The two-door RS 5 coupe is another Audi super car that was designed to amaze with its staggering performance on the race tracks but also to please with its everyday practicality. Again, the price of more than a crore alongside exorbitant service charges would make it ‘practical’ for very few people but we need to see how strongly it challenges its competitors that include BMW M3 and Mercedes Benz C63 AMG. Furthermore, does it have the forte to eat into the sales of the R8 coupe that uses the same 4.2 litre V8 engine but is priced much higher?
With this 4163 cc V8 FSi engine mated to 7-Speed S-tronic transmission, the RS 5 Quattro coupe has 445 bhp (at 8250 rpm) and 43.8 kgm of torque (at 4000-6000 rpm). It had a facelift for model year 2012 that brought only some cosmetic upgrades. There were no mechanical changes as the RS 5 is a fairly new member of the Audi family.
Here’s Ecardlr’s report on the road test of the coupe that combines athleticism and luxury in a glamorous form:
The Exteriors and Engineering
After the facelift, the RS 5 retains its matte aluminium look. The single frame grille has bevelled upper corners and slick, anthracite grey honeycomb structure pattern. The four rings and the number plate also sit on the grille along with an RS 5 moniker on the left. With prominent creases the hood gives this car its swanky and aggressive front look and the bi-xenon headlamps have LED daytime running lights on their outer edges. These get a washer system and offer the convenience of automatic range adjustment. The side air-intakes are fairly big and have a honeycomb design like the grille. By paying extra you can get a driving aid camera integrated on to the right air-intake.
Audi RS 5 is 23 mm longer and 6 mm wider than the A5 sedan (which is not available in Indian market). It sits closer to the ground by 6mm. The flared wheel arches of this coupe are part of the RS body styling kit. This Audi coupe gets 19 inch alloy wheels with smart 5 spoke design and these wear 265/35 R19 tyres. As a standard attribute, the wheels are secured with special anti-theft wheel bolts. The sloping crease between the wheel arches is a design attribute shared with most other Audi cars.
At the rear we see the familiar wedge design for the two-piece tail lamps and they have LEDs for better luminosity. This car has speed-activated retractable rear spoiler on its boot and there’s the RS 5 badge on the left. Right below the sleek, broad bumper are the two oval exhaust pipes with a chrome lining and matte-black finish.
The coupe version of A5, Audi RS 5 is based on MLB platform of the Volkswagen Group and has the latest generation of the Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive. Its torque vectoring function distributes different amounts of driving force to each wheel as required but has a rear wheel bias under general conditions.
This cat looks big but is relatively compact to park even in some tight spaces.
Cabin Design and Ergonomics
Getting inside the cabin you sit on low slung seats and see the usual levels of refinement that are expected in a car of its class. Matt brushed aluminium inlays with all-black cabin add to its sporty feel and the three-spoke chunky steering wheel is wrapped in leather. The two seats in the front are power adjustable for height and lumbar support. Upholstered in Alcantara or Nappa leather (customisable at dealer level), these seats are also heated and have a 3-stage heating control besides memory package for the driver’s seat. Contrast stitching and RS embossing underscores their look in the super car’s cabin.
The interiors of RS 5 coupe are cooled by three zone deluxe climate control. Integrated on the dashboard is the 7 inch MMI screen that displays the menu for Audi Music Interface and helps you with navigation and parking system functions if you opt for these two features. Bluetooth compatibility is standard and port is provided for your iPod and USB MP3 device.
Cruise control and paddle sifters are also standard for the RS 5. The drive modes controls on the centre console are easy to use. Pedal size in driver’s footwell is large suiting the athletic nature of this car and a dead pedal is provided. The cockpit as a whole is aesthetically premium and ergonomically smart.
At the rear there is enough space for small children but legroom for adults is restricted. There is a broad armrest between the two seats. The rear centre console has AC vents with controls. You get a space of 455 litres in the boot and this makes it practical for your weekend trip with a couple of suitcases.
The interior lighting system includes lighting of the front and rear footwell and illumination of the vanity mirrors. There are reflectors on the doors, rear reading lights, ingress lights, and the glove box is illuminated for finer aesthetics. The fit and finish of the entire cabin is remarkable and there is no shortage of luxury even if the actual USP of this car is its performance – the factor that we check next.
Powertrain, Gearbox and Prowess
At idling the naturally aspirated 4.2 V8 engine sounds refined but rev it hard and the sound that this petrol mill makes can be intimidating and hints at the mighty power of 445 German horses. Unlike the mid-engine layout of the R8, the powerful petrol engine is tightly packed under the hood of this car.
Slot the gear selector into the Drive mode and the RS 5 starts to pull. With its mind boggling power it just roars to go ahead. It is effortless to drive in the city and there is a nice spread of torque so you can enjoy the coupe in low rev range too. Indeed, you do not always need to rev up to enjoy the RS 5. The peak torque of 43.8 kgm kicks in at 4000 rpm. But it sure is itching to show its sporty abilities on clearer roads.
The RS 5 goes to 100 km/hour from standstill in 5 seconds and can go up to 200 km/hour in 17.5 seconds. If you do not keep an eye on the accelerator it runs into three digit speeds rather too soon. To make the driving experience even more fabulous, the engineers at Audi have put a special flap in the exhaust pipe that flicks open as the car is turned into the Dynamic mode. It adds more base to the exhaust. So the mechanical sound of the engine and that roaring base create a sports car noise and make your experience behind the wheel even more thrilling. The growl however comes in a linear fashion as you build up the revs.
Even when you are driving this coupe in a relaxed style, it is enjoyable. The 7 speed S-tronic transmission does its job pretty well with slick gear changes. It sends power to all four wheels and is very responsive when you need to downshift. In fact most of the automatic gearboxes play safe but this one is ready to downshift even if it requires the engine to spin at 8000 rpm. Overtaking is pretty simple and you do not need to use the paddle shifters quite often. It goes from 20 km/hour to 80 km/hour in 3.75 seconds and 40 km/hour to 100 km/hour in 4.15 seconds.
The three driving (transmission) modes are Drive, Sports and Manual. You can engage the manual mode by flicking the gear selector to its left or simply by clicking either of the two paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. The engine can be revved up to a certain extent but if you try to test it too hard, it will upshift automatically.
The RS 5 uses sophisticated electronic hardware and that makes it both fast and flexible. There is 445 bhp on tap but the massive torque kicks in at just 4000 rpm. The Quattro all wheel drive technology sends 60 percent of the torque to the rear and this can go up to 80 percent for the rear and up to 70 percent for the front when required.
Ride and Handling
Audi drive select has three modes to choose from – Dynamic, Comfort, Auto. With a stiff suspension layout there is some bobbling in the ride when this coupe is in the Dynamic mode. So if the tarmac you’re driving on has lots of undulations, do switch over to the Comfort mode for more pliant ride. But the RS 5 still gives a more comfortable ride than what you would expect in a 2 door sports coupe. Being a car with a low stance, it needs to be taken with care over speed bumps lest you will scrape its underbelly.
The behaviour of the steering, gearbox and exhaust system is also altered with the changes in the driving modes. When the RS 5 is being driven on better paved highways at speed it feels sharp, thanks to the torque vectoring system. The aero dynamism and stability of the car is enhanced by the rear spoiler that pops out at speeds above 120 km/hour.
If the road you are driving on is not well paved but is clear for speed and twists with some good corners, you can put the suspension in Comfort mode and set the rest in Dynamic mode - the RS 5 then lets you enjoy its power and handling while providing a comfortable ride quality. On the whole the dynamics of this Audi coupe are splendid. The Quattro gives the RS 5 a good grip while working with the 285/35 section tyres. Even if the ESP is turned off, the car stays in control.
Despite being nose heavy this coupe can sort itself out while going around a corner. The power is channelled to the outer wheels for better turning ability. But there is fair amount of understeer felt while cornering. And you will not be very impressed by the steering feedback. There is a sense of disconnect with the road on loose surfaces and this gets scary at high speeds so do drive safe. The brakes have a good bite and impress with their ability to stop the RS 5. Anti lock braking and electronic brake force distribution with brake assist are standard features that further add to the safety.
Audi claims a fuel economy of 10 km/litre for this super car. But in the real world it consumes considerably more. We got 5 km/litre in the city and 6.5 km/litre on the highways.
The RS 5 assertively shows off its sports car aptitude when you test its performance. With its aerodynamic design it looks smart and has good level of bells and whistles in its premium cabin. The normally aspirated 4.2 litre engine touches the right chords and the Quattro system does a delightful job of power distribution to wheels. But then with a fuel economy of 5 to 6.5 km/litre you may not like to use this car in the city even if it is easy to drive on. Also, the rear seats offer limited legroom and headroom and getting into that part of cabin is also little tricky - the car is therefore suitable for just two people. But if you can afford this super coupe, bear its guzzling and regular service charges, it will be a pleasure to go for those weekend drives in this Audi product.
With greater power than BMW M3 and shorter 0-100 km/hour duration, it does challenge the Bimmer strongly. And although Mercedes Benz C63 AMG has a larger engine and is known to be more fluid on twisting roads, the RS 5 wins the hearts of those who prefer a sleeker silhouette and nimble nature for their sports cars. For enthusiasts, the RS 5 is even more fun-to-drive and practical than its two-seater cousin R8.
Audi RS 5 comes to India on CBU basis and is priced at Rs.1.05 crore (ex-showroom price Delhi).
Value for Money: 3.5/5