Super fast and effortless – that’s the best way to sum up the brand new Audi RS5.
We’re at an altitude of about 2,000 metres. The curves are sharp, and the weather isn’t particularly pleasing. Frankly, we weren’t quite sure why we were in Andorra. But it quickly struck us why Audi wanted us in the middle of the Pyrenees mountains. You see, everything around here is virtually purpose built to exploit Audi’s most famous trait – Quattro!
The integral all-wheel traction makes the new RS5, which is built on the second-generation MLB platform, very competent indeed. It also looks pretty good too. I mean just look at that taut bodywork, which strikes the perfect balance between in-your-face and discreet. Then there are the bits that make it sporty from behind the wheel. Let’s start with the sport differential. In Audi-speak, it’s called torque vectoring – a witchcraft of sorts that can make the power from the engine dance between each of the axles so that you can maximise your time behind the wheel. Next up is the steering itself, which – if we’re honest – lacks feel, but remains as precise as ever. It’s well balanced, and doesn’t lose sight of its sportiness, which is the main purpose of this fast RS coupe.
And what about the engine? Yes, it’s a downsized V6 unit, but the sound of the engine is imperious, profound even, and it leaves you in no doubt of its intentions. As soon as the accelerator is touched, torque comes gushing in – which, of course, feels great. There’s absolutely no turbo lag whatsoever. The revs climb so fast and the thrust builds so furiously that it beggars belief. Sure, the old V8 had more charisma, but even then this V6 takes the game forward in terms of performance. And the V6 plays very well with the super-smooth ZF eight-speed torque converter transmission. In the S5, it sort of struggles when you ask it to upshift quickly, but here the Audi engineers have tweaked it to match the insanity of this hot new RS5. The gears, then, always come at the right time.
The new A5 will be launched in India this October, and the new RS5 is sure to follow sometime in early 2018.
The cabin is sporty of course, but not at the expense of Audi’s inherent subtlety when it comes to automotive interiors. The ergonomics are excellent and the integration of the multimedia systems is remarkable.
Six cylinders and twin-turbos
The Audi RS5 has a 2.9-litre V6 with two turbochargers, which is the same unit that does duty in the new Porsche Panamera. This engine sounds very similar to the one found in the less extreme S5, but there’s a difference (the stroke goes from 86mm to 83mm). Then there’s the torque. The large amount of twisting force produced by the 2.9-litre unit meant that the dual clutch of the A5 was not up to the task. Therefore, the RS5 uses the ZF eight-speed torque converter instead. Of course, the Porsche has an eight-speed PDK (dual-clutch) – but it’s not possible to mount that on the RS5 owing to space constraints.
Under normal conditions, the RS5 sends as much as 60% of its power to the rear axle.
- Audi RS5 Coupe
Engine: 2,894cc / V6 / 24 Valves / Twin-Turbo
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic / All-Wheel Drive
Power: 444bhp @ 5,700rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 1,900 – 5,000rpm
Acceleration: 0-100km/h – 3.9s
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