The reputation of the Audi firm from Ingolstadt in Germany continues to grow and we recently tested their top of the range 100 Coupe S. At just over £2,500 the machine offers excellent value and may just prove the answer to a lot of people who want a sporty fastback but cannot afford the price of a Porsche or the like. The Coupe S is certainly an eye-catching machine and, wherever it went, attracted plenty of attention. The famous four joined rings motif on the radiator gave the game away to the more knowledgeable while others guessed it to be as exotic as a Ferrari or Lancia.
The general specification is very similar to that of 100GL and the coupé is powered by the same 1,871 -c.c. engine which is a larger bore version of the high-compression, push-rod unit used in the Audi 100. This four-in-line motor is fed by a single Solex carburetter but gives an excellent power output of 112 b.h.p. Wider wheels, a higher back axle ratio and larger diameter front brakes are other improvements over the saloon. The suspension system is the same as the saloon although the wheelbase is a little shorter. A lot of people do not realise that Audis are front-wheel drive and thanks to the excellent handling and weight distribution a good number would still not realise this even after driving the car. Just over 60% of the weight is over the front wheels, which makes sure of excellent get-aways, although the acceleration is not as good as something like a Ford Capri 3000E or a BMW 2002Tii. But the Audi scores highly on high-speed cruising, which it does in a most unfussy manner. The speedometer on the test car was just the thing for either impressing or frightening the girl-friend. At its top speed of around 115 m.p.h. it was showing close on 130 m.p.h. and the rev.-counter was fast to match.
The braking is superb and there is no doubt that the ventilated front discs, which are mounted inboard, have something to do with this— just like the Lotus 72. Pedal pressure was light and there was plenty of feel.
The steering did perhaps give away the fact that the car is front wheel drive although there is a steering damper to take out the kick. Once one is used to the characteristic of initial understeer which changes to oversteer when pushed right to the limit, then one can make very fast progress along twisty roads. Brititsh drivers often find that German cars tend to have rather spartan interiors and hard seats but this is untrue of all Audis and certainly the Coupe S. All the controls arc well laid out and the seating is first class. The boot, which is larger than it looks from the outside, can only be opened from a lever in the passenger door pillar, which is a good anti-theft feature, and this is only one of several well-thought-out minor features of the car.
Also impressive was the fuel consumption figures we were able to obtain on long fast runs; 23 m.p.g. was a good average under such hard conditions and a more typical figure would be around 25 m.p.g., although 5-star fuel is best advised for the 10.2-to-1 compression ratio. There is a 12 1/2-gallon tank. The four-speed box has well chosen ratios and the change, though not exceptional, was good. Maximum speeds in the gears worked out at around 35 m.p.h., 60 M.p.h., 88 m.p.h., with the top speed, as mentioned earlier, around 115 m.p.h.
During our test the Audi proved 100% reliable over a considerable mileage and everyone who drove the machine was far more impressed than they expected to be, always a good recommendation. — A. R. M.