Blistering barnacles! Those blistered fenders on the new Audi RS 5 Sportback, and that stance! Some say that it is the wheels and how they sit that maketh the car. And in this case, the first ever family friendly version of the Audi RS5 in my humble opinion is prettier than its 2-door coupe sibling. In-fact, it looks a lot more mental than the vanilla A5 Sportback.
We love how its flared wheel arches are complemented by widened door sills. Just as head-turning, is its RS bumper with enlarged air intakes and blade, the latter to direct airflow. Its distinctive honeycomb grille, with relief ‘quattro’ lettering at its base, easily makes the RS 5 Sportback distinguishable from the average A5.
Putting grip onto tarmac, are a set of Hankook Ventus S1 Evo2 275/30 ZR rated tyres on 20” rims (you get a choice of four designs), fit snugly into the wheel wells.
At the rear, and as with all Audi RS cars, the RS 5 Sportback comes with oval tailpipe covers, each which cover a pair of D-shaped exhaust pipes. Rear tail lamps are tastefully flanked by vertical air outlets; a little tribute to the 1989 Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO racing car. As one can expect, typical understated German fashion, the boot lid of the RS5 Sportback is topped off with an almost discreet spoiler lip.
The Audi virtual cockpit, features a centralised rev counter, complete with shift light and even a lap timer are within your line of sight. Audi has also included a windshield-projected head-up display, allowing you to keep your eyes fixed on the road.
The bulk of the interior is carried over from the standard Audi A4 and A5 cars, while familiar, it also means that quality, fit and finish is super. A flat bottomed sports steering wheel, bucket-style seats with its rhombus motif mirrored onto the seat cushions, and carbon fiber trim, sets the RS 5 apart from the A5. Audi has also included their massage function with their front seats, adding a little more comfort for longer journeys.
Rear seats are well sculpted and supportive, and you do get an additional 25mm of precious headroom; while leg space is generous, in-part due to the Sportback having a 60mm longer wheelbase versus the coupe.
It is also a practical sports car. You get 430 litres of cargo room, and the boot opens in liftback fashion; making loading and unloading less of a chore. A stiff chassis ensures that there is no need for additional strutting, meaning that you still can fold the rear seats for an additional 35 litres if you do need to haul large items. Its two rigid cargo covers also tuck neatly under the boot board, delivering near-estate car (or Avant in Audi talk) versatility.
A 2.9 litre V6 engine which sits under the hood, is also shared with the Porsche Panamera 4S. The V6 is force-fed by twin turbochargers, located within the “V” of the engine, helping to deliver quicker response from spooling up. Power is rated at 450hp, while maximum torque is readily available from between 1,900 to 5,000rpm.
Drive to its four wheels is through an 8-speed tiptronic transmission, which swaps cogs surprisingly quick. Acceleration to 100km/h is done in only 3.9 seconds (the heavier RS 4 Avant in 4.1 seconds). The milder Audi S5 with the same body shape does this in 4.7 seconds.
Unlike Mercedes-AMG C63 which still uses a mental V8 engine, with an equally mental soundtrack, the V6 in the RS 5 delivers its performance in a rather muted fashion; and because of that, it is even more so, deceivingly quick, albeit slightly clinical. It however feels seemingly effortless in getting you from here… to there… at speed, and plenty of it.
With a 40:60 split of drive between the front and rear axles respectively, the RS 5 responds quite like a RWD car, but with the advantage of the front wheels also doing the driving work; which is helpful when putting all that potential into straight-line acceleration.
Allocation of drive can be directed to the front and rear wheels to a maximum of 85% or 70% respectively. Additionally, the RS 5’s wheel selective torque control enables individual wheels to deliver more drive than others when needed, ideal when you are pitching the car into bends, where there are ever-changing shifts in weight and grip to the wheels. Speaking of wheels, those Hankooks are surprisingly grippy.
The front and rear 5-link suspension setup, in which Audi had opted to utilise conventional dampers, instead of adaptive ones, is set up for a firm ride. There is however enough give for you to use the RS 5 as an everyday driver. It is easy to live with, that is if you prefer a car with a perpetually firm ride.
A well insulated interior, also means that most of the road noise is kept at bay, and communicating with fellow passengers is not going to be a chore.
Compared to the outgoing M3 and C63, the RS 5 feels a little more refined… a little more casual business suit if you may.
Among the big German three, the RS 5 (for now) is the only offering in four-door coupe guise, which makes it unique.
However if you are keen on a good all-rounder, with the added comfort of adaptive dampers, and a lower price tag, the S5 Sportback might just be the sweet spot within the A5 range.
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