Regardless of whether you prefer the term Sleeper or Q-car, the meaning is the same: a car that hides its true performance under everyday looks. There are plenty of amazing home built sleepers out there, but every so often a pure Q-car slips off the production line into the general population. Back in the 90s such a car was the Audi RS2.
To the untrained eye the RS2 was just an Audi 80 Avant with a few of the option boxes ticked.
The devil is in the details. Porsche Cup style wheels, 993 wing mirrors and indicators, and a huge air dam were clues to the RS2’s true intentions.
The RS2 was not just a ‘dealer special’. It was the result of an amalgamation of talent between Audi and Porsche – a blend of Audi’s practicality backed with supercar performance. Assembled at Porsche’s Rossle-Bau plant, the RS2 was arguably the first car to launch Audi into the practical high performance market. And high performance it was.
Porsche took the 2.2 litre five cylinder Audi engine and added a larger KKK turbocharger and intercooler. Matched with injectors and camshafts it took the power up to 311bhp. It doesn’t sound all that impressive, but mated with Audi’s Quattro System the results were devastating.
Autocar Magazine tested the car in 1995 and recorded a 0-30 time of just 1.5 seconds. This meant the RS2 was faster off the line than the legendary McLaren F1. With 60mph coming up in just 4.8 seconds very little could touch it back in the 90s.
While shooting the Drift-Moto Volvo, Nev mentioned that his brother owned a mildly tuned RS2 Audi, and I jumped at the chance to shoot it for this month’s Street Cars & Sleepers theme.
The car had just been put back onto the road after a refresh. The handling was improved with a set of H&R coilovers and all of the bushes were swapped with polyurethane replacements. The front and rear subframes are now on solid mounts, while the engine gearbox and diff have been treated to 034 Motorsport mounts.
The car came with the optional 322mm Porsche/Brembo brake set up, so no changes were necessary in that department.
Only light modifications have been carried out under the bonnet. An uprated exhaust cam, BTB exhaust system and a high boost map up the power around 380bhp.
20 valve turbo powered by Porsche. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The RS2 featured some neat touches, such as the blue and black leather/alcantara Recaros…
..With a blue weave in the carbon to match the ‘only available on the RS2‘ body color.
White dial faces tell you you’re not driving your average Audi 80.
The RS2 is a very rare car. It was only in production for a year, with just 2981 examples built. So to find one that is not only tastefully modified – but also in pristine condition – was an absolute pleasure.