During a brief period of automotive free love, Porsche and Audi spawned a genetically superior child with super powers. That child was the RS2, a car that quite possibly holds the title of "World's Hottest Sportwagen."
We in the United States were forced to worship the RS2 from afar as it was never offered to North America. What a shame.
Based on the Audi 80 Avant, the RS2 contained much of Audi's cutting-edge technology including its vaunted Quattro AWD system and turbocharged five-cylinder engine. Porsche stepped in and assembled the RS2 in its Zuffenhausen facility where it fully massaged the engine with a bigger turbo and intercooler and enlarging the brake system. Like the Mercedes 500E that preceeded it, the RS2 was destined to become an instant classic. And with a mere 2891 example produced, they are rare as red diamonds.
This particular car belongs to Benjamin Abraham, the head honcho at PPI Design in Germany. It was sent to GMG for refurbishment after sitting in DOT limbo for two years awaiting certification.
"We completed a mini restoration of the car," says GMG's Fabryce Kutyba. "We replaced all the suspension components, performed a cooling system upgrade, replaced seals and gaskets in and around the engine, refurbished the brakes, and replaced hardware throughout the car.
"Although it had only 14k original kilometers on it, European winters are not very friendly to cars, so we went through the entire thing again and replaced all the rubber, mounts, gaskets, and so on, making sure it was 100 percent ready to go."
Whereas most people would be totally content with a "stock" RS2, both PPI and GMG (the official conversion facility for PPI) considered it merely a good starting point. The engine has been highly modded with PPI's custom turbocharger and intercooler and uprated injectors. The engine internals have been balanced and blueprinted and all the manifolds and intakes received porting and polishing. In its daily-driven mode this RS2 is producing some 520 hp while a higher boost setting (with 100 octane) nets nearly 600 hp.
You know that smooth and linear powerband of newer turbochaged Audis, the kind of thrust that leaves you wondering if there's a big block under the hood? The RS2 is nothing like that. Nothing really happens until the tach tickles 4000 rpm. In the old days this was known as "turbo lag." And when this beast wakes up, you'd best be ready for it. "Explosive" best describes its accelerative properties.
The RS2 requires considerable driver skill to master, "heel-and-toe" kind of stuff. It's sort of funny if you think about it, a car requiring actual talent, especially if you consider the majority of new drivers don't even know what a manual transmission is, let alone how to work it.
But say you manage to keep the engine on the boil, get that wastegate working overtime. Few cars are as rewarding as the RS2. There's a fantastic mechanical feel to this Audi, a pure unfiltered savagery. The harder you drive it, the better it becomes. Ultimately that leaves this Audi with a fairly narrow performance window-but a window with an awesome view.
1994 Audi RS2 Avant
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive
2.2-liter I5, sohc, 20-valve, turbocharged. Blueprinted and balanced internals, ported intake manifold and exhaust outlets, custom PPI turbo and intercooler system, custom injectors, Audi Sport Quattro intake
Five-speed manual, Sachs clutch, modified front and rear differentials (rear 70% LSD)
KW/PPI coilovers, custom antiroll bars
OEM Porsche 993 Turbo "Big Red" assemblies
Wheels and Tires
Porsche Cup alloys, 17-inch
Dunlop SP Sport 8080E, 245/40
Custom hood duct to intake
Recaro sport seats
Peak Power: 575+ hp** @ 7800 rpm
Peak Torque: 490 lb-ft @ 5700 rpm
*GMG Racing data
**100 octane "level 3" mode