Audi RS Turns 25!

Audi is hosting a special exhibition at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm to celebrate the feat


  • The RS badge started its long journey in 1994 with the revolutionary RS2 Avant performance wagon.
  • The RS lineup has had 25 different models featuring innovations like the iconic quattro drivetrain, direct injection, etc.
  • The current RS lineup consists of seven models ranging from the RS3 to the TT RS.
  • Audi plans on launching six more RS models this year, including the new RS Q8.

Audi is celebrating 25 years since the first RS model was born. In that time, 25 Audi cars of different shapes, sizes and engines have had the honour of being adorned with the RS badge. 

The first model to bear the badge was the 1994 RS2 Avant. It was one of the first high-performance station wagons and came with a 2.2-litre 315PS turbocharged four-valve, 5-cylinder engine. With the quattro drive that contained a self-locking center differential used in motorsport and rally-racing, it set the bar for high-performance station wagons at the time.

The next milestone for the RS badge came in 1999 with the Audi RS4 Avant. It was based on the S4 which had previously set a benchmark in terms of powerful medium-sized sedans. Under the hood was a 2.7-litre V6 engine combined with twin-turbos, just like the S4. The engineers, at what was then quattro GmbH, developed a beefier engine than the S4. A collaboration with Cosworth Technology resulted in revisions to the cylinder head, the intake and exhaust ports along with revisions to the suction and compression in the air ducts. Other changes included larger turbochargers with an increase in boost pressure as compared to the S4. All of this combined to give the RS4 Avant a maximum power of 380PS instead of 265PS on the S4. 

Later on, the second-gen RS 4 showed up in 2005. This iteration consisted of many motorsports innovations. One of the main innovations was the V8 engine that delivered 425PS. What was special about this engine was that It was the first time that a manufacturer used gasoline direct injection combined with a high-revving engine - resulting in engine speeds of up to 8250 rpm.

This combination made its way to the first generation R8 in 2007, which enjoyed success at Le Mans. The suspension from the second gen RS4 made its way into the latest generation of permanent all-wheel drive models as well as the Dynamic Ride Control damper system that was first used in 2002 in the RS6. The asymmetric dynamic torque distribution ratio of 40 percent front to 60 percent rear, combined with the refined quattro drive. ensured optimum traction. 

In 2008, Audi launched the RS6 Avant, which was a sports car under a station wagon body. It was fitted with a newly developed V10 bi-turbocharged engine with FSI direct injection as well as quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The V10 motor developed 580PS of power and 650Nm of torque that made the RS 6 Avant the most powerful series production Audi at the time. A major highlight of the engine was that the engine used motorsport-inspired dry sump lubrication.

The RS lineup made a step towards the compact class in 2011 with the 5-cylinder, 340PS RS3 Sportback. Other notable highlights included the launch of the RS Q3 in 2013, which was the company’s first performance compact SUV. It was powered by a 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine that was used in the TT RS and RS 3. It initially delivered 310PS of power, but was updated to 340PS. The 2016 iteration of the RS Q3 went even further with 367PS of power.

Currently, Audi offers seven RS models that include the RS3 Sportback/Sedan, RS4 Avant, RS5 Coupe/Sportback and TT RS Coupe/Roadster.  The RS5 coupe and the RS7 Sportback are currently sold in India at a price tag of Rs 1.11 crore and between Rs 1.52 - Rs 1.71 crore, respectively. Audi plans to expand the lineup with six more models this year. One of them could be the new RS Q8 which might be powered by a detuned version of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that churns out 600PS in the Lamborghini Urus. 

Audi opened a special exhibition on July 12 to celebrate RS moniker’s 25th anniversary at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm. Aside from showcasing its production RS models, Audi is also showcasing 14 rare RS models, including the Audi RS8 that never entered production, and multiple race cars. 

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