2018 Audi RS 5 Review

RS 5

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2018 Audi RS 5 Overview

An all-new Audi A5 and S5 hit the market during 2017, as 2018 models. Midway into the 2018 model year, Audi is introducing the top-dog version of the series, the RS 5, and it’s as fierce as ever.

It starts with the exterior design, which makes the A5/S5 coupe’s athletic body even more muscular. The front fascia is dominated by three gaping grilles that function to cool the engine and giant 14.8-inch brakes. There’s a front spoiler there, too, to reduce air traveling beneath the car and to create positive downforce on the front end. The box flares at all four corners support the RS5’s wider track and lend the shape some extra definition. An aggressive diffuser and large egg-shaped exhaust tips complete the outside package. Buyers can spec a Black optic package, which comes with larger wheels and replaces the exterior brightwork, aside from the wheels, with either gloss-black or body-colored trim. Inside, the RS 5 comes with embossed sport seats, branded door sills, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a unique gear selector, and stainless-steel foot pedals.

For motivation, the RS 5 uses an all-new twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter 6-cylinder engine, which generates 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, the latter available between 1,900 and 5,000 rpm. The RS 5 can hit 60 miles per hour in just 3.7 seconds and run to a top speed of 155 miles per hour while delivering 18 mpg city, 26 highway, and 21 combined. All of those numbers match or exceed those of the old RS 5. The sole transmission is an 8-speed automatic unit with paddle-shifters and a self-locking center differential. Like every great Audi, it sends power to all four wheels with a default 40/60 front/rear torque split. Up to 85 percent of power can be sent to the front axle, and up to 70 percent can be sent to the rear. As far as suspension, the RS 5 sits about a quarter of an inch lower than the S5 coupe and can be optioned with a dynamic feature that adjusts automatically during spirited driving for maximum control. On top of this, Audi offers a Dynamic plus package with carbon ceramic brakes, a carbon-fiber engine cover, additional condition readouts, and a top speed of 174 mph.

As the flagship of the line, the RS 5 comes well equipped with 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, 12-way powered, heated, and massaging front seats, leather and Alcantara upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, and color 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Options include a 12.3-inch full LCD instrument cluster, an 8.3-inch infotainment system with navigation, Nappa leather upholstery, and a 19-speaker, 755-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Safety-wise, every RS 5 gets a reversing camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Several advanced driving aids are available as well, including a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control with a traffic-crawl function, traffic sign recognition, lane change assist, and automatic high-beams. The latest RS 5 has not been crash tested, but the A5, which uses the same basic bodyshell, achieved excellent scores in all categories of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) test and was a Top Safety Pick for 2017.

The latest RS 5 is measurably improved over its predecessor, both on the track and on the road, and it holds its own against competitors. There’s no official word on an RS 5 “Sportback”, which would use the four-door-coupe body of the A5/S5 Sportback, but it may show up later. Look for the RS 5 coupe to arrive at dealerships later this year.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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