I’ll admit to a passion for fast Audis from the get-go – I’ve had an S3, a TT 225, an S8 and lately an S5 in my fleet and I loved all of them. The car that kick started my passion for the fast motors from Ingolstadt was the Audi RS2, developed in conjunction with Porsche and a stunner of an automobile.
Based on the S2 Avant (Audi-speak for estate cars) which pushed a turbo-charged 220bhp through an early Quattro system, the RS2 upped the game considerably when the 5 cylinder engine was further developed to produce an unreal 315bhp delivered through a 6 speed manual gearbox – remember this was back in 1994 and would still embarrass an awful lot of sports cars today with that figure. 60mph was achieved in 5.0 secs while it maxed out at 158mph – figures that echoed the Ferrari 456 of the day and all from a family estate!
In the engine bay, Porsche dropped in a larger KKK turbocharger, a different intercooler to cope with the larger turbo, higher-flow fuel injectors to deliver more fuel faster, a lower-pressure exhaust and a better induction system to help the bigger turbo, a different camshaft and a bespoke Bosch ECU to make all this work properly. Brakes from the 968 Clubsport provided the stopping power along with specially tuned dampers and 17″ wheels. The streamlined door mirrors were also lifted from the 968, looking completely at home on the RS2.
Other styling tweaks provided at Stuttgart included a more aggressive front bumper sporting Porsche light units and a new rear light cluster. That was about it.
The achilles heel of all 1980s and 1990s turbocharged sports cars, extreme turbo lag, was present in spades. Horrendous lag at low speeds translated into a sudden gush of boost that caught many a driver out on delivery – without the grip of the Quattro system, many of these cars would have visited quite a few hedgerows back in their prime.
And having owned and driven quite a few fast Audis, I can personally attest to the fact that understeer is a marque trait – and was quite apparent in the RS2. The main reason here, funnily enough, is actually not the four wheel drive setup but basic laws of physics – the weight of the longitudinally mounted engine is slung ahead of the front axle so the car is nose heavy.
None of these drawbacks matter to me – I’d have one of these in a heartbeat. It would look perfectly at home sat beside my S5 and wouldn’t be too far behind it on the open road either.
Audi RS2 (1994) – Vital Statistics
|Power||232 kW (311 bhp) @ 6500 rpm|
|Torque||410 Nm (302 lb/ft) @ 3000 rpm|
|0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)||5.0 seconds|
|Maximum speed||253 km/h (158 mph)|
|Fuel consumption (average)||10.4 l/100km (27 mpg)|
|Fuel type, tank capacity||Petrol, 64 litres|
|Engine||ADU inline 5 cylinder engine, DOHC, K24 turbocharger, Bosch URS4/URS6 ECU, longitudinal mounting, heavy duty intercooler, high flow fuel injectors, low pressure exhaust system|
|Cylinders and valves||Inline 5, 20v|
|Transmission||6 speed manual, CRB gearbox|
|Drivetrain||Permanent 4WD, Torsen differential|