Audi makes some very fast cars. And I’m not even talking about supercar R8 models. Many of the fastest Audis are unassuming sleepers that are often faster than traditional sports cars like Corvettes, Porsches, and even Ferraris.
I’m going to keep this article brief. I will not be going into crazy detail about each car. So we won’t be talking about nitty-gritty stuff like brake rotor diameter, cubic feet of cargo space, or tire size.
You found this article because you want to learn about the fastest Audis… so that’s what we’ll focus on: speed. Specifically 0-60 time. It’s the most fun speed metric that we all can experience legally.
You may know that Audi’s high performance cars come in two flavors – RS and S. But do you know the difference between the two?
Audi RS vs S
Audi has 2 designations for their high performance cars – S and RS. S models are basically a step-up in engine and performance from Audi’s standard models. S cars are built in the same factory as standard Audis.
RS cars, on the other hand, are built in a different factory by Audi Sport GmbH which is a private subsidiary company of Audi. RS stands for RennSport which translates to “Racing Sport.
Audis built in the Audi Sport factory are engineered to have superior performance over their stock brethren and are akin to BMW M cars and Mercedes Benz AMG cars. RS cars are often more suitable for track use and are less plush and luxurious than standard and S model Audis. If you want to learn more about Audi S and RS, check out this article on Wikipedia.
The Fastest Audis: R8 Models
Before I get into the list, it’s important to note that I’m excluding R8 models from this list of the fastest Audis. R8s are in a different league. With sticker prices that can go north of $150,000 and super car performance numbers, R8s are exotic super cars.
Think of the R8 like the standout superstar kid in a family of amazing children.
It’s the child who graduated Harvard and now pitches for the Yankees. Your friends fall all over him and want to take selfies with him when he shows up at a family picnic.
Sorry R8. We all know you’re awesome. Let your siblings have the spotlight for once.
The First RS Car
Audi produced the first RS car in 1994 – the RS2 Avant (wagon). It was a legendary collaboration between Porsche and Audi. The car had 311 horsepower and went from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds.
These were absolutely bonkers numbers for 1994. Even more bonkers because they were coming out of as station wagon!
The RS2 was never offered for sale in the US. It took nine long years for the United States to get our first taste of Audi RS…. and it was amazing – the 2003 Audi RS6.
Years available in the US: 2003, 2020
The RS6 was the fist Audi RS model available in the United States. Introduced to America in 2003, the Audi RS6 was one of the fastest sedans in the world at the time. Under the hood, it had a twin-turbo 4.2-liter V-8 that produced 450 bhp. The RS6 went 0-60 in 4.6 seconds.
That’s crazy speed in 2003. And it was coming out of a 5-passenger luxury sedan that looked a lot like the everyday Audi A6 it was based on.
The RS6 only lasted 1 year in the USA. Seventeen years would pass before the RS6 showed up in American Audi showrooms again.
During its absence from America, the RS6 was still being produced by Audi Sport. Thanks to the internet, Americans knew of this car’s existence and mind-blowing performance for years.
Our wishes for one of the fastest Audis came true in 2020.
Twin turbo 4.0 V8.
590 ft lb of torque.
0-60 in 3.5 seconds.
And looks that will literally turn heads.
What else is there to say?
Um….a $109,000 base price is a barrier for some people. But Hell, give it 5 years and you can probably find a used one that’s a bit more affordable.
Years Available in the US: 2007, 2008
The next RS model to show up in America was the RS4. The RS4 hit US shores for the first time in 2007. Based on the ever-popular A4, this aggressive little sedan had it’s crosshairs set on the BMW M3. A naturally aspirated 4.2L V-8 produced 420 hp and 317 ft-lb of torque. The 0-60 sprint took 4.6 seconds.
The RS4 stuck around for another model year and posted the same power and performance numbers. The big news for 2008 was the addition of an RS4 convertible. Only 300 of the convertibles were brought to the US for 2008.
Convertibles being convertibles, added bloat brought performance numbers down a tad. 0-60 on a 2008 RS4 Cabriolet took .2 seconds slower than the sedan at 4.8 seconds. Convertibles were also more expensive — MSRP was a whopping $85,000.
Years Available in America: 2012, 2013, 2017-2020
Often dubbed the “mini R8”, Audi’s TTRS came to American shores in 2012.
Legend has it that American TT fans made so much noise about the TTRS on social media that Audi listened and sent the car our way. The only two seater on this list of the fastest Audis had a 2.5-liter inline 5-cylinder turbo under the hood. It turned out 360 horsepower and went from 0-60 in 4.0 seconds.
The 2013 model year was largely unchanged.
The TTRS disappeared for a couple years in the US and came back in 2017.
The TTRS returned in 2017 sleeker and faster. This time around, the tried-and-true inline turbo 5 was pushing 400 horses and propelled the TTRS from 0-60 in just 3.4 seconds.
The 2018 TTRS model was unchanged.
In 2019, horsepower was decreased slightly to 394 and some amazing colors were added like Kyalami Green.
Years available in America: 2013-2015, 2018, 2019
The next RS model to hit American shores is the 2013 RS5. The RS5 had a naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 that put out 450 horsepower and could go from 0-60 in 4 seconds flat.
Despite its strong performance numbers, the RS5 received “meh” reviews in America. For less money, you could get better performance elsewhere. The two-door sports coupe market is a tough ring to fight in on American soil because beloved models like Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger rule the road.
The RS5 came back in 2014 with similar performance numbers. The big news was the addition of a topless option – the 2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet. An additional $8,300 would get you the drop top option.
2015 brought little change for the RS5… and this member of the fastest Audi club was becoming status quo. It took a break for a couple years and returned to America in 2018 with a vengeance
New design. New engine. New performance numbers.
Dubbed the “German Camaro” by Motor Trend, the 2018 RS5 jumps up a few notches on the list of the fastest Audis. With a new, twin-turbo, 3.9-liter V6, the RS5 boasted 444 horsepower and could complete the 0-60 sprint in just 3.7 seconds. Wow.
2019 RS5 Sportback
For 2019, powertrain didn’t change at all, but Audi introduced a Sportback version of the RS5 which is essentially a long hatchback.
It also had 4 doors.
This was huge news, because the RS5 Sportback was Audi’s first high performance sports SEDAN to be offered in America since the RS4 left us in 2008.
Look out M3. Audi is coming for you.
The extra doors, a little more length, and some height for extra headroom in the back seat added bloat to the RS5 Sportback. The result is an extra .1 second on the car’s 0-60 time. Yes, it kicks this RS5 down on the list of fastest Audis, but it’s a small price to pay for the added practicality.
Years Available in America: 2014-2018
2014 brought the RS7 to American shores. One could consider the RS7 the automobile equivalent of Shaquille O’Neal (during his prime) in a tuxedo – large, athletic, classy… but, in a split second, could turn into an impish child who could overpower just about anyone in his path.
The RS7 is a massive luxury car with even bigger performance.
The RS7’s twin-turbo, 4.0-litre V8 pushed out a whopping 560 horses and could make this luxury car travel from 0-60 in just 3.7 buttery smooth seconds.
Much stayed the same with the RS7 for 2015. In 2016, Audi took the RS7 to a new level.
2016 Audi RS7 Performance
What happens when our Shaq-in-tux blows a few lines of coke?
You get the Audi RS7 performance.
Audi engineers worked some magic with larger turbos, a more sophisticated intercooler, some computer programming and boom…. We’re now at 605 horsepower and hitting 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. Holy Hell.
For 2017 and 2018, not much changed with the RS7. The model took a break after the 2018 model year and is expected to come back in 2021.
Years available in America: 2017-2020
Arguably the most exciting car on this list of the fastest Audis is the 2017 Audi RS3. It’s the lowest-priced RS model we’ve discussed and it is among the fastest.
With a turbocharged 2.5-liter 5 cylinder engine, it produces 400 horsepower and makes the 0-60 sprint in just 3.6 seconds. Amazing performance for a relatively low base price of $55,450.
Yes, the RS3 is on the small size, but it has 4 doors and could make a great every day driver.
The RS3 has remained unchanged in the years 2018-2020. A redesign is expected soon.
RS Q8 Models
Years Available in the US: 2020
Last but not least, we’ll look at Audi’s first RS SUV offered in the US.
It’s no secret that SUVs are the kings of US roads. And Audi is well aware of this. Their Q line of SUVs has been extremely successful. So why not add an RS-version?
Enter the 2020 RS Q8.
It’s got the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 under the hood and it will propel the SUV from 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. This ultra luxury performance monster shares a lot of components and even sits on the same frame as its corporate sibling, the Lamborghini Urus.
All this performance comes at a price – $113,000 is the base. But given its similarity to the Urus, which goes for prices north of $200,000, the RS Q8 is a bargain.
So there you have it. A complete history of the fastest Audis sold in America.
What’s your favorite?
If I could have my pick, it would be the 2020 RS6. Neck breaking performance, room for a family, and a fair amount of cargo space. It truly does it all. Can anyone spot me $109k?
Summary of the Fastest Audis in America
|Year||Model Name||0-60 Time (seconds)||Engine Size||Horsepower||Base MSRP (USD)|
|2003||RS6||4.6||twin-turbo 4.2-liter V-8||450||$82,700.00|
|2020||RS6||3.5||twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8||591||$109,000.00|
|2018||RS5||3.7||twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6||444||$70,000.00|
|2019||RS5 Sportback||3.8||twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6||444||$75,195.00|
|2014||RS7||3.7||twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8||560||$105,795.00|
|2015||RS7||3.7||twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8||560||$106,500.00|
|2016||RS7||3.7||twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8||560||$108,900.00|
|2017||RS7 Performance||3.2||twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8||605||$136,975.00|
|2018||RS7 Performance||3.2||twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8||605||$130,000.00|
|2017||RS3||3.6||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||400||$55,450.00|
|2018||RS3||3.6||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||400||$54,900.00|
|2019||RS3||3.6||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||400||$56,200.00|
|2020||RS3||3.6||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||400||$56,200.00|
|2012||TTRS||4||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||360||$57,725.00|
|2013||TTRS||4||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||360||$57,200.00|
|2017||TTRS||3.4||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||400||$65,875.00|
|2018||TTRS||3.4||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||400||$65,875.00|
|2019||TTRS||3.4||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||394||$67,895.00|
|2020||TTRS||3.4||2.5-liter 5 cyl turbo||394||$67,895.00|
|2020||RSQ8||3.6||twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8||591||$113,995.00|