Back before the Audi R8 and all of the other Audi RS models we’ve come to know and love today, Audi was just a plucky luxury car maker that made quirky alternatives to BMWs and Mercedes’. Then, in the early ’90s, Audi decided to develop a sports car that could properly take on the likes of the best from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But, in typical Audi fashion, it had to be a practical wagon with all-wheel drive.
Enter the Audi RS2 Avant.
This is the OG RS model, as it marked the first Audi to ever wear such a badge. “RS” stands for RennSport, which roughly translates to Racing Sport in German. What’s even more interesting is that much of the RS2 Avant was actually developed in part by Porsche. So the four-ringed brand’s Volkswagen Group sibling actually helped it develop what would be the beginning of Audi’s RS model line.
Under the hood was a 2.2 liter inline five-cylinder engine sporting a single turbocharger, which was co-developed by Porsche. It actually even says “Porsche” on the intake manifold and underneath all of the “RS” badges. The little turbo five-pot made an impressive 311 hp and, when paired to its six-speed manual and Quattro all-wheel drive, could get the RS2 Avant from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, which is about as quick as the new Audi S4. That’s impressive, even by today’s standards. If you can deal with the massive ’90s turbo-lag, that is.
Porsche also helped design the suspension and braking system. For brakes, massive four-piston Brembo brake calipers adorned each rotor and provided plenty of stopping power. Finally, Porsche added wheels and side mirrors from its own 964 and called it a day.
In the end, the Audi RS2 Avant is one of the cooler cars to ever come from Ingolstadt…and Stuttgart, too. It’s small enough, practical, fast, fun and good looking. You can find used examples between $35,000 and $50,000, which isn’t cheap but worth it for an absolute classic. It’s rare, exciting and will increase in value in the future. So, if you’re in the market for a classic sports car at around that price, take a serious look at the Audi RS2 Avant. Simply put — it’s awesome.