The performance elite
Celebrating 25 Years of the Audi RS cars.
Renowned for their unique combination of high-performance, absolute luxury and everyday drivability, the famed Rennsport brand turns 25.
18 July, 2019
Every RS model expresses the passion that we put into developing our high-performance cars
They are performance specialists – a group of cars that take performance and luxury to new heights. The Audi RS models are the very pinnacle of their respective model lines and are coveted around the world by motoring aficionados. Particularly in Australia, a market where the appetite for the Rennsport models knows no bounds, with Australia consistently ranked in the top five RS markets worldwide.
Born 25 years ago, the RS brand, which stands for Rennsport, or motor sport has gone from strength to strength, introducing supercar performance and absolute luxury to cars that can be driven every day in the cut and thrust of city traffic.
For those who know their cars, these models standout out, with the more aggressive styling and sheer presence, but even to the casual observer, there’s something ‘special’ about these cars even without seeing the subtle RS badging.
“Every RS model expresses the passion that we put into developing our high-performance cars,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH.
“For 25 years, our customers have been experiencing the RS models as masterful companions for everyday life that convey pure emotion and maximum driving enjoyment.”
In 25 years and as many models, there have been numerous milestones, but several deserve special mention. The first Audi model to wear the now coveted badge was the Audi RS 2 Avant in 1994, a wagon configuration of all things, that boasted 232kW and essentially changed the way people looked at wagon or Avant models forever.The quattro drive with its self-locking centre 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 bonnet, a 2.7-litre V6 engine with five valves per cylinder and biturbo charging did all the work. The engineers at what was then quattro GmbH, gave it even more vibrancy and even higher torque for use in the RS 4, working with Cosworth Technology on a new cylinder head as well as modifying the intake and exhaust ports. Additionally, the turbochargers were larger and the boost pressure increased over the S4 and as s a result, the RS 4 engine developed maximum power of 280kW as opposed to 195kW.
With the second generation of the RS 4 in 2005, numerous innovations, many of which originated in motorsports, characterised the generation. A V8 engine with 309kW marked the first time a manufacturer had relied on the combination of petrol direct injection and a high-rev concept that allowed up to 8250rpm. The petrol direct injection engine enabled improved power output through more effective production of the fuel/air mixture. This FSI technology had proved itself in the original R8 at Le Mans, so 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 centre differential ensured optimum traction.
With the second generation of the RS 4 in 2005, numerous innovations, many of which originated in motorsports, characterised the generation
The awesome RS 6 Avant arrived in 2008, sporting a newly developed V10 engine with FSI direct injection and biturbo charging
The awesome RS 6 Avant arrived in 2008, sporting a newly developed V10 engine with FSI direct injection, biturbo charging, dry sump lubrication and quattro permanent all-wheel drive. 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 aluminium alloy – a high-tech material that combines low weight with high strength. The cylinder liners of the connected crankcase were mechanically exposed, with the result that the entire engine weighed only 278 kilograms.
In 2011, the RS 3 Sportback was launched, with a five-cylinder engine boasting 250kW, followed in 2013 by the RS Q3 bringing RS performance to the SUV class. It was powered by the transversely installed 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, as used in the TT RS and RS 3. Initially, it produced 228kW, but this increased to 250kW from late 2014, with the revised RS Q3 performance in 2016 taking that figure to 270kW.
In addition to their extraordinary power and performance, each RS model is, as you would expect, demonstrates superb handling, boasting a raft of innovations in that department including, innovative Dynamic Ride Control damper control system first used in 2002 in the RS 6.
Then there is the RS sport suspension which is available in the current RS 4 Avant and RS 5 Coupé and Sportback models and features Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), and a three-stage variable damper response.
Of course none of this performance comes at the expense of comfort or the very latest in automotive technology and connectivity. While the driver is well catered for, so too are the occupants of these cars which are as luxurious as they are exciting.
For those planning a trip to Germany in the coming weeks, an exhibition marking the 25 glorious years of RS is currently on show at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm, with14 genuine RS rarities along side the more familiar RS models. Among them is also the racing car version of the Audi TT RS from 2011 that was developed for the factory-backed commitment at the Nürburgring, the RS 5 DTM race touring car that was triumphant in the 2013 season as well as a prototype of an Audi RS 8 that did not go into production. The exhibition also features an RS 4 Sedan that received a highly exclusive paint finish by the Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto.
There are currently seven RS models in the lineup, with several completely new models set to join the ranks in the very near future. So while the brand celebrates a milestone, the next exciting chapter is poised, ready to be be written in the annals of high-performance motoring.
For those planning a trip to Germany in the coming weeks, an exhibition marking the 25 glorious years of RS is currently on show at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm
The RS models in chronological order:
- Audi RS 2 Avant (1994): 2.2-litre five-cylinder turbo, 232kW
- Audi RS 4 Avant (2000): 2.7-litre V6 biturbo, 279kW
- Audi RS 6 Sedan and RS 6 Avant (2002): 4.2-litre V8 biturbo, 331kW; from 2004 – RS 6 plus, 353kW, limited to 999 cars
- Audi RS 4 Sedan (2005), RS 4 Avant (2006), RS 4 Cabriolet (2006): 4.2-litre V8, 309kW
- Audi RS 6 Sedan and RS 6 Avant (2008): 5.0-litre V10 biturbo, 426kW; from 2010 – RS 6 plus with top speed adjusted to 303km/h
- Audi RS 5 Coupé (2010) and RS 5 Cabriolet (2012): 4.2-litre V8, 331kW
- Audi RS 3 Sportback (2011): 2.5-litre five-cylinder, 250kW
- Audi RS 4 Avant (2012): 4.2-litre V8, 331kW
- Audi RS Q3 (2013): 2.5-litre five-cylinder, 228kW; from 2014 – 250kW; from 2016 – performance version with 270kW
- Audi RS 6 Avant (2013): 4.0-litre V8 biturbo with 412kW; from 2015 – performance version with 445kW
- Audi RS 7 Sportback (2013): 4.0-litre V8 biturbo with 412kW; from 2015 – performance version with 445kW
- Audi RS 3 Sportback (2015): 2.5-litre five-cylinder with 270kW
- Audi TT RS Coupé and TT RS Roadster (2016): 2.5-liter five-cylinder with 294kW
- Audi RS 3 Sedan (2017): 2.5-litre five-cylinder with 294kW
- Audi RS 5 Coupé (2017): 2.9-litre V6 biturbo with 331kW
- Audi RS 4 Avant (2017): 2.9-litre V6 biturbo with 331kW
- Audi RS 5 Sportback (2018): 2.9-litre V6 biturbo with 331kW
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