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In-depth reviews

Audi RS5 review

The Audi RS5 is an incredibly fast and comfortable coupe, but it’s not as fun as some rivals

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£67,505 to £85,405
  • Huge performance
  • Great cruiser
  • Top interior
  • Not as fun as rivals
  • Dull engine
  • Not exciting to drive

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 per cent of that feeling from a slightly less powerful car in the A5 range.

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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.

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The main rival for the RS 5 is the Mercedes-AMG C 63. The C 63 comes in saloon, coupe, estate and convertible body styles, as well as the option to upgrade to the more powerful C 63 S version.

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 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.

The 444bhp V6 petrol gives the RS 5 a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds, while the top speed in UK cars – all of which are equipped with the Sport Edition trim and therefore a more lenient speed limiter – is 174mph. 

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 Edition with a black carbon roof, wing mirrors and extra detailing.

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.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    RS 5 TFSI Quattro 2dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £67,505

Most Economical

  • Name
    RS 5 TFSI Quattro 2dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £67,505

Fastest

  • Name
    RS 5 TFSI Quattro 2dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £67,505
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