As soon as Audi announced it was building a coupe based on the A4 sedan it was obvious that the full-on, full-power RS model would be on its way, and now it has arrived. From the ultra-aggressive body style to the extremely powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine the RS5 fits solidly into the RS mold, but there are a few signs that this RS is not necessarily as hard-edged as it’s now out of production RS4 sibling.
It begins with the moment the driver slides into the seat. It is heavily bolstered, sure, but it doesn’t nearly grab the body as hard as the seat in an RS4. Here’s also no button that automatically clamps the wings of the seat towards the driver as in the RS4, which may have seemed a gimmick to some, but it did feel as if there was a deeper connection with the car.
There is one positive side to the seat though, as the backrest is not nearly as thick as that in the RS4, where it ate into rear-seat legroom, and in a coupe-like the RS5 that is a very important consideration.
Audi 4.2 Liter V8 FSI Engine
Powering the RS5 is the latest version of Audi’s 4.2-liter FSI V8 engine, producing 331kW (450 horsepower) and 430Nm of torque. It’s one of those rare naturally aspirated engines that surpass the 100 horsepower per liter point, which means there’s plenty of racing style technology in play.
The sound is pure RS, with a deep below of induction accompanied by a roaring exhaust and a satisfying ‘huff’ from the exhaust pipe when the car changes gear. The gearbox is a seven-speed “S-Tronic” which in this case means a dual-clutch gearbox rather than a more conventional automatic.
Combined with the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive the engine and gearbox are powerful enough and tough enough to get the car to 100km/h (62mph) in a claimed 4.6 seconds, and that’s entirely believable. Top speed is electronically regulated to the standard 250km/h most German manufacturers adhere to.
RS5 Too Quick?
But if anything, the Audi RS5 is just too good at driving exceptionally quickly and going around corners at terrifying speeds. Thanks to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system there’s always enough traction to launch the car out of a tight bend and the V8 has enough power and torque all across the rev range to provide instant acceleration.
In a way that is a bit of a shame, strangely enough, as the driver often gets the feeling that the car is doing most of the driving, rather than the driver. It’s a feeling that Audi has almost always – even if only accidentally – built into its cars.
There’s no doubt that the RS5 is an extremely accomplished car, from the sleek design with RS additions to the sound and sheer performance – technically it is a visual and mechanical masterpiece and if Audi could just make it feel a bit more like a real drivers car it would be a real winner.