Audi is congratulating itself on inventing the super-estate by building a special edition version of the RS4 Avant, in tribute to the classic RS2. The RS4 Nogaro edition will be revealed at the Geneva motor show in March 2014.
How does the Audi RS4 Nogaro riff off the legendary RS2?
Retro cosmetic tweaks, inside and out. Chief among them is the ‘Nogaro blue’ pearl-effect paintwork: it recalls the blue shade the 2908 original RS2s were offered with. The colour is named after the Nogaro racing circuit in south-west France, where Audi scored two French Touring Car Championship victories in 1993.
Other RS2 cues coms in the form of matt black roof rails, a blacked-out front grille, and red brake calipers.
>> Click here for CAR’s first drive review of the 444bhp Audi RS4 Avant
Inside, the RS4 Nogaro’s cabin pays tribute to its ancestor once again, with shiny plastics and a tape deck. Only kidding. In fact, there’s a choice of two trims: all-black, or part-blue contrasting inserts. Blue stitching and piping also mark out the Nogaro RS4 from a regular version.
Nothing’s new mechanically, but the RS4 Avant has never exactly lacked in that department. You still get a naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8, revving to 8000rpm and developing up to 444bhp, connected exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the RS4 Avant sprints from 0-62mph in 4.7sec, and can run on to 155mph, 174mph, or 189mph, depending on how much you pay to have the speed limiter raised.
>> CAR ran an Audi RS4 Avant on its long-term fleet in 2013: click here for the complete report
Remind me why the RS2 is worth celebrating…
The RS2 was based on the humble Audi 80 Avant, but was actually built by Porsche. Stuttgart’s finest developed the turbocharged 2.2-litre five-pot engine, brakes and suspension, and even equipped the RS2 with the 911’s brake callipers and door mirrors. The RS2 makes 315bhp, 302lb ft and weighs 1595kg – 200kg less than the current RS4.
The result was a £45,705 estate car than could hit 62mph in 4.8sec (just a tenth slower than the 2014 RS4!) and 162mph flat out. Famously, the Quattro all-wheel drive system made the RS2 quicker to 30mph than the McLaren F1, making the RS2 the world’s fastest off-the-line road car during its 1994-1995 production run.
These days, used RS2s start at around £12k – though with only 180 right-hand drive examples ever produced, they’re a rare find.
The RS4 Nogaro starts at €87,300 (£72,475) in Germany. That’s a €10,100 (£8400) premium over the standard RS4 Avant. UK sales are still being considered, but with no mechanical changes and the UK being the second-biggest market for RS products, it makes perfect sense.