Family Car Feud: Three Generations of RS4 and an RS2 Drag for Wagon Superiority

Over the last 25-ish years, Audi has been refining the model of the Uber-wagon. Starting with the RS2, Audi’s first RS, and rolling right along to the latest RS4, the brand has been working hard on muscle cars that also work as family cars. So which generation is the best?

Well, if you ask CarWow and their now familiar series of landing strip drag races, it’s the B9 RS4. Not simply the fastest of the cars here (it was always going to be) but because reviewer Mat Watson calls it the best RS car Audi has ever made.

Arguing that turbocharged engines just suit RS cars with their unexpected oomph, he says it’s the most comfortable, the best suited for its modern competition, and the easiest to drive very, very quickly.

An unexpected second favorite reveals itself, though. As was perhaps predictable, given above comments, Watson prefers the B5 RS4 to the B7 RS4. Despite being endowed with that seductive 4.2-liter V8, the numb steering and the weight conspire to make it less exciting than the B5.

The B5, although it only has a turbocharged V6, feels manic, hurried, and really good, says Watson.

The RS2, meanwhile, is the big loser in this test. In both the drag races and the speed tests, the RS2 feels its age. With lots of understeer, lots of turbo lag, and distinctly 1994 speeds, it’s just not the easy all-rounder that the later RS4s became. It also is disadvantaged by the fact that it’s an extremely rare and desirable car with only 3,000 miles on the odometer. I don’t want to make too many assumptions, but given the RS2’s easy launches, I suspect that it was being treated with kid gloves in the video. In the rolling race, it shows its true pace a little better.