Audi RS5 review
The Audi RS5 is an incredibly fast and comfortable coupe, but it’s not as fun as some rivals
The Audi RS5 is incredibly fast in a straight line, sticks like little else in the corners and yet it’s a refined, comfortable and easy car to live with at the same time. Since the introduction of the diesel-powered S5, there’s a little more to help the RS model to stand alone at the top of the family; however, buyers can get 90% of that feeling from the slightly less powerful car in the A5 range.
The RS 5 still lacks the outright sharpness and excitement of high-performance rivals from BMW and Mercedes. It’s also missing a crucial ingredient that made previous models fun – a great engine. While the twin turbo V6 certainly packs a punch, it doesn’t have the character – both in terms of sound and delivery – to make an impact.
Audi has established the RS badge as the name of its performance models, and the RS 5 is a mainstay of the range. RS cars benefit from input from Audi Sport, the company's motorsport division, and the RS badge carries as much weight with performance car fans as the M badge from BMW and Mercedes' AMG brand.
The RS 5 is the fastest version of the A5 on sale, available in two-door Coupe and five-door Sportback body styles. It slots in above the S5 models and features the same running gear as the high-performance RS 4 Avant estate. That means it gets a 2.9 TFSI 444bhp twin-turbo V6 under the bonnet, quattro four-wheel drive and an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox as standard. This gives a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds, while the top speed is 174mph.
The main rival for the RS 5 is the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, which is available in saloon, coupe, estate and convertible body styles.
Another model created in a similar vein to the Audi RS 5 is the Lexus RC F, while the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a four-door saloon that offers performance in the same ballpark. What all these cars have in common – and marks them out from the quattro RS 5 – is rear-wheel drive. Unfortunately for the Audi, that means most rivals are more engaging to drive, although the RS 5 does make up for this with the ability to cover ground at remarkable speed, even in inclement weather.
Compared to the standard Audi A5 Coupe and A5 Sportback, the RS 5 gets an aggressive makeover, with wider wheelarches evoking the look of the original Audi Quattro, 19-inch forged alloy wheels, LED headlights and satin silver trim. If you want to turn things up a notch, Audi offers the Carbon Black version with a black carbon roof, wing mirrors and extra detailing, along with the Vorsprung model which adds unique 20-inch alloys, a gloss-black styling pack and RS Sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC).
Prices for the RS 5 Coupe are identical and start at around £69,000 – a figure that puts it squarely against its BMW and Mercedes rivals.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Audi RS5 is an incredibly fast and comfortable coupe, but it’s not as fun as some rivals
- 2Engines, performance and driveMighty quick in a straight line, but dull-sounding engine and inert handling put RS5 behind rivals
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe RS5 offers impressive economy considering the performance on tap
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe RS5 offers a first-class cabin, with superb build quality and intuitive tech
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Audi RS5 is one of the more practical hot coupes
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Audi RS5 scores highly for safety, but customer feedback suggests reliability is a concern