There are a quite a few interesting automobiles never sold on the American market, and one of the most agonizing reminders of this is the Audi RS2 Quattro. This joint project between Audi and Porsche produced a compact, punchy, capable wagon that could run with every early ’90s production Porsche, save for the the 911 Turbo. Despite all that performance, it could still haul the kids to kindergarten.
Some saw the potential in the understated wagon and made it into something of a cult tuner car. Dany Kistler is part of that group. His understated RS2 might not turn many heads in the parking lot, but give it a stretch of mountain road with seating for spectators, and it will break necks. That’s because, beneath the muted exterior, lies a 2.5-liter motor which makes all the right noises. The engine benefits from a larger intercooler, stronger internals, a shortened intake manifold, a larger throttle, a larger turbocharger, and an exhaust system with a 3-inch downpipe for that wonderful, five-cylinder exhaust note and as of 2017, roughly 600 horsepower.
The sedate exterior hides a car with some motorsport-grade underpinnings. Stripped, fitted with an FIA-spec cage, and lightened with carbon body parts, the four-door wagon weighs just 2,711 pounds without the driver.
To stiffen the car, Kistler opted for harder bushings, engine mounts, and transmission mounts. A closed underbody with a diffuser gives it a little more poise and stability in the faster sections, and in every hairpin, the Quattro system delivers all the power to the pavement without a smidgen of wheelspin. So, despite the grocery-getter exterior, Kistler’s RS2 is capable in every area, faster than some dedicated sports cars, and one of the few hillclimbing machines with a definite sense of humor.