Audi Sport Celebrates 25 Years Of Its RS Range Of Crazy Performance Family Cars
When it comes to extremely quick all-weather high-performance cars there are few major manufacturers out there who do it better than Audi, with its RS range of all-wheel-drive stealthy speedsters. It all started back in 1994 with the very first Audi RS2, a car developed with input from Porsche. The RS2 offered game-changing performance potential on just about any surface thanks to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system with its self-locking center differential. The characterful 311hp turbocharged 2.2-liter inline five-cylinder engine and estate body style made it the perfect daily-driver sports car.
This first RS model set the template for a range of powerful and practical cars that so far consists of 25 RS models, with a further six to be introduced in 2019 alone. Other notable milestones along the way include the 1999 RS4, which utilized a 2.7-liter V6 developed in collaboration with Cosworth, developing 375hp, and the second-generation RS4 of 2005, which returned to a high-revving naturally-aspirated 415hp 4.2-liter V8 (essentially the same engine that was used in the first-generation R8 models).
More recently the 2011 RS6 Avant showed that the Germans had a sense of humor too. Why else would they fit a twin-turbo 5.2-liter V10 into what was essentially a family car? This monster made 572hp and 479lb ft of torque out of the factory and a whole lot more once the tuners had got their hands on it.
Emissions regulations have since put a stop to such large capacity lunacy but advanced technology has come to the rescue and today’s 4.0-liter V8s produce even more power than the V10 did: the performance version of the RS7 Sportback is now up to a supercar scaring 600hp. The venerable five-cylinder design originally used in the RS2 has also been developed and refined to the point where it now produces 395hp in the RS3.
Impressive engines aside, Audi has frequently deployed its latest technologies in RS models such as Dynamic Ride Control and ever more capable versions of its Quattro AWD system. To celebrate these models Audi has an exhibition of various RS rarities on display at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm, Germany.
Images courtesy of Audi