On a recent visit to London, I stopped through the Audi showroom on 75 Piccadilly. Sitting front and center was an RS6 Avant, a beastly estate which has become quite a popular family conveyance for the monied classes in the Big Smoke. Somehow, over 550 horsepower seems a bit ludicrous in a town where you’ll be getting nowhere fast. But where did all this horsepower madness start? Well, right here with this car. The RS2 Avant. This special Audi was produced in the same factory that brought us that other GCFSB favorite, the Mercedes-Benz 500E/E500. This particular RS2 Avant for sale at 4Star Classics is a rare right-hand drive example, one of less than 200 so equipped.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi RS2 Avant at 4Star Classics
Model: RS2 Avant
Engine: 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 163,416 mi
Price: £32,495 (~ $47,012 USD)
The Audi RS2 Avant was a limited edition, high-performance estate car manufactured from March 1994 to July 1995. Collaboratively designed as a joint venture between Audi AG and Porsche and built on Audi’s 80 Avant, it was Audi’s first “RS” vehicle. It used the most powerful and most thoroughly developed version of Audi’s inline-five cylinder turbocharged internal combustion engine.
Although it was not widely exported outside of Europe, the RS2 has amassed an impressive cult following worldwide, and it is often regarded as being the vehicle that finally firmly established Audi as a producer of practical high-performance vehicles. Its estate body, seating for five persons, and Audi’s trademark Quattro permanent four-wheel-drive system as standard made it usable as a comfortable daily driver, even in poor weather conditions.
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 specially modified URS4/URS6 Bosch-supplied engine management system (ECU) controlled the engine.
With so much power available, the RS2 could accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds, and achieve a maximum speed 163 mph (electronically restricted), despite weighing over 1,600 kilograms. In a road test conducted in 1995, car magazine Autocar timed the RS2 from 0-30 mph at just 1.5 seconds, which they confirmed was faster than both the McLaren F1 road car, and also Jacques Villeneuve’s F1 car of that time. Even by more modern standards, its performance is exceptional.
A six-speed manual gearbox was the only transmission choice, and Audi’s Torsen-based Quattro permanent four-wheel drive system was also standard. Porsche-designed braking and suspension systems replaced the standard Audi 80 equipment, however, the Bosch Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) was retained. 40mm 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. 17-inch Porsche ‘Cup’ wheels, and high-performance 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.
Approximately 2,200 RS2s were to be built initially, but due to demand the total was 2,891 cars built. Of these, it is believed that 180 were right hand drive cars built for the UK, New Zealand, and South African markets.
Recaro sports seats, CD player with iPod connectivity, Anti-lock brake system (ABS), Leather steering wheel, Carbon fibre trim, Power steering, Electrically adjustable door mirrors, Electrically adjustable front seats, Electric sunroof, Sports suspension, Rear load cover, Black roof rails, Clifford alarm, Alloy spare wheel.
Finished in Polar Silver metallic the RS2 presents to a nice standard overall, and is in very respectable condition given its mileage. The car is straight along both sides, and is free from any significant blemishes aside from some scuffing to the lower edge of the front bumper and the usual chips to the front end.
All the light clusters are clear and crack-free with no moisture behind the lenses. The black trim throughout also maintains a nice finish. Over the years the paintwork has indeed been refreshed, and while not quite a ‘garage queen’ this Audi remains a very useable example of a highly sought after modern classic.
The black Recaro sports seats are in nice condition with only some light wrinkles in the leather upholstery to report. Common areas such as the bolsters are free from any cracks or damage. The fascia and door cards are finished with carbon fibre, all of which presents with a glossy sheen.
The plastic trim throughout is in good order and there are no signs of any distortion or marking to the dash. Furthermore, all of the switchgear remains free from excessive wear and operates exactly as it should. The car does feature an aftermarket CD player although this is equipped with a discreet iPod cable in the glove compartment.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Proudly bearing the Porsche name, the five-cylinder turbocharged engine launches the Audi from 0-60mph in just 4.8 seconds. Power is directed to all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
The under bonnet area remains tidy and shows nothing untoward for a car of this age and mileage. The car has been well maintained throughout its life, with recent works including the cambelt and water pump replacement in 2015, just over 1,000 miles ago.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The RS2 sits on the correct 17-inch Porsche Cup wheels finished with Audi centre caps. The alloys have just been fully refurbished to the highest standard and now present as new. Between the spokes are bright red Brembo calipers, which are correctly marked with Porsche; they too present immaculately. The wheels are shod in a matching set of Toyo tires.
The Audi was first registered on the 3rd January 1995. It was supplied new by Martins of Basingstoke who regularly serviced the car up until 78k miles. With just three former keepers, it has remained under the same ownership for the last seven years.
Present in the history file is the original leather document holder complete with the RS2 instruction manual and stamped service booklet. The large stack of paperwork consists mainly of invoices, which thoroughly detail almost every penny spent on maintaining the car from new. Recently it has had a full air conditioning overhaul that included the fitting of a new condenser, compressor, and all pipe work. A raft of MOT certificates completes the documentation.
While RS Blue was the popular choice for this fast estate, there’s something about Polar Silver that is rather sublime in conjunction with the beefed up look and Porsche Cup wheels. The RS2 has been a car that has been in the back of my mind for years and even more so lately as we approach it’s 25th birthday. This gives US enthusiasts a crack at this fast five-door. The price here certainly reflects the strong pound to dollar exchange rate at the moment, but my guess is few outside of those right-hand drive countries would be interested in importing this RS2, as there are many more left-hooker examples out there to choose from. Prices are climbing on these rare Audis, even before they become eligible for US importation. That doesn’t deter me from one day pursuing this machine, wading once and for all into the Audi marque.