2018 Audi RS5 review
Our Rating

4/5

2018 Audi RS5 review

We get behind the wheel of the dynamic coupe from Audi that is battling against the BMW M4 and the Mercedes-AMG C63 S.

Introduction

The A5 is already one of Audi’s most dynamic-looking models, with the 2+2 coupe a wide and low cruiser with an elegant roofline – all on top of a well-sorted chassis.

But when given the RS treatment, the A5 becomes more aggressive on the outside, as well as under the bonnet – with a 2.9-litre turbocharged V6 unit in use.

The RS5 offers the same high level of specification you would expect from an RS model, while also coming with dynamic equipment to improve the overall experience.

So, can this sporty version of the mid-sized Audi coupe match up to its closest German rivals? We find out…

2017 Audi RS5

Performance

Previous versions of the RS5 were fitted with a large naturally-aspirated V8 engine, but due to the increased pressure on manufacturers to reduce emissions and the size of its engines, Audi has replaced the eight-cylinder offering with a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 – developed with help from Porsche. When used in the RS5, the unit develops 444bhp and 600Nm of torque, whilst being paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and the renowned quattro all-wheel drive.

With that combination, the RS5 can sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.7 seconds and go on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph – as is the norm with many German sports models. The optional dynamic package can raise the limiter up to 174mph. Audi has engineered the RS5 so that the power delivery is consistent, predictable but intoxicating when you press your foot to the floor on an open road. With the turbos and automatic transmission on board, the power delivery may lag at first, but once that is overcome the RS5 powers on.

See Available RS 5 Deals
2017 Audi RS5

Ride & Handling

Unlike its major rivals that are much more honed and aimed at track-like performance, the RS5 is much more suited to long-range cruising. With Audi cutting the overall weight from its predecessor by 60kg, it sticks well through the corners – although you should ease off slightly to prevent understeer. But when given a long road with few obstacles, the RS5 is relentless as the engine is allowed to get into full flow and get up some serious pace.

With the optional adaptive suspension on-board and set to ‘comfort’, the RS5 feels cossetted and well-balanced to allow for impressive cruising – although when the car is fitted with 20-inch alloys, harsher sections of road can translate into the cabin. It can also feel floaty over crests, but on the whole, it helps the RS5 work excellently as a GT car.

2017 Audi RS5

Interior & Equipment

When upgraded to RS spec, most Audis don’t feel any more premium than their unmodified siblings, and that’s the case with the RS5 as well. Not that’s necessarily a bad thing – everything is well-placed in the cabin and all the materials used are up to a high level – but it just doesn’t feel as special as you would think.

Storage-wise, the RS5 has a 465-litre boot, which is more than enough for a few bags to go on holiday. If you don’t need to back seats, you can fold them down for an improved load space – although the floor will be slightly sloped. Passenger space is also rather good, but six-footers may have to stoop slightly to fit under the angled roofline.

Despite not being the most exciting cabin in the world, the RS5 still comes with RS sports seats with leather upholstery, a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, the customisable Virtual Cockpit instrument display, the MMI touchscreen infotainment display with smartphone integration and a head-up display. Automatic climate control and other creature comforts also feature, so even though it isn’t the most invigorating interior, you get everything you need in the RS5 cabin.

2017 Audi RS5

Cost

With all of that equipment and performance available, the RS5 starts from £63,615 – matching up well to its closest rivals. We got behind the wheel of a model that was specced up to £80,740 – although there is no need to add that much equipment to it.

Considering the model’s performance, the RS5 can return a quoted 32.5mpg and emissions of 197g/km CO2 – which is quite impressive.

2017 Audi RS5

Verdict

It may not be as exciting as its closest German rivals, but Audi isn’t aiming for the M4 and the C63 with this – as the RS5 is a much more accomplished cruiser and GT car than both of them. The interior might not be the most exciting, but it’s spacious and well-sized to accommodate four people in comfort – while also coming with plenty of equipment as standard. It is also comfortable when cruising, and with the powerful engine under the bonnet, long journeys won’t be tasking. Overall, the RS5 can be an excellent continent-cruiser.

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