Visit Audi Deutschland’s online configurator and you’re going to find literally a dozen RS models. That’s right, there are 12 separate RS models to choose from, varying from the RS3 Sportback / Sedan to the RS Q8. While the RS family has blossomed over the years, it’s important not to forget the genesis – the RS2 Avant.
It all started with the Audi 80, which with Porsche’s involvement, became the RS2 Avant back in 1994. Just under 2,900 units were ever made until production ended in July 1995, and today we’re checking out one of the early examples. It’s finished in arguably the most desirable color, RS Blue, and appears to be in great condition.
The speedy wagon’s owner dropped by Rad Garage for a thorough cleaning and detailing, and he also happens to have an S4 Avant (B7) with a six-speed manual bought new back in 2008. He certainly has a soft spot for wagons because his garage also hosts a 2004 RS6 Avant. His most recent purchase is an RS5 Coupe in Misano Red, so it’s safe to say he’s a big fan of the Four Rings.
Offered as standard with Quattro like all the other RS models that succeeded it, the RS2 Avant came exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox. Its Audi-developed inline-five 2.2-liter engine was heavily modified by Porsche to produce some healthy output numbers impressive even by today’s standards: 311 hp and 302 lb-ft (410 Nm).
While most of the RS2 Avant’s parts were built by Audi, the car was assembled by Porsche at its Zuffenhausen plant where the iconic Mercedes 500E had also been put together. Porsche upgraded the brakes and suspension to match the added oomph provided by the engine. When it came out, it was the fastest wagon in the world, beating even the McLaren F1 in the 0-30 mph (0-48 km/h) sprint by needing only 1.5 seconds.
The performance was great back then and it’s not too shabby even in 2020, with 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) taking 5.4 seconds en route to a top speed of 163 mph (262 km/h). However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows as the turbocharger was too brutal and handling could have been better.
While it had its qualities and drawbacks, the RS2 Avant will forever be remembered as the foundation for what was to become a long lineage of performance machines.