Despite the looks of the old, early ’90s Audi station wagon, the RS2 Avant is a serious performance machine that could destroy almost anything. And not only in a boulevard drag race but on race track also. Under the dull and unassuming body lies some serious rally technology with exceptional performance. The RS2 was the first in a long line of Audi performance station wagons that brought consumers those supercars with long roofs like the RS6. However, the RS2 is where it all started. The Audi engineers took the famous, inline five-cylinder turbo engine with 2.2-liters and 315 HP and put it in the most uninspiring body style they could find – the station wagon.
They also added Quattro all-wheel-drive magic and a manual transmission. Finally, they sent it all to Porsche for a precision final assembly. The result was the RS2, with a 4.8 second time to go from 0 to 60 mph. It had divine road holding in its early 90’s form. Unfortunately, the production was limited, so if you see one of those cars on the stoplight, you know you will get left in the dust.
When Peugeot introduced the compact 205 model in 1983, the performance GTI version wasn’t in the cards. Soon, realizing that the hooped up model could have a perspective on the market, Peugeot presented the 205 with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder and 115 hp. The combination of the lightweight body, precise steering, rev-happy engine, and lively performance proved extremely popular with the global buyers.
Peugeot even considered selling the 205 GTI in America. Still, since it pulled out of the market in 1991, US buyers never got the chance to experience one of the best affordable compact performance cars of the ’80s. As all European hot hatches of the day, the 205 GTI had front-wheel drive, and it was praised for its handling and superb driving feel.
After decades of relative mediocrity throughout its lineup, Citroen was back in 2005 with an executive sedan worthy of its predecessors, called C6. Behind this simple name was the best Citroen’s technology, the latest generation of hydropneumatic suspension with electronic control and damper setup, special construction, a range of powerful engines, and glorious design, which drew inspiration from the legendary past.
Citroen C6 was pitted against Europe’s heavy hitters in the form of Mercedes E Class, Audi A6, or BMW 5 Series, and despite being the least popular, C6 was arguably the best car which featured the most elegant interior, sophistication, and a ride quality second to none. Unfortunately, it was also kind of a sales flop, and Citroen managed to sell just over 20,000 cars in 7 years, which is very little. But it showed that the company still knows how to produce a unique French sedan that can hold its own against the competition.
Enjoying the success of the Espace minivan gave the Renault chance to explore the concept and try something new and exciting in a typical French way. Renault saw that Espace minivan buyers are inclining towards more powerful and luxurious versions over base line models, so the managers thought they should offer kind of a luxury minivan to the most discriminating buyers. But, filling the car with equipment wasn’t enough and the vehicle needed to have a distinctive feature to be recognizable and popular. So, they thought of a unique minivan coupe named Avantime and introduced it in 2001. The Avantime was an answer to a question nobody asked, and it was received with mixed reviews.
It was definitely an engineering success with a massive hard top roof and problematic structural stiffness, which Renault engineers managed to keep under control. Avantime was also pretty expensive and came with only the most powerful engines and a high standard equipment level. Although Avantime was a chic and interesting car, it failed to attract customers, and Renault discontinued the model after only two years and a little over 8000 examples produced.
If you are limited by government-proposed dimensions, engine size limits, and various other safety regulations, you must find new ways of designing the car. Honda’s N-Box Slash brings interesting design to Kei Car class with unique looks and significant effort to squeeze every last millimeter of usable space from this vehicle.
You could option it with red leather seats and even a totally modular interior, which could be turned into a lounge.
The Alto was sold outside of Japan as a compact car, but it is still a Kei Car with one very interesting version in Japan. The Alto Turbo RS is a hot hatch with five doors, three cylinders, aggressive looks, and an all-wheel-drive option.
Unfortunately, it comes with 63 HP, a 660 ccm turbo engine, which not many owners keep stock. The legal limit for modern Kei Cars is 63 HP. Still, most manufacturers decide to offer tunable engines that are easily modified to close or over 100 HP so owners can enjoy some real performance. This is the case with Alto Turbo RS. These are the 19 cool and interesting cars that are illegal to drive in the United States. Which one did you like the best? Perhaps someday, it will be available here in the states. Otherwise, it is nothing but a pipe dream for you.