Sitting atop the A5 platform, the RS5 brings relentless ferocity and focus to the table. In an increasingly turbocharged world of sports cars, where even the likes of Ferrari are succumbing to the adulterated idea of forced induction, the RS5 prides itself for being a naturally aspirated machine. Slightly understated, yet unmistakably aggressive, extremely performance focused, featuring a sporty coupe shape, the RS5 looks utterly exclusive, especially on Indian roads, where finding a two door car by itself is rarer than finding a pot of gold under a rainbow. We took this crazy machine painted in a resplendent blue to Lonavala, and realized how insistently purposeful it was.
Is the RS5 in pictures here a brand new model?
The RS5 was originally introduced in the year 2010 at the Geneva Auto Show. It’s designed and developed by Audi’s Quattro division, which specializes in making the fastest cars adorning the four interlinked rings. The model we test here was introduced in 2012, a year before it was launched in India. Why do we test it now? Well, quite simply because you never refuse to test a 450 bhp car. And we were offered one, so there.
So what sort of metal brings to life those 450 ponies?
The RS5 sports a high revving 4.2 liter V8 naturally aspirated petrol engine. Featuring FSI direct injection, the powerplant, as mentioned before, dishes out 450 horses (444 bhp to be accurate) @ 8250 RPM. Twist is rated at 430 Nm @ 4000 RPM. Impressive numbers, all of those, except probably the torque. Then again, you’ll get to rev this car to the top of a rainbow and back, unlike those turbocharged machines which boast a higher torque, but fall flat the moment you try swinging the tacho needle for a six.
What kind of real-world performance does that hardware and those specs translate into?
It’s fast, very fast. Though not as insanely, beguilingly and overwhelmingly as its bigger RS7 sibling, the RS5 is fast enough to scare your mommy-in-law bloodless if you so wished. The 0-100 sprint takes a hint more than 4.5 seconds with the top speed restricted to 250 km/h. Ask the Audi boys nicely, and they would increase it to 280 km/h for you, for a little extra money, of course. And the RS5 wouldn’t frown one bit while taking you to those silly speeds. Transmission duties are taken care of by the sublime 7-speed dual clutch S-Tronic transmission. The engine transmission combo is one of the best you’ll find anywhere on the planet. The hardware thrusting that coupe forward is worth its weight in gold.
So it goes real fast. Does it look as good?
The current version of the RS5 received some design changes over its predecessor for a sharper appearance. The idea was to give this coupe a more planted, athletic and muscular stance on the road. The single frame grille on the car got its upper corners chamfered for the effect. The powerful, wide bonnet gets two pronounced creases emanating from the A-pillar and merging into the grille to achieve a daunting face for the RS5.
The wedge shaped LED headlamps make the front look sharp. The radiator grille’s insides are done in a honeycomb mesh pattern in a satin silver finish – adding to the car’s appeal enormously. An RS5 badge finished in silver, red and chrome stands guard to dispel any doubts in the minds of the cynics. Big wide side air intakes finish the job of giving this manic Audi the face to instil some fear in the eyes of the man looking at the RVMs ahead.
A chrome lined greenhouse, a mildly dropping roofline and uniquely styled 5-spoke 20 inch wheels define the profile of the RS5. Two tone ORVMs, painted in silver and black, a mild character line running across the length of the car and strong haunches are a few other details. Not much, those elements, when you look at them in isolation, but all of it comes together beautifully to make the RS5 one transcendent design exuding aggression without even trying. Look closely and you may also notice the spoiler that’s flush with the boot deck, and comes out as the 120km/h limit is breached.
The taillights and the rear bumper have also been redesigned. The big twin-exhausts, flanking the satin lined diffuser resonate the controlled belligerence witnessed in abundance up front.
What wonders do you get to witness inside?
Let’s start with the changes over the previous version. The leather wrapped, dimpled, multi-function steering wheel is new. The controls including the ignition key, the knob of the gear selector lever, steering column stalks, buttons for Audi drive select and the optional MMI navigation plus have been redesigned. And did we mention, we absolutely love the globular drive selector lever which looks sporty and is equally fantastic to hold.
The interior, as a whole is a study in black. It’s a sporty car and doesn’t want to make any family oriented pretensions. High-quality black leather covers the seats and most other places. The heavily bolstered front seats get integrated headrests and have RS5 badging embossed at neck-level. Under-thigh support for the front seats can be electrically extended.
Pedals are finished in shiny steel with rubber grips. RS5 badging can be found in more than a couple of places inside the cabin. Sound output is via Bang & Olufsen and as always is the case with the brand, immaculate. As driver and co-passengers, you’d be surrounded by features. The central dashboard is familiar Audi, though the buttons and controls on the door panels are slightly different.
And the back-seats? Are they comfortable?
Much as we love the all black, sportiness-exuding cabin of the RS5, we cannot say many good things about the space in the back. For a fully grown adult, those seats can be used as a torture chamber. So invite the guy who took away your girl in college for a ride. You would be fully avenged. Getting in and out is as uncomfortable, if not more, than sitting in those cramped seats. There is hardly any head-room or legroom and only kids would likely fit in there. Or cats. Or whoever you hate in general.
How does it feel from behind the steering wheel?
To start with, the steering feels slightly heavier than you get to experience in most Audi cars. Still, it somehow manages to lack any feedback. It doesn’t inspire confidence initially as you start pushing the car hard around some challenging bends – it feels a somewhat unnatural, and needs some time getting used. The feeling doesn’t last for long, though. You see, the RS5 comes equipped with the Quattro permanent all wheel drive system, in an advanced evolutionary stage with the self-locking crown gear centre differential and torque vectoring. The RS5 is also offered with the optional sport differential, which actively distributes the power between the rear wheels.
What all that jargon means, is that you get loads of grip, more than you would ever have likely experienced, and it eventually ends up escalating your confidence in attacking corners at a rate that rises exponentially.
Apart from the test run we did for this car on our way to, and around the gorgeous Amby valley twisties, I also had the pleasure of being driven in the RS5 around the Coimbatore track by Audi’s official trainer-driver Prithveen Rajan. Now, fast as we may want to drive on public roads, we hardly ever take them to their limit for obvious reasons. A racetrack is a different playground, though, with no inhibitions about the drunken motorist hurtling at you while trying to overtake that rickety bus on a blind corner, or the innocent mongoose who doesn’t realize that he’s sprinting straight into fatality’s cruel jaws while crossing the road. I clearly remember the RS5 darting around clinically around the Coimbatore circuit at mind-numbing speeds, subjecting us to some fanatical G figures in the process. There absolutely wasn’t any drama, any wailing from the tyres or perturbing body roll. It’s a point and shoot affair. The RS5 is clinically precise in what it does.
And that’s exactly what we experienced while piloting this blue coloured beauty while assaulting a variety of bends. It just goes around them without the slightest of theatre. You won’t likely get as thrilled in the RS5 as you would in a wiggle-happy machine with a steering wheel that chatters like a teenage schoolgirl, but you would definitely be doing much, much faster speeds.
How does it sound?
It’s a quintessential sportscar in the way it sounds. Being powered by a normally aspirated motor helps. The engine is revvy, so you are incited by the sound to rev harder as the soundtrack keeps getting sweeter and sweeter as you approach the redline. It’s not a loud, thundering kind of an engine sound, but an ever so mildly restricted burble that gratifies your senses without overwhelming them. It’s the kind of sportscar sound that you are used to hearing while playing those racing arcade games. It’s a thoroughly delectable piece of audio, good enough to grab attention too, but doesn’t have the roaring, booming sound some more muscular cars boast of.
How about the suspension? Is it comfortable?
To put it mildly, no. Although you have the Comfort mode to choose from, from the Audi drive select, you should be putting your money elsewhere if some solace for your behind and back is what you are looking for. While Comfort mode does loosen up the springs mildly, the RS5 remains a stiffly sprung car. Most, nay, all the furrows, crinkles, folds and undulations on the road manage to filter inside the cabin. The ride is harsh, and while driving on the ripply concrete surfaces, the sensation gets even more pronounced. Turn the Dynamic mode on, and the ride gets bone-jarringly, rattlingly stiff. The RS5 is built essentially for ultra smooth surfaces, and driving it on our roads isn’t a very comforting experience. Surprisingly, though, the ground clearance is pretty good and the RS5 managed to tip toe over some big speed breakers in Mumbai. We even managed to take it off the road for a photo-op. This one wouldn’t scrape its belly, even if it rocks you inside its rather small cabin.
Can you share some more details?
Sure, go through these images with captions to understand the car in finer detail
The boot deck mounted spoiler remains flush with the surface. It pops out once the car hits 120 km/h. There’s also a manual override to deploy or deactivate it
20 inch wheels with a unique 5 spoke pattern look smashing, and add enormously to the car’s appearance. Check out the wave pattern perforated discs peeping through the wheel, and the RS badging. The low profile Pirelli P Zero rubber offers leech like grip.
Rear view camera is one of the many features
Sure as hell, you can shift using those pedals
There may not be enough space at the back, but the RS5 comes with an A/C vent to cool-off tempers at the rear bench
Frameless windows make the RS5 look even more exotic when the doors are swung open
Electrical aid to move the front seats from behind
Spare is a deflated space saver which requires some guidance before being put to use
Door sills get RS5 badging
Two tone ORVMs painted in black and silver break the monotony in color and provide some interesting contrast
4,2 liter TFSI petrol unit is a sensation!
Back seat is meant only for kids or midgets
Sporty steel pedals with rubber grips. Sorry for the mucky image, though.
Band & Olufsen speaker system offers terrific sound, as always.
Should I buy one?
Why not? If you have crores of rupees lying spare in your bank, you should sure go ahead and bring home this incredible exponent of German precision. It’s got the goodies to go around the bends faster than a maglev. It’s sharp, incredibly focused and titillatingly fast. With its coupe shape, sublime design and ferocious power, it can very well be the car of choice for those who already have a bunch of exotics parked in the garage. It, however, cannot be the first sportscar you buy. It’s too focused, too clinical and too track oriented to be that.
Price: Rs 1.1 crore
Engine 4163 cc Naturally Aspirated V8 petrol
Max Power 444 bhp @ 8250 RPM
Max Torque 430 Nm @ 4000 RPM
Mileage (ARAI) 6.7 kmpl
Transmission 7 speed S-Tronic Auto
Audi RS7 Image Gallery