1994 Audi RS2 Avant 8C
Forgive us this diversion, but whisper it… other car brands do exist. Hell, there are even other Porsche models out there, and there’s every chance you’ll have one, or at least have experienced them at some point. While we’re not going to stray too far from our favourite brand here, this month’s trawl of the classifieds has seen us take a bit of a tangent because we’ve been looking at Audi RS2s.
It’s unlikely you’re unaware of the RS2, but here’s a recap – just in case. In the early 1990s Audi was keen to make a go-faster estate and asked Porsche for a bit of help. The RS2 is the product of that alliance. Porsche took an Audi 80 Avant – Audi-speak for estate – and upped the power from its 2.2-litre, five-cylinder engine by 40 per cent, to give it 315hp and 410Nm of torque.
To achieve this Porsche changed the intake and exhaust, added a 30 per cent larger KKK turbocharger, a bigger intercooler, hotter cams, new injectors and then fitted its own ECU to control it. It tweaked the gearbox, too – a six-speed manual – with the RS2’s power driving all via Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system. Porsche popped its name on the top of the engine, as well as the nose and boot lid. This was no silent partnership like Porsche’s previous 1990’s collaboration with Mercedes-Benz with its 500E W124. Like the Merc, the Audi RS2 8C would actually be built by Porsche, with the car running down the line at Zuffenhausen.
Along with the engine revisions Porsche added 17-inch Cup wheels, behind which were Porsche brakes with Porsche lettering remaining on the calipers. Inside there were Recaro sports bucket seats in either blue or silver suede, which is as 90s as it sounds. The indicators in the front bumper are also Porsche parts, as are the wing mirrors, while the red reflector bar that joins the lights across the tailgate is a stylistic nod to the 911, which at the time of the RS2’s launch would have been a 993. The RS2 could beat the Carrera to 62mph.
Audi’s official 5.4 second time was bettered in many contemporary tests, with most able to shave over half a second from that. It was so accelerative in Autocar’s performance testing that it improved on the McLaren F1’s time from 0-30mph, taking just 1.5 seconds. The top speed was a touch over 160mph, making it the fastest estate car in the world at the time it was introduced.
The RS2 gave 911 drivers a fast Porsche family car option long before the company succumbed to selling SUVs. As such, it remains a car we’re fascinated with here, and the car we’d buy and leave at our European ski chalet if we had the means. We’d be happy with a left-hand drive one then, which is handy because there are a lot more of them around, and at the time of writing we can only find RS2s for sale in Europe, with a couple in Spain and another for sale at Select Automobiles (www.select-automobiles.fr). This dealer’s example might have covered over 200,000km, but it presents immaculately and is finished in Nogaro blue, which is the must-have colour for the RS2 and the same as the car pictured above.
Normal 911 pondering will be back here next month, although if we’ve set you off on a Porsche collaboration-inspired search of the classifieds, go and read about how Porsche was responsible for designing and engineering the seven-seater Zafira for Vauxhall/Opel. That’s why, on occasion, you’ll see one displayed at the Porsche Museum, though rest assured, never again to be mentioned on these pages.