The invention of the high performance estate.
This legendary collaboration between Audi and Porsche struck headlines in 1994, boasting supercar performance from a luxury estate car. Based on the ageing Audi 80 platform, this was Audis send off for the 80, and the start to the now ever-so-competitive large performance estate car category. With cars such as the Mercedes-Benz 500E, Volvo 850 T-5 and BMW M5 E34 released a few years earlier, Audi was not only desperate for some attention, but also wanted to produce a car that could be as practical as any other, but would boast performance that would be second to none; so who better to go to for some advice, than the famous Stuttgart-based firm, Porsche.
Together, they created a parts-bin-special hybrid between the likes of the Porsche 911 and the Audi 80. This may sound strange, but the car almost feels like a two-decade old Panamera Sport Turismo, with seemingly bolt-on rear view mirrors and indicators taken from the Porsche 993, Porsche Cup wheels, a large Porsche badge embedded onto the air intake, and brakes taken from the 993 Turbo, with the Porsche logo even left on the red brake calipers. This car, although displaying the iconic four rings front and back; in many ways, it was a Porsche Panamera before Porsche even made a non-coupe car.
Audi was so proud of the RS2, they designed a signature badge just for it, featuring the Audi and Porsche logo in a design pattern similar to the badge for the S2, and it would later shape the future of the red Audi performance badging system.
Don’t let the large estate body fool you. This car could move… Seriously move… A 0-100km/h figure of an incredible 4.8 seconds meant a mere 0.3 seconds off the 911 Turbo of the time, and to put that into a modern perspective, that means matching the acceleration of a brand new Subaru WRX STI or Volkswagen Golf R. Back in 1994, waves of car enthusiasts were left in awe after hearing that the incredible new Audi RS2’s 0-50km/h figure was recorded at just 1.5 seconds (yes you read that right), making it quicker to 50km/h than both the McLaren F1 and even some Formula One cars of the era! And to top it all off, it still had cruise control and electric heated seats!
232kW of power was produced from a 2.2 litre turbocharged Audi inline-5 engine, heavily modified by Porsche, modifications including adding a larger turbocharger and new intercooler, a new engine timing system, a redsigned camshaft and an improved exhaust system. This tuned up engine was mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and delivered through Audi’s trademark torsen-based Quattro system, creating a car that not only accelerated fast, but handled like nothing else of its time.
Now available for legal import into the United States, this makes it the USA’s 2nd available Audi RS Estate car after the 2020 Audi RS6.
The Audi RS2 is the car that not only brought about the community for RS Avants, but it created a market for high performance estate cars, which to this day, due to the RS2’s feat of engineering, puts Audi a step ahead of every other carmaker in the race to make the best high performance estate car.
Happy birthday, Audi RS2. Here’s to 25 years.