The Audi RS2 is one of the automaker’s most intriguing performance models and Doug DeMuro recently picked up the keys to one.
In the 1990s, Audi was struggling and decided to launch a new performance car. To make the RS2 a reality, it recruited the help of Porsche and set about creating a go-fast version of the 80 Avant. This was the result.
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Porsche outfitted Audi’s 2.2-liter inline-five engine with a larger turbocharger, a larger intercooler, a bespoke ECU and a new camshaft, among others. All up, it delivered 311 hp and 302 lb-ft (410 Nm) of torque, which were pretty impressive figures for a station wagon in the early 1990s. With a 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of 4.8 seconds, DeMuro says it was so quick that it took Audi a decade to produce a road-legal car that could out-accelerate the RS2.
It’s not just the engine that Porsche worked on. The RS2 also features Porsche brakes, wheels from a 911 Turbo, and a bespoke suspension setup, again done by Porsche. In fact, the RS2 was actually built at Porsche’s factory.
So, why did Audi tap Porsche on the shoulder to build the RS2? Well, it’s quite simple. At the time, Audi didn’t have the reputation needed to produce a high-performance street car like the RS2, despite its motorsport success. By linking up with Porsche, it got the credibility it needed. As for Porsche, it agreed to the deal as it was near bankruptcy at the time and simply needed the money.