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						Audi Rs2
Estate Halo Car: 1994 Audi RS2

1994 Audi RS2 Avant

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

Audi owns a pretty sizable section of the U.S. market for a European manufacturer, and their share is growing every day. People generally consider Audis to have modern looks, terrain dominating all-wheel-drive and sporty performance. But that wasn’t always Audi’s image, and many years their cars were considered drab, and reserved in styling and design. It was the relentless pursuit of all-wheel-drive perfection and proving it on all sorts of terrain that helped catapult Audi to the global stage, not to mention a few genre-bending road cars along the way. Arguably the most significant car Audi ever built, the RS2 Avant offered super car acceleration in a five-door, all-wheel-drive platform, but it would also help to save Porsche from financial ruin along the way. The RS2 was an incredibly significant car for both German manufacturers, but was never offered here in the States, making imported examples like this ’94 model on BringaTrailer.com a rare find.

It takes a very special set of circumstances to bring rival marques together on a project, but the early ’90s were a very different time for both Porsche and Audi. Essentially, Porsche had spent their last dollar developing the turbocharged all-wheel-drive 959 super car, and sales of their other models weren’t paying the bills. Production of the 959 concluded at the special Rössle-Bau production line in 1988, and so Porsche offered the facility up for contract work. Mercedes was first to take up the offer, giving Porsche a strict program for modifying E-class sedans to take their massive 5.0-liter V8 engine from the SL. Cars bounced back and forth between each facility for various parts of the project before being sold at Mercedes dealers. The last Mercedes to leave Porsche’s facility in the early ’90s didn’t quite mark the end of their financial troubles though, and the Rössle-Bau line was once again made available.

This time it was Audi who took interest in the opportunity, as the company was looking to upgrade the S2 coupe to better compete against BMW’s M-tuned cars. But Porsche couldn’t be expected to have a hand in building a turbocharged all-wheel-drive coupe that might steal sales from the 911, and so the two marques finally settled on the Audi 80 wagon platform for the project.

To transform the little Avant, Porsche fiddled with most of the Audi’s mechanical parts, starting with the turbocharged 2.2-liter, 20-valve five-cylinder. The engine was prepped for more boost by replacing the standard KKK turbocharger with a larger unit, fitting a heavy-duty intercooler, a different camshaft and larger fuel injectors. A freer flowing exhaust system was also added, in addition to a new Bosch ECU. The only available transmission in the car was a six-speed manual.

These performance enhancements meant the RS2 could accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in under 5 seconds, and more even impressive, was the 1.5-second 0 to 30 mph time. Famously noted by Autocar in 1995, this was indeed faster than the legendary McLaren F1, an honor that will always be mentioned in any summary of the RS2.

But Porsche didn’t only make the Avant fast in a straight line, they also made it handle and stop as well. The whole suspension was lowered, and Brembo four-piston calipers and massive vented brake discs were also installed. To go with the larger brakes, Porsche installed 17-inch ‘Cup’ wheels with Audi center caps.

Aside from the wheels and Porsche-branded brake calipers, the RS2 could be distinguished from the standard issue by its wide-body kit and Porsche 964 Turbo door mirrors. Special badging identifies the car as an RS2 with a Porsche callout along the bottom. Recaro bucket seats and other interior enhancements in leather and suede were also used.

Porsche constructed around 2,900 RS2s in all for Audi, and not a single one was imported into the U.S. when new. Now outside the 25-year wait time, RS2s are landing stateside and commanding a healthy premium. This example is currently up for auction on BringaTrailer.com, where it will likely be sold for between $55,000 and $60,000.

As for particulars, the car is pretty damn nice for a 27-year-old estate that’s driven roughly 165,000 miles. The seller notes paint imperfections, some areas of corrosion on the underside and other flaws, but it all seems pretty minor for a high-performance car that was actually used. Also consider that very few of these are available, especially here in the U.S., so there’s no saying where the bidding will land.

Any good list of the most significant Audis ever built ought to have the RS2 Avant at, or near, the top, and that’s good enough reason to watch this one — not to mention the performance!

The RS2 Avant has a current high bid of just over $22,000 with six days remaining in the sale. See it here on BringaTrailer.com.

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