£63,615 Price range
The RS5 is a twin-turbocharged, 450hp version of Audi’s smart A5 coupe that gets a grippy quattro four-wheel-drive system as standard. It’ll rocket from 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds and comes with a sumptuous cabin that has loads of high-tech features.
The new RS5 has a 2.9-litre V6 engine and drives all four wheels through a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox. It produces a supercar-like 450hp yet will return an impressive (for such a powerful car) 30mpg in real-world driving.
Putting fuel economy aside – as most RS5 drivers will – it’s searingly quick in a straight line and takes twisty roads in its stride. It doesn’t feel quite as sharp as a BMW M4 or Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio but it’ll still put a huge smile on your face. You’ll feel a slight delay after stamping on the accelerator before the big RS5 lunges forward but it’s easy to forget about this minuscule hesitation once its 2.9-litre V6 shouts its merry burble through the large oval exhausts.
Once you’re done having fun on an empty back road, the RS5 settles down into a quiet, comfortable cruise. It does such a good job of masking bumps in the road you might think you’re sitting in a standard A5 – especially if you pay £2,000 extra for the upgraded adaptive suspension.
This confusion isn’t helped by the fact the RS5’s cabin looks almost indistinguishable from the standard car’s interior. You get swathes of familiar plush leather and soft-touch plastics but only a few small RS badges and a flat-bottomed steering wheel hint that this £63,000 super coupe is anything other than a 2.0-litre diesel A5.
Thankfully, you get Audi’s terrific Virtual Cockpit display as standard. This 12.3-inch unit replaces conventional analogue dials with a customisable high-resolution screen. It looks fantastically sharp and can even display directions from the standard sat nav combined with gorgeous google earth imagery.
All these features are controlled through a scroll wheel and button arrangement on the RS5’s centre console. It’s more intuitive than the setup you get in a C63 AMG but the M4’s iDrive system still leads the field in terms of usability.
Another slight mark against the RS5 is that its heavily bolstered sports seats could do with an extra inch of height adjustment to help you get comfy if you’re very tall. You do get adjustable lumbar support as standard, however, and the seats slide forward automatically to help your passengers jump into the back.
Squeeze into the rear seats yourself and you’ll find a decent amount of leg and headroom but carrying three abreast will be a very tight fit.
The RS5’s boot can carry the same 465 litres of luggage as the standard A5. It’s bigger and easier to load than the boots in the 445-litre BMW M4 and 355-litre Mercedes C63 AMG and the back seats fold in a three-way (40:20:40) split so you can carry long luggage and two rear passengers at once.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash tested the RS5 but the standard A5 received an impressive five-star safety rating in 2015. The tests have been made stricter since then, but the RS5’s standard automatic emergency braking and optional adaptive cruise control will help keep you as safe as possible.
The Audi RS5 is an incredibly accomplished coupe that’s staggeringly fast and impressively easy to drive but it can’t match the outright excitement provided by the thrill-a-minute BMW M4 and raucous Mercedes C63 AMG.