Skip advert
Advertisement

New Audi RS 5 2017 review

Potent new Audi RS 5 coupe has been downsized to a V6, but is it still fun to drive?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Find your Audi RS5
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

The new Audi RS5 is incredibly fast for a big two-door coupe. Its new turbocharged V6 doesn’t make or break the car’s character, but many potential buyers will be left wanting by the inert and predictable handling. Others might find solace in the RS5’s refinement, effortless pace and luxurious interior. Just be sure you know what you want before signing on the dotted line.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Downsized turbo engines are here to stay and the new Audi RS 5 is the latest car to abandon its free-revving 4.2-litre V8 in favour of a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6. We drive it in the UK for the first time.

It’s not as if the switch to turbocharging has dented the coupe’s performance credentials; Audi claims the RS 5 takes only 3.9 seconds to cover 0-62mph. But a car like this requires character and a charm that justifies its hefty £62,900 price tag.

On its own, the RS 5’s ability to cover ground simply, swiftly and without deliberation makes it a hugely appealing road car. But alongside rivals such as Mercedes-AMG’s boisterous C 63 Coupe and BMW’s lairy but unpredictable M4, the Audi could come across as less inspiring.

Start it up and it sounds muted. The low-down torque means there’s no benefit in letting the engine scream to its red line, and even when you do it shows there’s only limited vocal range. It’s certainly no match for the Mercedes-AMG’s 4.0-litre V8.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Our car’s Dynamic Ride Control system threw up some questions, too. Many of these set-ups don’t offer enough contrast when switching between modes, but the Audi’s Dynamic setting is simply too stiff.

Advertisement - Article continues below

That said, the RS 5 rides incredibly well in Comfort mode, but dialling it up a notch makes the coupe too firm for UK roads. If you avoid the most aggressive setting, the Audi is easily one of the fastest and most comfortable road cars on sale, with a very different character to its rivals. 

There’s loads of grip and plenty of traction, allowing you to fire the Audi out of tight bends, but the new RS 5 always feels safe and well behaved. Granted, not everyone wants a sports coupé with a wild side, but for many, the ability to deliver truly engaging handling when you pull off the motorway is an important factor.

It’s also not that economical. Audi says it will do 32.5mpg (vs the old V8’s 26.9mpg), but a heavy right foot will see that dip dramatically. The lower CO2 has no benefit for private buyers, either, because the high list price levies an annual flat rate of £450.

There’s no faulting the cabin, though. Everything feels crafted with an absolute attention to detail, and quality is second to none. But just as you feel from behind the wheel, there’s little to mark it out as an RS.

Click on the gallery above to see more of the new Audi RS 5...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New EU worn tyre rules could save 400m tyres and £5.9 billion a year
Skoda Octavia heavy braking on a wet road surface
News

New EU worn tyre rules could save 400m tyres and £5.9 billion a year

Tyres at the 1.6mm legal minimum tread depth must still meet same performance standards as new tyres, says the EU
18 Jul 2024
New Kia Sportage facelift caught on camera at the Nurburgring
Kia Sportage facelift spyshot 1
News

New Kia Sportage facelift caught on camera at the Nurburgring

Kia’s big-selling mid-size SUV is about to get a makeover for 2025
19 Jul 2024
New Volkswagen Golf 2024 facelift review: updates are a step in the right direction
Volkswagen Golf facelift 2024 UK - front
Road tests

New Volkswagen Golf 2024 facelift review: updates are a step in the right direction

The Volkswagen Golf has been updated to keep it competitive against the likes of the Skoda Octavia and Honda Civic
19 Jul 2024