Let’s say that the year is 1994, and you’re displeased with the paltry 220 horsepower in your Audi S4 station wagon… You need more power to carry your stuff… more efficiently. The good people at Audi, partnered with Porsche, have heard your pleas, and have decided to reward you, in the form of the 1994 Audi RS2. Visually, the RS2 takes quite a bit from Porsche, notably the wheels and mirrors, while the car has been visibly beefed up, with ever-so-slightly flaring fenders, a chunk, aggressive front bumper and more. But mechanically is where it’s happening, with the import of Porsche 968 brakes and special dampers, and of course, the engine.
The engine was still the good old turbocharged, 20-valve, 2.3-liter five-cylinder powerhouse, except that through some interesting tweaking, the power output had been raised from 220 (a very respectable number, by the way) to 315 horsepower. This made the Audi RS2 one of the fastest cars on the road at the time it was built, at any price . Of course, you could get faster supercars, but could you seat four adults and all their stuff for a camping weekend? I think not! The bottom line is this: the Audi RS2 could reach a top speed of 158 miles an hour, and a 0-60 acceleration time of under 5 seconds, thanks to the ever-excellent Quattro all-wheel drive system. Power was delivered to all four wheels through a necessarily tough but smooth 6-speed manual transmission.
With its Porsche-tuned suspension, Quattro all-wheel drive and superb brakes, the RS2 was no slouch when it came to handling, either. The only issue some owners reported was that the engine was anemic when not under turbo, suffering from massive lag, and that the kick when the turbo engaged was absolutely brutal, leading to a rash of swallowed dentures. I made that up. About the dentures.
The fact is that if you wanted to haul a lot of stuff and race Ferrari’s and motorcycles, then you could do worse than the 1994 Audi RS2.