There are only three names that matter when it comes to the hotly contested compact-executive high performance coupé segment: Mercedes, BMW and Audi. The RS 5 has finally received a complete overhaul and even though it is late to the party the engineers at Audi have made sure that it has come in swinging. With down sizing now a trend with car makers gone is the Lamborghini derived naturally aspirated V8 and in is the new twin-turbo charged V6 powering the new coupé.
Audi’s nomenclature is quite simple compared to its German rivals when it comes to their high performance car line-up. You have the S-cars which sit above the regular models, then you have the RS-cars which are king of their respective tier. No brand, sub-brand and super-brand with another brand on top of that. Of course we are very loudly hinting at a certain CS moniker which was recently introduced in a rival firm’s line-up.
From the exterior one is in no doubt whatsoever that the new RS 5 is an RS car. The front chin of the car juts out rather aggressively with black accenting to highlight the front diffuser. The bonnet has creases which give the impression of motion even when the car is at a stand still and the rear apron has been complemented by the signature RS Oval exhaust tips. The headlights have additional air inlets on the surrounds just like the 720 S but not as large. One would have to know to look for them otherwise they could be mistaken for design elements. These help funnel air along ducts in the side of the car and out similar air outlets tucked on the tail light surrounds. This aids in aerodynamics. Several of the cars features such as the boot lip, the side mirrors and various other inserts can be optioned in carbon fibre to further accentuate the car’s aggressive stance.
The last generation Audi RS 5 was powered by a normally aspirated V8 engine that was very closely linked to the V10 in the Lamborghini Gallardo. It produced 331kw of power and 430 Nm of torque. With environmental concerns at the forefront of most car companies’ strategies the RS 5 now features a twin turbo charged 2.9 litre V6. The engine has a similar output to the last generation engine but pumps out more torque with 600 Nm between 1900-5000 rpm. This gives the car more usable torque as it has a wider bandwidth compared to the 2000 rpm torque bandwidth of the outgoing car which could only be achieved at higher revs. The 2.9 litre V6 engine is also 31 kg lighter than the outgoing engine. This translates to less weight over the front axle of the car which should aid the car’s handling. This forms part of the 60 kg overall weight saving the new car has over the last iteration.
The engine is coupled to Audi’s 8-speed automatic gearbox which gives the car a 0-100 kph time of 3.9 s and a claimed limited top speed of 250 kph. In typical Audi fashion the top speed can be raised for a price. Audi’s Quattro four wheel drive is standard and delivers 60% of the power to the rear wheels under normal conditions. If slip is detected at either axle up to 85% of the power can be directed to the front axle while a maximum of 70% of power can be directed to the rear axle. There is also an optional electromechanical differential available for the RS 5.
The cockpit is a sea of black with red contrasting stitching on the steering wheel, seats and arm rests. The car features Audi’s flat bottomed steering wheel as standard. However, Audi’s virtual cockpit is an option even at the price point on offer. The infotainment center is a 7 inch display as standard but can be upgraded to an 8.3 inch display.
The Audi RS 5 Coupé weighs in at 1730 kg right between the lighter BMW M4 and the heavy weight C63 AMG Coupé. Audi are marketing it as a grand tourer as opposed to an all out track weapon. With four wheel drive as standard it will no doubt be a safe alternative to the rear wheel drive only competition. Couple this to what is easily the best interior of the three cars and this latest RS Coupé is a very attractive proposition.