How Porsche helped Audi make fast wagonsWhen two of Germany's best automakers came together the result was the fastest wagon to ever ride the Autobahn. Find out where it all began.
[SOUND] This is an Audi RS6, it has a four litre V8 engine with two turbo charges, and it's very fast. It's one of a long lineup of fast Audis, a bloodline that began in the 90s With a tie up between Audi and a company called Porsche. Audi RS cars have been around for a while, now. And, you can get an RS version of pretty much all of them. Want a faster TT? That's fine. What about a super quick Q3? Not a problem. However, I thought it be fun to have a look at where the RS cars came from. And, have a look at the coolest one, the Avants. But, it all starts in the 90s. With the number two. Meet the RS2. It's based on an Audi 80 Avant and can only be had as an Avant, which is why some people think it's the only way you should have your RS's today. Produced between 1994 and 1995, it's very much a euro thing which is a shame for the rest of the world because of just what it's made of. Porsche is very good at making fast cars, Audi good at luxury so what would have happened in say the 90s if the two combined? Well, what Porsche did is they took out this 2.2 liter turbo charge five cylinder engine and went two town on it, they fiddled with the internals, smacked a massive turbo charger on it and ended up going in an MD 80 event. The result was 311 horsepower and 302 pound foot which for a family car in the 90s was quite a lot. It was lots enough to get the RS2 to 62 miles an hour in 5.4 seconds and up to nearly 163 miles an hour. What's more impressive is its nought to 30 mile an hour run. Also Car Magazine tests found it could do nought to 30 in just 1.5 seconds. It was quicker than not only a McLaren F1 but also Jacques Villeneuve's F1 car of its day. As it's an Audi it did come with the Quattro all wheel drive system. But Porsche tweaked the brakes and suspension, they put Porsche cut wheels on it and jazzy seats in it. It's basically made it all Porsche-ish. So what's she like to drive, then? 3,000 RPM, not much, not much, not much, there's the turbo. There's the turbo and it's very large and we're building a lot of To speed. [LAUGH] It's still a very, very quick car. Now the gear shift is actually really smooth, and really slick. You have to put a little bit of work in to it, and it's not the shortest of movements, but the clutch is nice and smooth. Not too heavy, not too light, and you just. Flip it down a gear and in we go. Nice and easy. The steering, this is a car from the '90s, so it's not going to be brilliant, is it? It's not very heavy. It's just the right side of where I like my steering waiting to be, but there's not too much feedback from it. It does feel of an era, it does of it's time and of it's age, but this is the basis upon which all of the RS cars came from, you know. You can tell Audio was on the right track with And the cars that follow, boy, they're big, and they're very very fast. The most fascinating thing about the RS2 is the why. It seems Audi wanted to improve on it's S2 [UNKNOWN] based on the Audi 80, it had some grunt but not enough. At the time, Audi sports division wasn't around so it used Porsche, people who knew a thing or two about fast cars, to make a quick one. Why the avant well, Audi found it suitably different enough from everyone else. Its genesis was decidedly 90s, what a surprise. But it led to something more. The second RS, the RS 4. From the year 2000. This to me is the RS, this is partly why I got into fast Audis and partly why I got into fast cars. You see, my old man had the S4 version of this, similar engine. 2.7 liter, twin turbo V6, albeit with less power and his was a Saloon, but He loved that thing. He was always Audi man. He saved for years to get his S4. And because he loved it so much and I was a child, I loved it. We bonded over it. And when he passed away, well we had to send his S4. And that was a really genuinely gutting day, because that was my connection with him, Dom. And he always wanted to drive on of these, always always always. The RS 4 was on his list. So to drive this today, well, I really hope it's not Other than making me happy for simply being here, what's special about it? Well, its engine has been fiddle with by Cosworth who did all manner of technical things to it. The 2.7 liter V6 that, unmodified in the S4, kicked out 261 brake horsepower and 295 pound foot Now kicks out 365 brake horsepower, and 325 pound foot. It can hit 62 in 4.9 seconds. Now this of course, being an Audi, it has Quattro. So all wheels are driven and this one's got a manual gearbox. But the cool thing about it is its brakes would stay Pretty beefy. They were developed in-house by quattro GmbH. And they were so big and so good, they could stop the car from 68 miles and hour in just 50 meters. Not bad. As well as all of the above, it's quite mean to look at if you know what exactly it is you are looking at. Its wheel arches are wide, the rear has two small oval tailpipes, and there's some subtle cooling vents at the front. Small changes add up to something much greater. But if you don't know what you're looking at, it's just an Audi Estate. A posh car but nothing that'll blow your socks off. Could be a diesel underneath all that. So is it any good? Well, first impressions That engine sounds awesome. [LAUGH] This may have been the second RS car but this is the first RS that had oval exhaust. Yeah they are two small ones just in one corner of the rear but they've got that little oval shape which became an RS. Thing, how cool is that? The engine still pulls remarkably well, it's got this lightness and this urgency to it. There's not that much lag to it, even when you keep it on song, it just gathers big, so much speed. Now, [UNKNOWN] going a little bit to quickly, there's the Correct it a little bit. It is still a fast Audi. It is a bit understeering but nowhere near as understeering as you'd expect it to be. The steering isn't bad at all. It's a little bit numb. I won't lie, but you still get some feedback from it. It can be communicative. The curver and the way it delivers, the way it gets onto the road. There is plenty of grip in there, but it's also quite easy to exceed it just because of the way this car behaves. What a lovely thing. I am so glad this isn't rubbish. I was genuinely worried. Then it would be a little bit characterless and a little bit soulless. I adore this thing and no matter it's flaws. And there are a few, I'm not gonna forget it it. Once upon a time it was Audi's want to have only one RS model on sale at any given time. Fair enough I say, so after the B5RS4 run ended in 2001 It was time for the A6 to get the RS treatment. And in 2002, this appeared. Hello first ever RS6. Now in here you get a 4.2 liter twin-turbo V8 with 428 pound foot and 444. Great horse power, naught to 62 with 4.6 seconds. And its top speed was supposed to be 155 miles an hour, though owners reported top speeds in excess of 160. It seems Audi was When it's limitless. Its suspension is 20 mil lower than the A and S6. It's got stiffer springs to boot. This generation was also the first car to get Audi's dynamic ride control, a system that gave individuals dampers more oomph depending on what the car was doing. Basically, it knew what you were up to, and adjusted itself to keep the ride clean. For something with so much power, it's a mercy that it also comes with massive brakes. But that was the standard RS6. This is not the standard RS6. This is the RS6 Plus, a sort of run out model introduced in 2004. It has engine briefed on [INAUDIBLE] and it kicks out 469 grade horse power. Same torque as before. The knot 62 times lower to 4.4 seconds, which is ludicrisouly fast. It's suspension was lowered, it's brakes tweaked, steering fiddled with. [INAUDIBLE] top speed was up to 174 miles an hour. It's quick, then. The brakes are okay, they take a little bit of getting used to, they don't feel phenomenal for nowadays, but way back when, still quite sharp when you nail them, [SOUND], there we go, without any ABS assist and touch. But they're not too bad, the pedal's easy to use, it's quite spongy, though Now the steering is something that Audi's, fast Audi's especially, have always been criticized for, and not gonna disagree with that. The wheel is there, and it is somehow connected to the front, but I'm not entirely sure how. So you turn the wheel and you don't feel anything, but then the car moves Moves in the direction you want it to, but not fantastically. So I know I've turned the wheel and I know I had an effect, because the car is moving. But I can't feel that happening at all. That's quite strange. Now the gear box, it has pedals. It's not a jewel clutch. It's a sort of tiptronic Thing, I don't know if you can see, but every time it changes up, we get that lurch forward, you ready? Ooh, just a little bit of a knob, but again we have to put this in the context of its era, and its era was also [UNKNOWN] advances they are now Audis did get a reputation for not being super exciting and not being super sharp. I understand that now. [MUSIC], Mm, big and turboy, good stuff. As before, you have to know what you're looking at to appreciate it. It could be Anything though. That's why the RS cars always appeal to me. I mean who expects a boring old [UNKNOWN] to pack such a punch. A while after the RS6 went the way of the dodo Audi decided to bring the RS badge back and put it in the B7A4 in 2006 except they left something off. This one doesn't have any turbos, it's got a 4.2 liter naturally aspirated V8. The base of this engine. Was actually used in the R8 supercar, the V8 version obviously. Now, this came with 414 brake horsepower and 317 pound foot. [INAUDIBLE] 62 took 4.7 seconds. Top speed is 155 miles an hour. Like the RS6 before it, you can get the [UNKNOWN] version of this car. And because it was based on an A4, also, a cabriolet. However, this is the event because faster states are awesome. This RS4 got a new version of the quatro system. Using a new differential, it has a 40 60 top split from the get go. There's dynamic ride control, just like the RS6 before it. Mega suspension. The same brakes you get on a Lamborghini Gallardo. Though ceramics were available from 2007, and a host of other stuff. The brake wiping feature is a favorite. In the wet, the brakes will momentarily apply themselves to wipe water away. The driver apparently doesn't know when it's happening. Now a lot of people say, this is probably the best of the RS's, so the question is, is it? The overwhelming thing about this is just how good it feels, it feels properly solid. Manual gearbox is super slick, super easy to use, the clutch is a little bit springy But that's no problem. Brakes are fairly solid. There's easy, smooth travel in the brake pedal. And the frontal response, because it's naturally aspirated, is instant. And that engine, just listen to the noise. It sounds beautiful. It's gruff. Deep and dirty. It doesn't appear to ride too hard either. Now the interior, because this is from the mid naughties is a little dated. However, Audi's interiors may not date the best. But they appear to be made of adamantium because this thing will outlast everything. And I must say I love the look of this car. It looks like a normal A4, but with extra anger. And it's aged so well. If you take a look at the RS 4 that proceeds it, yeah it's aged okay, but it looks like a car from the 90s as where this can still cut a fairly good look right now. And good lord, the speed this thing has to offer is so strong, it pulls beautifully. Yeah, a 317 pound foot doesn't sound like much in the era of turbos, but it's enough. Little bit of understeer going in quick, but it's an Audi, you gotta expect that. Still steers smoothly. Move and beautifully enough for me. It's phenomenal fun this thing. Now I know why people think this RS4 is one of the greats, because compared to what preceded it, and actually some of the cars that I've driven since, it's stonking good fun. It feels so solid and planted, I expected it to kind of wallow everywhere but it just doesn't. This is a proper driver's car. This is fantastic. [LAUGH] 2008's RS 6 went back to turbos back away from V8s. This one has a five liter V10 with two turbo chargers. If that sounds like a lot, that's That's because it is. This thing kicked up 571 brake horsepower and 479 pound foot. Hitting 62 in 4.6 seconds and topping out 155 miles per hour. Unless you gave [INAUDIBLE] in which case 170 was in your reach. the [INAUDIBLE] is similar to the one you would find in the [INAUDIBLE] DR8, though 400 of its many parts are all new just for it. You also get dynamic ride control and a 40/60 front rear torque split though 100% of that could go to the rear if you want it to. Also ceramic brakes were an option. So it's bigger, better and faster than before. So far, so RS. But can we take a moment to appreciate how awesome it looks. Check out the wheel arches. They're big and boxy, reminiscent of the original Quattro. Its tailpipes are offensively large, the grill, giant. It's about as subtle as an episode of The Big Bang Theory. I mean, come on Has basically got a [INAUDIBLE] engine. I like V 10's. V 10's are good. I'll take the V 10's. So it's quick then. What about steering? It feels quite heavy. If we push around this corner and give it a bit of understeer. Touch of under steer to it. The tips on the gearbox, I was expecting it to be absolutely dreadful but actually it isn't bad. Brakes nice and firm. There's quite a long travel on the pedal but they're quite easy to modulate and they've got decent feel to them. Now, we've got the suspension set to sport which means it should be very hard riding and it should corner at It's nice and level and flat, we'll let its dynamic rain control do that. But you can feel the weight of it shifting in the corners. Now, the one thing about this which I kinda love is that officially it was at 570 of horsepower. Someone did a little bit of investigation and found out it's actually closer to 610. Which is insane! It's phenomenally fast. Man, V10s, they are the way forward. Especially with turbos bolted to them. 2012 saw the RS4 return, once again with a naturally aspirated 4.2 liter V8. Now, using a magical time machine, we can have a look at what I had to say about it When I drove it in lave 2012. Magically I have also managed to regrow my hair and look a bit like a Trump. To the untrained eye this may look like a standard ADA Ford but there are a few RS holdouts to look for. So, the back we got a giant splitter frame by two pretty massive oval tale pipes. Up front we've got a very massive, and quite shiny, chrome grill and that's sitting just above quite a vampiric chin spoiler. But also, it's got some pretty epic air dams to keep its giant engine cool. At each corner you get some pretty massive wheels, 20 inches. In this case. And they said beneath glistered wheel arches, the hark back to the original Audi Quattro. All around the car, there's a liberal coating of RS 4, but it has set it off quite nicely and subtletly. And there's one more thing. The noise. [SOUND]. [NOISE] That slice of aural deliciousness comes a 4.2 liter, 444 brake horsepower naturally aspirated V8. I mean, it sounds like a NASCAR. It's amazing! So you should be able to tell a RS4 from its noise as well. Also, its quite incredible turn of pace. From that most beefy of Audi engines, Audi's managed to coax a naught to 62 time of just 4.7 seconds and it'll do a limited 155 miles an hour. Considering the RS4 weighs nearly 1900 kilos that is very, very impressive. And while the RS4 falls down by quite some margin on the economy front, Is damn near the only car you'll ever need. I just wonder how they're gonna make the next one better. [MUSIC] And that leads us neatly to today. The outgoing RS6 who was announced in 2012 and comes with a four liter twin turbo charged V8 with 553 brake horsepower and 516 pound foot. Naught to 62 apparently takes 3.9 seconds. It's top speed out of the box is limited to 155 miles an hour. Though if you spec the dynamic plus package or Something of that ilk. You can raise that top speed to 189 miles an hour. When Audi brought this car out, the Daily Mail newspaper that criticizes both people and things for existing decided that it was way to far and made a big deal out of it. I'm glad for that fact because I hate that newspaper and all the bile it spouts. Anyway, silly power, adjustable driving modes You can shake a stick at. This one has an exhaust which makes it sound ungodly. It sounds so, so good. And there are plenty of safety toys to keep you on the straight and narrow, should you need to be kept there. There's also the performance version of this generation RS6. Which gives you news-damming 600 brake horsepower, because for some people, 553 just isn't enough. The RS cars have always been about being very silly fast, but without having to lose anything, especially traction in the name of good old-fashioned Autobahn speed. And fun, so much fun! This This particular RX-6 has an intoxicating power band, because it's all of the power. It just gives you all of the power, all the time. The good thing is, this one, has ceramic brakes. On each corner and they are good they're a little bit sharp. They do take some getting used to. But once you get used to them they do work really well. Not amazing on the feedback front. But when you're going very quickly you do rather need it to stop. The throttle response is fairly instant but it can be a little bit sharp. But when you wanna give it some shove, you can have some shove. Now it's all wheel drive system, it's Audi Quattro, it's the latest generation there of, and it's pretty good. I'm not scared of banging it round corners at speeds that, if I had something rear drive and light, I would be very nervous about doing. So bang it into here, 50 odd. and then round. Keep it balanced. And away she goes. Some say it's very understeering, but the speeds I've been going round, the angles I've been going at, it's not trying to [UNKNOWN]. It's not pushed out too much at all. Now if you turn everything off, and drive like a complete knob, what happens is it goes understeering, and then it goes oversteering, and then it goes a bit wobbly but then it's easy to fix. Which is fine to me. The steering's not bad either. You get some lovely feedback through it. It's very communicative. You compare that with the first-generation RS 6, which was like wearing rubber gloves to try and sew a button back on. This is night and day. It's so good. It's like an M car, it's not like an AMG, but that is what the Audi RS cars do. The M cars are scalpels, the AMGs They are very skiddy. They can be scalply if you ask them nicely but they are race cars. Stick them in a straight line point and squirt and find yourself doing a million miles an hour immensely quickly in the pissing wet and you don't have to be afraid of it spitting you off the road. You know what? As a family car or something you can take people and things long distances. In comfort. It's great. It handles well. It feels good. It sounds ace. The fuel economy is terrible. 9.1 at the moment, but you can't really get more than 23 or 24 out of it. But you what, as the last Coverance lost rs event, you know O6 is okay in my book. Nowadays, the people who make the rs motors are called Audi Sport, and they're headed up by the chap who used to run Lamborghini. So we know future models are going to be special. You can get a 400 horsepower A3 now, and that's a small family car that has the same power as a Ferrari 360. Yeah, we skipped a few RS's today, but if we'd done all of them, we'd probably be here for literally forever. However for me, the true RS's are the event, the ones that hawk back to the RS2 of the 90s, the ones that proved you could humble a supercar even with your family on board. Each subsequent car came with more power, better brakes, more everything all the time. You know what, for me? This has been a pretty special day as well, because fast Audis got me into fast cars. Yeah, they may not be perfect, they might not be the best engine in the world, and the 600 horsepower state [UNKNOWN] a little bit silly. But you know what? The world's a bit better off for it. [MUSIC] [MUSIC]