The complexities of being part of a large brand group have led Porsche to create some engines that powered some of the most exceptional rides on the market that never carried the Porsche badge. We have often lauded the 911 and the 959 was an amazing machine and we know of the various engines that have come out of the Porsche factory to be some of the best on the market. What many have possibly forgotten, or maybe never actually knew is that Porsche was involved in other brands as well, here are two of the most impressive vehicles that bore the power plants from Porsche.
Mercedes-Benz 500E – 1990-1995 – With a production line that had ended its usefulness with the 959 time had come to a close in 1989; Porsche had room and needed something new to help bolster its finances. Mercedes-Benz on the other hand had more than it could handing with the development of new models and gave this project to Porsche. The 500E still bore the three point start but after leaving Mercedes- Benz they would come to Porsche who would fit them with 16-inch allow wheels and an all-aluminum five-liter V8 engine.
Oddly enough after Porsche added a few parts the cars would go back to Mercedes- Benz to be painted and then come back to Porsche for the final assembly (it’s probably a good thing the travel distance isn’t too far between plants). Even though this car felt like a ping pong ball after all this it came out with an impressive performance. This car came of this line with 326 horsepower and a time from zero to sixty mph of only six seconds, making it a very quick car to deal with, especially for a model that was made as we just left the 1980s.
Audi RS2 – 1994-1995 – Even though Audi stopped bringing wagons to the US some time ago because of the low sales, the middle of the 1990s found many RS2 wagons making the trip to the US with Porsche fittings under the hood. The RS2 had the typically straight five-cylinder engine and Porsche was tasked with the turbocharging which came from a KKK compressor to create the best rate. This car even rode on the same wheels as the 964 911 Turbo which certainly raised more than one eyebrow when it came to what was going on.
Upon closer inspection you could see the RS2 also wore the 911 turn signals and even had the brake package from the 968 Club Sport. The turbo lag was part of the Porsche plan which was to give you a jump from the turbocharger at 4000 rpm. This was one quick wagon which made for a great time to sixty mph of only 4.8 seconds which was insane for a car built to haul the groceries home. If you want a direct comparison, the RS2 could reach 30 mph in 1.5 seconds which was faster than the McLaren F1; take that supercar.
In the 1990s Porsche needed to bring in more money to stay financially solvent and these were two of the products of either being part of a large brand group or the genius of a domestic partnership that made use of the amazing engineering and features Porsche could offer. Thankfully these partnerships worked and helped keep Porsche afloat, bringing us something for this conversation and a continuation of some of the hottest and most fun to drive sports cars to ever be built. It may be hard to believe that these cars were built with this type of collaboration, but you can’t deny the fact that they were awesome to drive and two of the quickest ever of their kind.