first shootout, that’s for sure. JP said he’d love a feature – especially if it made the magazine on sale in December as that’s his 40th birthday. So, here you go, JP – many happy returns!
With so many Ur-S6s pulled apart to scavenge their engines it’s not easy to find a stock car, let alone a 650+bhp weapon that’ll worry most supercars. “There are only 55 cars left on the road in the UK, and 85-90 left in total,” says JP. So what made him choose such an unorthodox Audi as a project?
“I had an Audi 200 running a tuned 10v engine, but it caught fire and I needed something else,” he recalls. “A mate had an S6 and I fancied an estate, so began looking for one. I found this one for sale for £2.5k and jumped on it quick.” From here the engine work came thick and fast as JP focused on creating a fast daily driver. “Being a daily, all the work had to be done over the weekends so that I had the car ready for the Monday school run,” he laughs.
The 20v engine was tuned with a ported head, uprated rods, a 63 hotside 3076 turbo on Wagner manifold, and SFS hoses as boost pipes. It made over 500bhp and offered plenty of fun. But, the constant flow of work on other fast Audis got him thinking.
“I built one of the UK’s most powerful B5 RS4s; I think it still holds the record on MRC Tuning’s dyno with around 780bhp and 1000Nm,” he smiles. “I did a 3.0 litre stroker kit and that car made me stop and say, ‘Why am I building all these fast cars for others and not doing my own?’” The RS4 had certainly made an impression. “You know that feeling as a passenger in a really quick car when the driver accelerates and you feel a bit sick and light headed – it catches you off guard. Well, I had that as the driver in the RS4! I decided that’s what I wanted to achieve in my S6.”
The engine itself is based around a 2.5 diesel block, which effectively created a stoker kit (the original was a 2.2 of course). Clearly a diesel block is designed to run in a diesel configuration, so JP welded up any holes and channels that were not required and added holes for the stuff he did need. Custom Pauter rods and JE pistons from a petrol engine were then added. The whole build needed to be bullet proof, so Mahle motorsport bearings were added plus a main girdle to prevent bowing at high RPMs.
Key to this estate’s sleeper nature is the fact that, to most people, it looks pretty innocent. Aside from the 9x18in Rotiforms, which necessitated the custom wide arches being fabricated by Ish and the crew at Quattro Coachworks, this looks to all intents and purposes like any other mid-90s Audi estate. This is just how JP likes it. “When I drive it through a village, people turn to see where the noise is coming from but don’t even look twice at the car – they’re looking for something that looks like this sounds!” With a 3.5in exhaust and 2.25in screamer pipe, it certainly makes all the right noises, just in a discreet package. But, as we all know, appearances can be deceptive.
Drop the hammer in this sedate looking Audi and it’ll attempt to head-butt the horizon at a startling rate. Having experienced the all out mayhem of 650bhp, JP has temporarily turned it down a few notches to an estimated 520bhp. And the rest of the car has been suitably uprated to ensure it’s provides a stable and safe ride. “It got to 650bhp with a slipping clutch, but there was nowhere you could properly open it up without getting into trouble,” he smiles.
I ask JP what it feels like when you really drive it hard at 650bhp. he pauses for thought, then says, “To be fair, I think my youngest son summed it up best when he was about ten,” he continues, “I launched it hard and he said it felt like his willy had gone into his back!” An unconventional response perhaps, but then that’s JP all over.
You get the feeling that he tells it like it is, with no bullshit. If something proves to work well, then he’s the first to praise it. But equally, if something doesn’t do what it says it will, he’ll be brutally honest. This sort of candour is refreshing in a scene that can attract people who like to make unsubstantiated claims, especially when it comes to power figures. But, JP has earned the tight to question things. He tests everything he does – often to destruction – to ensure that any upgrades not only deliver the goods, but also stay in one piece. As he says, “You need to blow things up to find the limits.
How else are you going to know how to improve on the original design?”
While there’s no doubt that JP was put on this planet to make cars go fast, he has a very specific focus. Everything must be about making the car perform more efficiently, which in turn makes it faster and more reliable. So although huge turbos combined with a remap and supporting upgrades can achieve eye watering power figures, it’s often at the expense of drivability.
“My S6 has a usable powerband from 3,250 to 8,200rpm – I see some of the German tuners with 1200bhp with cars that have nothing until 5,000rpm – that’s no use anywhere except on a drag strip,” he comments. Part of the reason behind the chosen upgrades (you can see the full list of goodies on the last page) was to show what could be achieved, without simply buying everything that’s available. “I saw so many owners on forums going on about how much they’d spent on this and that, and I thought, hang on, you don’t really need half of that.” So JP set about proving it with his S6 build. In the process it became the demo car for the business.
It’s currently running a baseline map that JP did himself, which he says was pretty straightforward using the 2D mapping of the Maxx ECU set up, “It’s easier for a non-IT guy like me!” The plan is to start upping the power again now that the rest of the car is ready to take it. ECU legend, Jonus Racing, is due to fly over to the UK to work on a bunch of cars, so JP’s S6 will be in very good hands. “This is the final throw of the dice – I won’t be re-doing this car again, so it has to be right,” he says.
As a cylinder head and engine building specialist, JP’s philosophy is to make engines as efficient as possible. Rather than simply bolting on a bigger and bigger turbos, he looks at ways to make more power off-boost with a less spiky delivery, while holding peak power for as long as possible to the redline. For those who are used to the kick of a big turbo coming in at 4,000+rpm, JP’s set ups can feel like the car is actually slower, but one look at the speedo will show it’s moving faster than the rev counter. By maximising the efficiency of the engine, including the head flow, there’s less pressure on the turbo, which in turn will be more responsive, with a wider power band – all the key ingredients of a usable, fast car. As JP says, “The proof is always in the performance – it either goes fast or it doesn’t.”
With lots of usable power, the brakes and chassis had to be more than up to the job of keeping this big estate on the road. A set of custom front coilovers were created by JP using shortened Bilstein B8 inserts. Gaz adjustable dampers bring up the rear, together with custom pig-nose springs and an Apikol uprated ARB. 2Bennet adjustable top mounts allow the perfect caster/camber to dialled in for that crisp turn in – not something usually associated with nose heavy 90s Audis. With a full complement of uprated bushes and solid sub frame mounts, this near 20-year old S6 now handles with aplomb. The Wavetrack diffs front and rear certainly help deliver the fun factor – whether launching hard or hitting twisty roads – especially with the re-timed factory Torsen unit that JP built up now giving a more rear-biased delivery over stock.
With plans to drive this thing hard on track, JP has wisely upgraded the brakes. The B7 RS4 calipers have been fully rebuilt together with high-temp seals and meaty 360mm discs. With Yellowstuff pads all round and DOT 5.1 fluid, this set up provides ample stopping power.
Inside, this mid-90s estate has been treated to a selection of upgrades befitting something with serious performance. The front seats are the first items that jump out at you. The carbon fixed back buckets look like they came out of a Porsche Carrera GT – but surely not – those things are about £500k now!? “They’re actually copies,” admits JP, “but they’re very good ones. They came out of a Porsche – I got them shipped over from LA Porsche dismantlers in the US.” The leather wrapped seats were in decent nick, although JP has changed the colour of the seatbelt guides, before having them recovered in leather and black Alcantara. They really look the part, right at home in the S6’s cabin complete with OEM carbon fibre trim. The rears were trimmed to match. One thing you wouldn’t see in a 90s estate is a 10.5in tablet fixed to the dash. This wifi-enabled device allows JP to keep an eye on the vital stats via the Maxx ECU.
Having followed the progress of this car for the last six years or so, it’s great to see it almost finished. Once the final mapping session has been completed by Jonus Racing, JP is hoping for up to 680bhp on V-Power and 700+bhp on E85. This S6 is beautifully engineered, extremely rapid, highly usable and, like JP himself, a little unconventional. We love it!
Top: One of the finest sleepers you’ll find.
SEE IT IN ACTION There are several videos of this savage #Audi-Ur-S6 being driven hard, plus some dyno footage. Head to JNL Racing’s YouTube channel to check them out – www.youtube.com/jnlracinguk
“My S6 has a usable powerband from 3,250 to 8,200rpm...”
Far right: Engine bay is a work of art Below right JNL custom inlet Bottom left Heat management has been taken seriously.
There are very few UrS6s left now, so here are three other S6 variants to consider...
Audi C5 S6 1999-2003
This 4.2 V8-powered S6 arrived in 1999 and went down a storm. The beefy V8 gave 335bhp and made all the right noises. The only downside was that tuning the NA lump was tricky and it liked a drink. Fewer and fewer of these around now and many have fallen into the hands of those that can’t afford to run them, so if you’re after one, be very choosy. Avants are more sought after than saloons.
Audi C6 S6 2006-2011
Launched in 2006 the C6 was packing a NA version of the 5.0 V10 from the RS6. This ten-cylinder monster gave it the sound of a supercar, all wrapped up in a very discreet saloon or estate. Loaded with goodies and that fabulous 429bhp engine, we’ll never see the likes of these large capacity cars again. Not cheap to run and expensive to fix, they are still very desirable. Available in avant and saloon, if you’re after one, make sure it’s been well loved and comes packed with options.
Audi C7 S6 2011-present (2017)
After increasing its capacity with every new model, the latest S6 goes back to its turbo charged roots and back down to a V8. Great news for tuners as the 4.0 V8 twin turbo can easily be cranked up to RS6 levels of grunt. A remap, full exhaust system including downpipes and uprated air filters will see you on the way to 550+bhp with more available depending on how deep your pockets are. Better still, unlike the RS6, you can get the S6 as a saloon, so you could create one of the fastest four-doors around – a true sleeper.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #1996 / #Audi-Ur-S6-Avant / #Audi-Ur-S6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-S6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-S6-Avant / #Audi-S6-C4 / #Audi-A6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-A6-C4 / #Audi-A6 / #Audi-S6 / #Audi /
Engine Re-engineered 2.5 diesel block and crank, #Pauter rods with ARP 625 plus, custom JE coated pistons, mains girdle, #ARP mains and headstuds, #Mahle-Motorsport bearings, baffled sump, #Gates-Racing timing belt, custom timing belt tensioner, secret spec cylinder head, #Jonus-Racing camshafts, lightweight flywheel, twin plate tilton for 800ft/ lb, steel crank timing belt pulley, #Vernier cam pulley, custom carbon timing cover to clear vernier, tubular #Vband manifold, 60mm #Tial wastegate, #HTA3586 m-spec with tial v-band hotside, 3.5in downpipe and straight through to twin 3in tail, 2.25in screamer with custom made side-exit, custom 4in intake filter housing w/integrated recirc pipe, custom 2 piece intake heatshield with bumper and bonnet cold air feeds, red TFSI coilpack conversion with custom coil cover, custom twin plenum intake manifold, overbored throttle body w/ Linden power coupler, billet fuel rail, 1000cc #ASNU-injectors / #ASNU injectors, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, twin #Bosch-044 / #Bosch in tank fuel pumps, custom one of header tank, custom designed breather system, electric fan conversion, lambda heatsink, Thermal velocity magma exhaust wrap, #PTP turbo blanket, 300x600x76 bar and plate cooler 2.25in in and 3in out, grille mount remote oil cooler, 50mm tial recirc valve, #Maxx-ECU running 720 sequential injection with 60-2trigger, multi-boost/fuel application, variable fuel pump speed via CAN-bus 10.5in tablet monitoring 5 x egt, exhaust back pressure, boost pressure, oil pressure and temp, coolant temp, air temp, lambda and various other parameters via Bluetooth
Transmission Custom geared 01E 6-speed, updated 1-2 slip collar, carbon 1-6 synchros, #Wavetrac front diff, retimed factory torsen diff for improved rear bias, custom 3.5in carbon propshaft, Wavetrac rear diff
Brakes B7 RS4 8-pot front calipers rebuilt with high temp seals, 360x32mm front discs, refurbed single pot calipers with custom mount 335x32mm rear discs, Yellowstuff pads
Suspension Homemade front coilovers w/custom length #Bilstein B8 inserts, #Gaz rebound adjustable rear shocks with custom pig nose springs, #2Bennett fully adjustable camber/caster front top mounts, solid front and rear subframe mounts, new oem bushes all round, polyurethane front snubmount and rear diff hanger and mount, 034 track density gearbox mounts, custom delrin/urethane engine mounts, #Apikol uprated rear ARB, custom front A#RB mounts for improved caster
Wheels and Tyres #Rotiform-Nue / #Rotiform 9.5x18in with one-off centre caps, Federal RSR 255/35x18
Exterior Widened arches front and rear, widened bumpers front and rear, debadged trim, colour coded trim, rear wiper delete, custom bonnet air duct, painted custom metallic grey/silver, front and rear cameras linked via wifi to tablet
Interior Porsche Carrera GT style carbon bucket seats retrimmed with logo and Alcantara centres, retrimmed rear Alcantara seat centres and door cards, 20v Ur-quattro custom flat bottom steering wheel with Alcantara centre, custom steering column cover, modified front speaker pods with 4in focal speakers, 17cm Alpine rear speakers, Bluetooth enabled Pioneer headunit, 10.5in tablet
Contacts/thanks JNL Racing www.facebook. com/jnlracing, www.youtube. com/jnlracinguk,
www.instagram.com/jnlracinguk, email@example.com. Thanks to Ish and crew at #Quattro Coachworks for not only doing the most amazing work but also helping to realise my vision, and of course all the friends and family that have assisted and put up with my shit for the existence of the two-ton Bugswatter, with special mention to Karl and Sean
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- Post is under moderationSPORT QUATTRO REP GET SHORTY Slick #SWB rep packs 509bhp / Stunning, 500bhp replica
This Lamborghini-coloured Sport #Quattro #replica has been transformed from rough and ready into a 509bhp, road-legal track toy.
Celebrated automotive restoration and tuning outfit, Retropower, has long been recognised as a force for good that takes on projects that start with tired, broken and rotting vintage vehicles and end with glistening, modified and mechanically sound high-horsepower masterpieces. Needless to say, we were excited to hear that the latest fettled fourwheeler to roll out of the company’s Leicestershire workshop is wearing an Audi badge.
The car in question is a #1983 quattro that at some point in the past had been subjected to short-wheel base chassis remodelling by renowned #Audi specialists, #Dialynx-Performance. The Swindonbased firm has been a supplier of aftermarket tuning components for turbocharged Audis since its inception in 1988, but Dialynx is perhaps best known for its many Sport quattro conversions.
Developed for #Group-B rallying in the mid 1980s, the Sport quattro featured an all-alloy 2.1-litre 20-valve engine sat inside a lightweight body shell comprising carbon-Kevlar panels and a windscreen rake borrowed from the Audi 80. In order to get rid much of the bulk that the manufacturer deemed to be an obstacle when competing against the rally-ready chariots of rival car makers, the Sport’s chassis was made considerably shorter than that of the ‘regular’ wheelbase rally quattro that preceded it. This ditching of metal delivered reduced understeer, more responsive handling and quicker turning, while the large body panels allowed for the use of bigger wheels and an increased track width.
A couple of hundred road-going Sport quattros were produced for homologation purposes, but buying one today will set you back a serious amount of dosh (over £100k), not to mention the horror of the associated running costs. This is where Dialynx Performance steps in – the company has transformed many factory quattros into Sport replicas over the years, resulting in what is claimed to be a car that is virtually indistinguishable from the model that it mimics.
Furthermore, Dialynx says that its replicas offer lucky owners tameable levels of performance as opposed to the uncompromising aggression produced by genuine Group B belters.
“I’m led to believe that the Audi that made its way into our workshop was the third quattro that Dialynx had converted to Sport spec,” recalls Retropower co-founder, Callum Seviour. “Sadly, time hadn’t been kind to the car, and we discovered a huge amount of work that needed to be done in order to bring it back to its best,” he says. The striking body kit applied to the race-inspired rep was just one of many areas in need of attention. That said, a cosmetic overhaul was all that the car’s owner was prepared to commission until he could be sure that Retropower’s work was of a standard that he was happy with.
“I guess you could call it ‘testing the water’!” laughs Callum’s brother, Nat. “We stripped the car, treated it to new subframe mounting points, removed and replaced its roof, built a new supporting roof frame, double-skinned its chassis legs, restored its body panels and bonded the corrected wide-arch kit into place before covering every part in a coat of primer. We were about to follow up with a lick of sparkling grey lifted from the Lamborghini colour catalogue when the quattro’s owner signalled his approval for us to start a long list of mechanical upgrades!” he confirms.
Ordinarily, Retropower would take care of any spanner wizardry and/or fabrication work that needed to be carried out on one of its customer’s cars before tackling aesthetic updates, but the instruction that it was given with regard to the Audi forced the Seviour boys to work in an unorthodox manner. “The car’s owner was thrilled with the revitalised appearance of his ride,” continues Callum. “This gave us the green light to strip and rebuild the 2.2-litre ‘RR’ five-cylinder powerplant that sits beneath the vented bonnet up-front, although requested modifications that included a relocation of the engine’s cooling system and a boot-mounted dry sump kit forced us to cut away at metal that we’d only just prepared for paint!” he groans. Nevertheless, the 20-valve lump was carefully inspected before a period of planning that would transform it into an absolute monster. Not that the work involved in achieving such a feat was as easy as we might have made it sound...
The car’s inline-five had suffered severe mechanical failure at some point in the recent past following work that a third party had undertaken on behalf of the owner. Subsequently repaired under warranty, the revised nuts and bolts were supposed to be producing in excess of 500bhp, but the condition and performance of the engine that Retropower were asked to work with casts doubt over that figure. Indeed, a sump populated by metal particles, a cracked cylinder head, a weeping head gasket, worn bearings and a mismatched piston that was making contact with a valve face all pointed towards what can be politely labelled as a ‘bodge’, and that’s without mentioning the serious lack of grunt that the car was producing under load.
“We reground the engine’s billet crankshaft, machined all piston pockets so that they matched one another, and we sourced a new head before enlarging and smoothing its ports,” Callum tells us. As many original parts were retained as possible, with CNC polishing and restoration being employed to ensure the continued use of expensive equipment that was considered to be perfectly serviceable, while fuelling upgrades included twin Bosch high-flow pumps and 1000cc #ASNU-injectors .
A Wagner Tuning inlet manifold and a chunky #Garrett GT40 turbocharger were called upon to work alongside a side-exit stainless steel exhaust system in the airflow department. Routing of the custom pipework demanded significant modifying of the Audi’s floor. Further metalwork involved the creation of a custom rear bulkhead and channelling for water pipes that travel the length of the car and back now that its cooling and lubrication systems sit in its boot space.
A roll cage was already present, but door bars and diagonals were literally left hanging. “We were shocked to see that such an important safety device was so poorly fitted inside the car!” gasps Callum. “To counter this worrying discovery, we fabricated a comprehensive multi-point cage that travels through the dashboard, triangulates and attaches itself to key structural components throughout the chassis,” he explains.
Talking of which, suspension and braking upgrades were already evident in the form of modified struts (to allow for coilovers) and braces, Koni damper inserts and Tarox six-pot stoppers, yet the Retropower touch bettered these key features thanks to the appointment of SuperPro polybushes and a Wilwood pedal box. The latter inhabits a cabin that also boasts Recaro Pole Position buckets, a flocked dash, Stack gauges and an SPA KitDash that occupies space once reserved for standard quattro clocks.
Even though the completed car is used as a track toy, it remains road legal. This surprising fact meant that its owner wanted a show-quality finish to what is essentially a motorsport body kit. To that end, masses of effort went into filling and block-sanding what would otherwise be “ripply” panels before the Lambo paint was finally splashed across the flawless build.
Azev A wheels coated in a similar shade were already in place when the Audi arrived at the Retropower workshop, unlike this awesome VAG machine’s current power output. “I’m delighted to be able to say that the car is now producing over 500bhp following the huge amount of time and effort that my team has spent on the project,” beams Callum. He’s being typically modest; despite a dyno printout displaying an impressive 509bhp and 410lb per foot of torque (delivered by a custom map on a MoTeC M48 ECU), this fantastic four-wheel drive pocket rocket has the potential to knock on the door of 600bhp if its owner ever fancies investing in a transmission upgrade.
In the meantime, running a powerful engine well below its top end abilities should result in a safe, reliable delivery of ponies both on and off the track. Retropower, we salute you!
SPECIFICATION #Audi-Sport-Quattro-replica / #Audi-Sport-quattro / #Audi-Quattro / #Audi / #MoTeC-M48 / #Motec / #MoTec-ECU
Engine: 2.2-litre I5 20-valve DOHC ‘RR’, steel crankshaft, forged connecting rods and pistons, enlarged and smoothed cylinder head ports, combustion chambers reshaped and cc matched, standard camshafts, standard valvetrain, custom dry sump system, dry sump located in boot, radiator and twin slimline fans relocated to boot space, electric water pump and controller, #ASH silicone hoses and tubes, twin #Bosch-044 fuel pumps, #ASNU 1000cc fuel injectors, alloy fuel cell, MoTeC M48 ECU with single-channel capacitor discharge ignition, #Wagner-Tuning inlet manifold, #Garrett-GT40 turbocharger, custom side-exit exhaust system, #Varley race battery, custom wiring loom.
Performance: 509bhp @ 7050rpm, 410lb/ft torque @ 5800rpm
Transmission: Standard quattro five-speed manual gearbox, quick shifter
Suspension: Standard struts modified with coilover conversion for adjustable ride height, Koni damper inserts, SuperPro polybushes throughout
Brakes: Tarox six-piston front calipers, Audi RS4 rear calipers, Sport quattro discs, Ferodo DS3000 pads, Wilwood pendulum bias pedal box
Wheels: 8x16in #Azev A five-spokes, Toyo Proxes R888 225/45x16 tyres
Exterior: #Dialynx-Performance shortened quattro shell, replica Sport quattro enlarged body kit, modified floor for exhaust and coolant pipes, full respray in Lamborghini Grigio Estoque
Interior: Fully stripped, #Recaro-Pole-Position bucket seats, custom multi-point roll cage, fuel and oil lines throughout cabin, electro-hydraulic power steering pump positioned behind driver seat, battery positioned behind passenger seat, flocked dashboard, SPA KitDash, electric water pump ECU mounted on dashboard, aluminium false front floor panels, all new wiring, steering column stalk deletion, custom switch panel, Stack gauges, start button and kill switches
Thanks: Callum and the team at Retropower www.retropower.co.uk
Top: Moody front end shot.
Above: Flocked interior and lots of custom switches Below: Looks fantastic side-on.
Above: That iconic front end Right: the 5-cylinder powerhouse Below: It’s all in the details.
Above: Bumper cut out for air flow.
Below: Slimlime rads moved to the boot.
“We sourced a new head before enlarging and smoothing its ports”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationUltimate Sleeper 668bhp S2-engined 90 quattro. Words and Photography Davy Lewis. 80s Revival With the help of a 668bhp S2 engine, this rare #1986 Audi 90 has been brought slap bang into the 21st century. AUDI 90 668bhp S2-engined sleeper.
At first glance, this may look like a fairly stock and well used Audi 90. This in itself is worthy of attention as there are very few of these mid-’80s saloons left. It’s also a quattro, which makes it even more of a find. The simple, boxy design is everything you’d expect from a 30-year old car – it has the original paintwork and that distinctive smell that only an old car can have. But look more closely and all is not as it seems. The clues are there: the Aerocatches on the bonnet; the motorsport style wheels and those sticky Toyo R888 semi-slicks. But it isn’t until you see the engine that you realise just how special this thing is.
Lift the bonnet and you’re greeted by a fantastic looking 2.2 5-cylinder 20v lump complete with big turbo. These saloons may have originally come with a 2.2 unit but, the normally aspirated KV lump made a lowly 136bhp. This one produces 668bhp. This is actually an S2 3B engine, and to say that it’s been tuned is an understatement. Will from VRS Northampton has completely transformed this 5-cylinder unit to create a big-power, but highly usable car that fits Stuart’s Elliott’s driving style.
Stuart takes up the story, “I’ve loved Audis since my dad had them,” he recalls. He had a 100, then a 90, before getting a 90 quattro, which I learnt to drive in,” he says with a big grin.
While his mates were driving old Mk2 Escorts, he had the keys to the quattro, which must have really been something back then. Fast forward 20-odd years and Stuart was in a position to relive his youth. “I was working offshore and stared looking on eBay for 90 quattros,’ he says. “I found one that had already had the S3 3B engine conversion – it looked a bit rough and had a stock gearbox, brakes and suspension but, I put a bid in.”
Being six hours ahead he won the car and called his dad to go and pick it up for him. We all know eBay purchases can bite you on the arse, but the car was as described. It was also well known on the S2 forum, so there was a wealth of info available. “I came home and drove it for 100 miles or so just to see what it needed,” says Stuart. “It was running about 280bhp, but with stock brakes and suspension, that wasn’t a good thing,” he laughs.
Having decided the car deserved some proper love, it was sent to a company who ‘talked the talk’ for some renovation and tuning work. Sadly it then sat there for a year and made no progress. Having bought an uprated radiator from Will at VRS Northampton, Stuart told him about his predicament and Will told him to bring it to him. That was the best decision Stuart could have made.
VRS has a great reputation for building some of the most capable VAGs in the UK. Main man, Will, takes real pride in each car and this 90 became a true labour of love.
“We decided to start from the arse-end and work forward to see what needed doing,” says Stuart. “I’d already had some welding done to the offside rear arch and the fuel pump area,” so the upgrades could begin.
“The plan was to create a quick road car with 500-600bhp that looked stock, but could have a go at Porsche 911s and the like,” smiles Stuart.
To say he’s nailed it is an understatement. In fact, I can’t think of many other cars that offer such ballistic performance, all wrapped up in such an innocent looking package.
The heart of this ’80s powerhouse is the S2 engine. It was actually fitted by a previous owner, but has been completely reworked by VRS. You can see the full details in the spec panel at the end of the feature, but the highlights include a fully forged bottom end, beefy GTX3576 turbo, huge 1100cc injectors and a feature packed MoTec ECU mapped by the legend that is, Dave Rowe, from EPS. “There are nine boost settings,” says Stuart. “One to six are for regular super unleaded pump fuel; while seven to nine have advanced timing to allow race fuel to be used.” With nine different maps, there’s something for every situation, making this a very usable and drivable car. “You can just do 30mph with no bother,” says Stuart “and it’ll cruise in sixth on the motorway fine – you don’t get out of it with a headache!” But when you do want to drop the hammer, this 5-cylinder monster delivers a huge punch. Stuart continues, “Using it in the gears it’s savage – in third gear acceleration is brutal and it’ll hit 100mph plus (on a private road of course). A powerful engine is one thing, but unless you can get that power down, it’ll never make for a truly fast car. Fortunately, the chassis and drivetrain has been suitably beefed up to cope with all 668bhp.
To transfer the power to the road, a B5 RS4 gearbox has been fitted. Mated to a VRS Northampton-spec 6-paddle clutch and flywheel, this thing properly hooks up and goes. With launch control and Toyo R888 rubber, acceleration is mind blowing. On many shoots it’s hard to get a feel for how a car actually performs, but as we’re at Santa Pod for the GTI Festival, I get to watch Stuart take it down the strip.
Before Stuart hits the quarter-mile, he spends a few minutes prepping the car. By prepping, I mean removing seats. The rear bench is taken out, followed by the passenger leather Recaro. Incidentally, the front seats are from an RS2 and as Stuart says, “weigh a bloody ton!”
He’s the first to admit he launches it sympathetically, but once it gets into its stride, this thing is quick. A few runs in the high 11s are respectable but, we all know there’s more to come. After a quick chat with Will from VRS, Stuart uses launch control and nails an 11.1sec pass. Impressive stuff – more so when you consider he then drove over 200 miles home afterwards. With some more practice, and an aggressive launch, this thing has the potential to dip into the 10s – seriously impressive for a full road car.
As he waits in the queue for his next run, Stuart spots a very tidy looking Ur-quattro and stops to chat to the owner. It turns out they know all the same people from the quattro Sport and S2 forums and spend a good 20 minutes chatting about their plans. Before long there’s a small crowd of onlookers. Seeing these two cars together is a rare treat; from middle-aged guys who owned one back in the day, to younger fellas that have been seduced by the iconic lines – everyone loves these ’80s treasures.
The chassis has seen some extensive work to create something with contemporary handling. There are no off-the-shelf coilovers available for these things, so rather than go to the trouble and expense of having a bespoke set created, Stuart fitted S2 subframes. These allowed the well respected KW Variant 3s to be added. With two-degrees of negative camber, the turn in is crisp and sharp, making the already capable quattro handle amazingly well.
The paintwork is best described as original. It has a certain patina that adds to the overall character of this car. There’s the odd mark and rust spot, but it’s authentic. Plus this saloon gets used. Hard. Although Stuart is planning to have a few bits tidied, it’ll remain original. “It still had the tow bar on until two weeks ago!” he reveals, “I only removed it cos it weighs 20kg.” Talking of weight, the kerb weight on this thing is just 1200kg. That gives a power to weight ratio of 556bhp per ton, that’s better than a Ferrari 458 and a McLaren F1.
So what’s next for this 1980s sleeper? Well, after five years in build, Stuart plans to use it as much as he can. That means more quarter-mile runs, some track days and plenty of cross country runs on the road. “I’m going to have the leather removed from the front seats too,”says Stuart. “I’m not a fan of leather, plus these things get hot inside,” he laughs. With some tweed cloth to match the rears, this Audi 90 will look even more period correct, further cementing its status as one of the UK’s finest sleepers.
It’s so good to see a car like this being kept alive, but more than that, being given a new lease of life thanks to modern tuning upgrades to create an absolute weapon.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-90-Saloon / #1986 / #Audi-S2-3B / #Audi-90 / #Audi-90-B2 / #Audi-Typ-81 / #Audi-Typ-85 / #VAG / #Audi-80-B2 / #Audi-80 / #Quattro /
Engine S2 3B 2.2 20v turbo, overbored 0.5mm, #Mahle pistons, forged steel rods, ported cylinder head, VRS-spec cams, stock valves with 5 angle seats, #ARP head bolts with sport #Quattro washers, VRS custom fuel injector rail, #ASNU 1100cc injectors, Audi 7A cam cover machined to accept B7 RS4 coil packs, ARP studs and nuts, #Wagner inlet and exhaust manifolds, #Turbosmart 50mm wastegate, 4-port boost control, #GTX3576 turbo with 0.82 housing, #VRS custom stepped ‘L-shaped intercooler with lightweight core, Turbosmart BO V, #CatCams vernier pulley, motorsport kit sensors – fuel, oil, 4 bar map sensor, custom 65mm core rad, Kenlow fan, custom heat shielding, carbon/Kevlar cam pulley cover, custom VRS 3in exhaust and downpipe, 19 row #Setrab oil cooler, #Aeroquip fittings, VRS custom breather tank, #Motec-M84 SLM shift light, #MoTec-M84 ECU / #Motec , custom loom, mapped by Dave Rowe from #EPS-Motorsport , 9 position adjustable boost, launch control, 2 stage anti-lag, full logging facility, custom VRS strut brace
Power 668bhp and 519lb/ft DIN (tested)
Transmission 6-speed B5 RS4 gearbox, VRS-spec 6-paddle clutch and flywheel, 16-row Mocal gearbox cooler just in front of drivers rear wheel
Brakes Brembo custom calipers with 314mm discs (front), vented S8 mix rears
Suspension KW Variant 3 coilovers, S2 Coupe ABY subframes front and rear, Powerflex bushes, 2-degrees negative camber
Wheels and Tyres Compomotive TH with Toyo R888 tyres
Interior Leather RS2 Recaros up front, OMP dished suede steering wheel, SLM shiftlight, boost gauge, controls for launch control and anti-lag built into centre console, battery relocated to boot, fire extinguisher
Exterior 1985 4-door Audi 90 saloon, Aerocatches on bonnet, front slam panel modified to fit intercooler, original paintwork
Contacts/thanks Will at VRS Northampton www.vrsnorthampton.com, Dave Rowe at #EPS-Motorsport
www.epsmotorsport.com, my missus, my mum and dad, S2 and Classic Audi forums
Top: Stuart on his way to an 11.1sec quarter.
“It still had the tow bar until two weeks ago!”
Left: Interior includes RS2 seats Above right: 668bhp S2 power house Below: Classic ’80s profile.
Far right top to bottom: #MoTec-ECU in glovebox; gauges and controls for LC and ALS.
“Using it in the gears it’s savage – in third gear, acceleration is brutal”
POWER TO WEIGHT
To appreciate just how fast this Audi 90 is, have a look at these power to weight comparisons. With up to 500kg less to pull around, but similar power, the 90 would be at a huge advantage over these £100k plus supercars...
2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S 991.........................344bhp per ton
2016 Ferrari 458 Speciale..........................470bhp per ton
1992 McLaren F1.......................................550bhp per ton
1986 Stuart’s Audi 90.................................556bhp per tonStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.