The Audi RS2 is my favorite avant/station wagon/estate -whatever you want to call it- of all time. This is the car that set the ball rolling in the super estate genre and is the first Audi “RS” model.
Collaboratively designed as a joint venture between Audi AG and Porsche, the RS2 is based on the Audi 80 Avant and is fitted with various Porsche parts such as the 17 inch wheels, six-speed gearbox and braking system from the 968. The side mirrors and front bumpers are all clearly Porsche designs from that mid 90’s period and the blue, silver and red colour options are colours that can be found on the 911. Porsche fiddled with the motor as well and coaxed 232kw (315bhp) from its 2 226 cubic capacities.
The "RS" initials stand for RennSport (from German, literally translated as "racing sport"), and is Audi's highest performance 'top-tier' trim level, positioned distinctly above the "S" ("Sport") specification level of Audi's regular model range. RS cars are usually produced in limited numbers over a limited time scale, and pioneer some of Audi's latest and most advanced technology and engineering prowess, therefore, "RS" cars could be described as halo vehicles. Whilst RS cars generally command a much higher purchase price, compared to their 'lesser' brethren, they also retain very high residual values too.
Over the years since the introduction of the RS2 we’ve seen other hot estates such as the Volvo 850 T5R, Mercedes C55 and C63 AMG, BMW M5, Cadillac CTS-V, Chrysler 300C SRT 8, Alfa Romeo 156 GTA, VW Passat R36, Dodge Magnum SRT, Subaru Forester Prodrive, Subaru Impreza and various Audi estates such as 2 generations of RS4 and RS6 and 3 generations of S4.
Like the rest of the vehicle, the RS2's five-cylinder engine was based on a unit that Audi already produced, although Porsche considerably modified the engine; the standard KKK turbocharger was switched for a larger unit, along with a heavy-duty intercooler and higher flow fuel injectors, a newly designed camshaft, a more efficient induction system, and a low-pressure exhaust system replaced the standard fare; a new Bosch-supplied engine management system (ECU) controlled the engine.
With so much power available, the RS2 could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, and achieve a maximum speed of 262 km/h (162.8 mph) (electronically restricted), despite weighing over 1,600 kilograms. In a road test conducted in 1995, British car magazine Autocar timed the RS2 from 0 to 30 mph (48 km/h) at just 1.5 seconds, which they confirmed was faster than both the McLaren F1 road car, and also Jacques Villeneuve's Formula One car of that time. Even by more modern standards, its performance is exceptional; it could accelerate on-par with the C5 generation Chevrolet Corvette, Aston Martin DBS, Aston Martin DB9, BMW M3, Mercedes C63 AMG; and was only a tenth of a second slower to 100km/h than a 996 generation Porsche 911.
A six-speed manual gearbox (parts code prefix: 01E, identification code: CRB) (gear ratios - 1st: 3.500, 2nd: 1.889, 3rd: 1.320, 4th: 1.034, 5th: 0.857, 6th: 0.711) was the only transmission choices. Audi's Torsen-based 'trademark' quattro permanent four-wheel drive system was standard. Front and rear final drive units contained a conventional 'open' differential, and have a ratio of 4.111, although the rear (parts code prefix: 01H, identification code: AZE) also has an electro-mechanical diff lock.
Porsche-designed braking and suspension systems replaced the standard Audi 80 equipment, however, the Bosch Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) was retained. The front brakes feature either 304 millimetres in diameter by 32 mm thick radially vented brake discs, and use Brembo four-opposed piston fixed calipers, or a 'modified' option of larger discs (which will only fit under a 17" wheel) of 322 mm (12.68 in) by 32 mm (1.260 in), with uprated brake pads. The rears featured 299 mm (11.77 in) by 24 mm (0.945 in) radially vented discs, again with Brembo four-piston calipers, and the 'modified' option included identical sized discs, but merely included cross-drilling, along with uprated pads. The handbrake worked on the rears, and consisted of a cable operated 'drum in disc' system.
40 millimetres lower than a standard 80 Avant, the suspension and braking upgrades combined to give the RS2 the handling and braking capabilities of a high-end sports car; 7.0Jx17 inch Porsche 'Cup' roadwheels, and high performance 245/40 ZR17 Dunlop tyres were standard as well. In fact, the braking system wore Porsche-badged Brembo calipers, and both the wheels and side mirrors were identical in design to those of the 964 Turbo. Additionally, the word "PORSCHE" is inscribed in the RS2 emblem affixed to the rear tailgate and front grille.
A three-spoke leather steering wheel, Recaro sports-bucket seats (available in full leather or a leather/suede combination), and console materials in either wood or carbon fibre trim rounded out the vehicle's interior changes. Audi's proprietary Safety Restraint System, procon-ten remained from its donor vehicle.
Approximately 2200 RS2s were to be built initially, but due to demand the total was 2891 cars built. Of these, only 180 were right hand drive cars built for the UK, New Zealand and South African markets.
Audi also produced an S2, which was available both as an Avant (estate) and a Coupé, as well as saloon model with only 306 models built. It featured a similar turbocharged 2.2 litre five-cylinder engine which delivered 162 kW (3B engine), or 169 kW (ABY engine).
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