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Car review: Audi RS5

Thursday, 13 February 2014 - 8:21pm IST | Agency: Zeegnition

Fast Facts

  • Engine
  • Cylinders : V8
  • Displacement (cc) : 4163
  • Engine : 4.5 FSI
  • Power : 450PS @ 8250rpm
  • Torque : 430Nm @ 4000-6000rpm
  • Transmission
  • Drive Type : AWD
  • Gearbox : 7-speed
  • Transmission : Automatic
  • Acceleration
  • 0-100 km/h : 4.5
  • 0-60km/h : NA
  • Top Speed : 250

The Audi RS5 comes across as a vehicle with all the right traits of a sports car combined with the practicality of a machine that can be used on a daily basis. The collective characteristics work their magic to offer an exhilarating drive experience.

On paper it is easy to doubt the intentions of the all new Audi RS5; even more so in a market like India where the practicality of such a vehicle doesn’t immediately come across. We still don’t have the roads or the right kind of drivers to handle a brute vehicle such as this, however it is these preconceived notions that proved to be my biggest folly when it came to judging the RS5. It is still a brute, but it has the right pedigree and that goes a long way in making the car suitable for two entirely different driving scenarios.

As for the looks department, the RS5 doesn’t have much to boast about over its predecessor and it retains that subtle aggression combined with the regular Audi family look. Don’t misinterpret that to mean anything else, for the car is a head turner for sure and we got a taste of that while trying to do the shoot on a busy road where just about everyone stopped to pull out their camera and take a click as well! After all, those taunt lines in the sheet metal, squinted headlights fitted with awesome looking LEDs, large air intakes, low front bumper, dual exhaust pipes and the rear diffuser are not to be missed. Bringing the entire package together are the large 19 inch smoked grey alloys shod with a sliver of 265/35 R19 rubber. The exquisite paint job in electric blue added to the visual treat and it is worthy to note that the new RS5’s body is 20mm lower than its predecessor which adds to its squat wide stance and has a significant impact on the aggressive profile that the car boasts of.

Having said that, all is forgotten once you hear the engine roar to life and you can’t help but smile while quickly checking yourself out in the rear view mirror in a bid to truly confirm that you are in fact in the driver’s seat of this tuxedo clad brute. It is about this time that your mind’s eye gets filled with visions of a long winding road, blurry landscape and the solid growl of the engine as the only soundtrack to this moment. Just knowing what exists under the hood is enough to get you daydreaming as such but the real treat obviously lies in actually unleashing the full potential of the engine.Opening the frameless door and sliding into the driver’s seat, you just can’t help feeling a little wicked. 

Yes, there is a monstrous engine under the long hood, but before you get to firing it up, it is highly recommended that to take a minute to soak in the aesthetics of the interiors. From the leather wrapped steering wheel to the brushed aluminum ‘quattro’ on the dash, everything boasts of fine quality. Add to that a host of gizmos and gadgetry such as the now standard Audi MMI system, large screen display and numerous buttons to control a host of features. What is genuinely missing however is a large red START/STOP button, which would have worked well with a car such as this, while instead you have to just press the key fob in its slot to get the engine to roar to life. A bit of a letdown, but hopefully Audi will grant my wish in the next model upgrade. On the space front, the RS5 offers generous electronically adjustable front seats, however the rear seats are a squeeze and best left for little kids. One can’t really complain about the fact considering the RS5 is essentially a sports coupe destined for two passengers and some luggage at best.

What you essentially get is a 4163cc V8 FSI petrol engine that is capable of churning out 450 hp @ 8250 rpm and a solid torque of 430Nm between 4000-6000 rpm. Mated to a 7-speed S tronic gearbox that offers gear change times of just a few hundredths of a second, the RS5 is capable of going from 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds and is regulated to touch 250km/h. I am sure that an ungoverned version is capable of going much faster, but that shall remain a thought to fuel my dreams. The sheer brilliance however lies in the manner in which you can tap into all that power. If you so choose to, the RS5 will putter along at low two digit speeds with ease, making it very easy to drive in traffic and when the open road beckons, all you have to do is prod the gas a bit and she just surges forward like a jet powering up for takeoff. What’s more? Well, the driving is further influenced by the paddle shifters on the steering wheel which not only allow you to control the shifts but also adds its two bits to the overall drive experience that the RS5 offers, and did I mention the term ‘launch control’? That’s right, in order to limit tyre slip and offer the best possible traction while accelerating from standstill the RS5 comes fitted with the launch control program which is a delight to employ, however it is important to note that this isn’t a feature for daily driving.

Now all that power would be useless without the right equipment to support it. In doing so, Audi has ensured that the RS5 comes packed to the hilt on that front as well. Starting with the quattro all-wheel-drive, you also get a self-locking crown gear center differential, torque vectoring and the standard ABS, ESP and EBD. All these systems ensure that you stay planted on the road and have maximum control at all times while enjoying the sheer drive dynamics that this coupe offers. In fact the crown gear center differential is capable of varying the torque between the front and rear axles with up to 75 per cent flowing to the front or up to 85 per cent to the rear if necessary. Under normal driving circumstances, it maintains a 40:60 ratio in order to offer a rear-biased configuration to add to the sporty handling. Audi has given the car the works in making sure that it comes to stop in minimal time as well. Utilizing large ventilated petal disc brakes on all four wheels, each unit employs steel friction rings which are perforated and connected to the aluminum brake caps via pins. The front calipers have eight pistons each and in layman terms all this translates to the fact that the RS5 can stop on a dime.

Further to this, The RS5 comes standard with the driver select driving dynamics system which allows you to choose between comfort, auto and dynamic modes which immediately impact the characteristics of the steering, gearbox, accelerator and exhaust system. Further to this, Audi offers a sport differential and dynamic steering as optional extras if the customer wishes to opt for them. Regardless, the driver select dynamics system changes this car around from a laid back coupe offering a rather comfortable ride in the city to a scorcher with precision inputs on the highway. What really proved to be a revelation was a stint in Mumbai traffic where the comfort mode made a lot of sense and I was amazed at the ride quality, despite the ultra-low profile tyres. Once back on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, it was back to dynamic mode and unleashing those horses under the hood! Cross 120 km/h and the rear spoiler automatically pops up to do its business and contribute to the overall drive dynamics of the car.

Overall, the RS5 is an absolute delight to drive and you really can’t get enough of unleashing all that power whenever the chance presents itself. It also has a practical twist to its otherwise sports oriented package and this according to me is the RS5’s winning attribute for it caters to more than just one need.  Simply put, this car brings the joys of motoring to the fore.


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