Iconic RS 2, powerful RS 4... Celebrating 25 years of the Audi RS models
25 years ago, the first Audi RS model was launched on the market in the form of the Audi RS 2 Avant.
To date, Audi Sport GmbH, formerly quattro GmbH, has presented a total of 25 RS models.
South Africans can experience the local derivatives to the Audi RS range at the upcoming 2019 Festival of Motoring, taking place from 22- 25 August in Johannesburg.
At Audi, the designation “RS” stands for a philosophy that is driven by a quest for top performance and perfection says the automaker. “Every RS model expresses the passion that we put into developing our high-performance cars,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH.
Audi says the RS models stand for performance, prestige and exclusiveness at the limit of what is technically feasible without any loss of everyday usability.
Many of them are pioneers in their market segments and trailblazers for technical innovations – that applied to the Audi RS 4 Avant with its barnstorming biturbo V6 19 years ago and it applies just as much to the TT RS.
RS 2 Avant to RS 4 Cabriolet: Dynamism rooted in traditionThe RS models have been making a splash for a quarter of a century – five milestones merit particular mention.
In 1994, the Audi RS 2 Avant (below) had 232kW with its four-valve, five-cylinder engine, long since in use, wrote the first chapter of the RS story. With this car, the company established the segment of the dynamic high-performance station wagons.
The quattro drive with its self-locking center differential that had proven itself in motor racing and rallying made it possible to masterfully transfer this high performance to the road.
In 1999, the Audi RS 4 Avant based on the S4 of the time introduced a new dimension in terms of power to the medium-size class. Under the hood, a V6 engine with displacement of 2.7-litres, five valves per cylinder and biturbo charging does all the work – just like in the S4. The engineers at what was then quattro GmbH developed the power unit, which was already very powerful, to give it even more vibrancy and even higher torque for use in the RS 4.
In collaboration with Cosworth Technology, the cylinder head was newly developed, the intake and exhaust ports were revised and the cross section of the air ducts were enlarged on the suction and compression sides. Furthermore, the turbochargers are larger and the boost pressure is increased compared with the S4. As a result, the RS 4 engine develops maximum power of 280kW instead of 195kW.
The second generation of the RS 4 followed in 2005. Numerous innovations, many of which originated in motorsports, characterize this generation. A standout among these was the V8 engine with 309 kW (420 metric horsepower). It was the first time that a manufacturer had relied on the combination of gasoline direct injection and a high-rev concept that allowed up to 8,250 rpm. The gasoline direct injection engine enabled improved power output through more effective production of the fuel/air mixture. In the R8, which enjoyed success at Le Mans, the FSI technology had already proven its performance in impressive style.
In 2007, the engine was also used in the first generation of the Audi R8. The suspension offered the latest generation of permanent all-wheel drive as well as the Dynamic Ride Control damper system that was first used in 2002 in the RS 6. With its asymmetric dynamic torque distribution in the ratio of 40 percent front to 60 percent rear, the refined quattro drive with self-locking center differential ensured optimum traction. The first and, to date, only RS 4 Cabriolet provided open-top driving pleasure with the background music of the sonorous V8 aspirated engine.
2008 saw the arrival of the RS 6 Avant (below), a sports car in the form of an unobtrusive business station wagon. With a completely newly developed V10 engine with FSI direct injection, biturbo charging, dry sump lubrication like in motorsports as well as the quattro permanent all-wheel drive, the RS 6 Avant put itself ahead of the competition.
With V10 engine complete with 426kW of power and 650Nm of torque, the RS 6 Avant was the most powerful series production Audi to date.
The crankcase of the V10 power unit was made in a low-pressure chill casting process from an aluminum alloy – a high-tech material that combines low weight with high strength.
The RS models in chronological order:
RS 2 Avant (1994): 2.2-litre five-cylinder turbo, 232kW
RS 4 Avant (2000): 2.7-litre V6 biturbo, 279kW
RS 6 Sedan and RS 6 Avant (2002): 4.2-litre V8 biturbo, 331kW
RS 6 plus, 353kW , limited to 999 cars
RS 4 Sedan (2005), RS 4 Avant (2006), RS 4 Cabriolet (2006):4.2-litre V8, 309kW
RS 6 Sedan and RS 6 Avant (2008): 5.0-litre V10 biturbo, 426kW
TT RS Coupé and TT RS Roadster (2009): 2.5-litre five-cylinder, 250kW ; from 2012 – plus version with 265kW
RS 5 Coupé (2010) and RS 5 Cabriolet (2012): 4.2-litre V8, 331kW
RS 3 Sportback (2011): 2.5-litre five-cylinder, 250kW
RS 4 Avant (2012): 4.2-litre V8, 331kW
RS Q3 (2013): 2.5-liter five-cylinder, 228kW ; from 2014 – 250kW ; from 2016 – performance version with 270kW
RS 6 Avant (2013): 4.0-litre V8 biturbo with 412kW ; from 2015 – performance version with 445kW
RS 7 Sportback (2013): 4.0-litre V8 biturbo with 412kW ; from 2015 – performance version with 445kW
RS 3 Sportback (2015): 2.5-litre five-cylinder with 270kW
TT RS Coupé and TT RS Roadster (2016): 2.5-litre five-cylinder with 294kW
RS 3 Sedan (2017): 2.5-litre five-cylinder with 294kW
RS 5 Coupé (2017): 2.9-litre V6 biturbo with 331kW
RS 4 Avant (2017): 2.9-litre V6 biturbo with 331kW
RS 5 Sportback (2018): 2.9-litre V6 biturbo with 331kW