Audi RS5 review
The Audi RS5 is blisteringly quick thanks to a throaty twin-turbocharged V6 engine, but does lack the level of fun a BMW M4 or Mercedes-AMG C63 S can offer
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This is a crown jewel of a car. The Audi RS5 is the top dog of the A5 range, bringing blistering performance to the coupe’s line-up to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S and BMW M4.
That said, the Audi RS5 is visually not a far cry from the regular A5 on which it’s based. Think more Joe Bloggs from the other side of the office that’s managed to stick to his new year resolution of going to the gym for six months, rather than a competitive weightlifter priming up for the next world championships.
There is the aggressively large grille up front, flanked by large and functional air intakes, leading into extended side skirts and a tweaked rear bumper to add a little more brawn to the design of the RS5. Its wheel arches are swollen too, similar to Joe Blogg’s biceps, to help accommodate wider tyres in the name of more grip.
Its what lies under the bulging bonnet that puts the RS in the Audi RS5, though. Its 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged spits out 450hp to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, good for 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds.
A little bit annoyingly, all but the Vorsprung trim are electronically limited to 155mph – with the range-topper unleashed to 174mph. Granted, you’re not going to see anywhere near either of those figures outside of a racetrack or sections of the Autobahn, but it will make the pub brag a little bit underwhelming if opt a lower-spec car.
You expect cars this fast to force you to make some sort of compromise, but the RS5 could hardly be any easier to drive very quickly. It’s a great all-rounder.
There’s no denying that the Audi RS5 is a ferociously fast thing in the real world regardless of how you option it, though. Its performance in a straight line is blistering, no matter the conditions thanks to its clever Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
That said, the driving experience isn’t one for the most hardcore of purists. Sure, it has bags of grip and is very predictable to drive, but it lacks in sharpness compared with alternatives in the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S. There’s not a huge amount of feedback through the chassis for the driver too.
As an everyday performance coupe, the Audi RS5 is the one to have though. In normal driving its settles down well, proving quiet, comfortable and simply effortless to drive. Particularly so with the adaptive dampers available on Vorsprung cars which allows the RS5 to be switched into racier modes when the time arises and a comfort mode for the rest of your driving. Frustratingly, this used to be an option on all pre-facelift trim levels but is now locked exclusively to Vorsprung.
As for other equipment though, the Audi RS5 is loaded with it as standard. An infotainment system and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster come as standard, along with three-zone climate control, Nappa leather heated seats with a massage function and keyless go. List pricing starts around £70k, and it’s fair to say there’s a lot for that money.
There’s no compromise on the relative practicality of the A5 platform here as well. The Audi RS5 retains a 450-litre boot capacity, edging out the old BMW M4’s 440 litre offering the well ahead of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S’ 380-litre boot.
It’s no family car, though. Space in the two rear seats is tight at best and are more suited for carrying an extra bag or two rather than people. For a properly practical performance car, the Audi RS4 Avant matches the RS5 for pace and has the benefit of being a spacious estate.
If you can live without that extra practicality and want a performance car that’s just at home on a motorway as it is tearing up a twisty road, you could do worse than an Audi RS5. If that’s you, head on over to our deals page for the very best prices.