This new Audi RS3 Sportback is the pinnacle of small Audi performance. Its punchy turbocharged five-cylinder, tenacious all-wheel drive grip, and compact size give it a winning combination in the world of hot hatches. However, the RS3 is likely the last in a long line of great cars, beginning with the Audi RS2 Avant.
Back in 1994, Audi debuted that not only kicked off the performance wagon race between Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW but it also created Audi Sport. The RS2 was the first-ever ‘RS’ car and it was the car all current RS models own their existence to. But what are they like to drive back-to-back, when you can see where the sporty RS wagons/hatchbacks came from and where they are today?
Top Gear recently put both cars together to compare and contrast. And while their recipes are similar, their ingredients to vary.
Under the hood of the original Audi RS2 Avant lies a 2.2 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine that made, when new, 315 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque. It was paired with a six-speed manual transmission and proper Quattro all-wheel drive. While the Audi RS3 Sportback uses a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder that makes 401 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It gets paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and a trick Quattro all-wheel drive system, which uses a clever rear diff to make it rear biased.
Obviously, being decades older, the Audi RS2 Avant feels like it’s from an entirely different time, because it is. Its engine has loads of lag, its brakes are significantly worse, and its performance — while impressive — isn’t anywhere close to the RS3’s. However, the Audi RS2 Avant is more enjoyable to drive in many ways. It feels properly analog and alive, even when doing mundane things like popping the hood. The new Audi RS3 Sportback is immense but it’s the RS2 Avant that feels more special.
[Source: Top Gear]