Good news, fans of Audi and fast station wagons: the Audi RS2 Avant is now legal to import into the U.S.
As you may know, rules and regulations here in North America forbid us from importing cars to the U.S. until they turn 25 years old, barring some especially unusual exemptions for ultra-rare vehicles, movies and diplomats. That has prevented us from getting a lot of cool cars over the years — but one of those cars, the Audi RS2, has just turned 25.
Yes, it’s true: the RS2 started production at the very beginning of 1994, meaning the earliest examples are now 25 years old, with more RS2 models becoming legal with each passing month. That means fast wagon fans can finally have the Audi they’ve lusted over — but couldn’t get — for the last 25 years.
So why, exactly, is the RS2 so special? It was effectively the first "fast wagon" — the car that started the trend that came to include vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon, the Audi RS6 Avant, the BMW M5 Touring, the Volvo V70R, the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, and many more. It used a 2.2-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine with 311 horsepower and a 6-speed manual, and it was, indeed, quite special.
The other cool thing about the RS2 Avant is the fact that Porsche built it. Yes, it’s true: Audi didn’t want to, or didn’t have capacity to, build the RS2 Avant, so they farmed out production to Porsche, who built it in Zuffenhausen, in a building right next to where the 911 comes down the production line. The RS2 also contains many Porsche parts, including wheels, mirrors, turn signals and brakes. This makes it infinitely cooler than the also-Porsche-built Mercedes-Benz 500E, which didn’t contain any Porsche bits, and doesn’t have the benefit of being the grandfather of fast wagons.
The only issue is that Audi RS2 Avant models seem to have gotten pretty expensive in the wake of their near-import-to-America status, so it’s unlikely you’ll get a deal on one. But it’s still an irrationally cool car — and it’s finally legal.