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2014 Audi RS 5 Cabriolet steps up performance

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2014 Audi RS 5 Cabriolet

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You’ve probably never heard anyone say that the trouble with Audi’s A5 and S5 convertibles is that they don’t have enough power.

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That’s because even the relatively mild-manner, 2.-liter turbocharged engine in the A5 sends out 220 horsepower, and the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in the S5 pumps that up to 333 hp.

Who could ask for anything more, right?

Well, apparently some people do.

Thus Audi has brought the RS 5 Cabriolet (it’s also available in coupe form, but we’re talking about the droptop here) to the U.S. after a brief stint in Europe.

The RS designation is to Audi what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz and the M Series to BMW. In other words, stepped-up performance and a sportier appearance.

The 4.2-liter, V8 engine in the RS 5 sends a whopping 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels in Audi’s quattro all-wheel-system (standard), propelling it from zero-to-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, according to the company.

It’s mated to a seven-speed automated dual-clutch transmission that operates either as an automatic or a manual with gear selection accomplished through steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Usually, using paddle shifters can grow wearisome when traveling on city streets, but the response you get when going through the RS 5’s gears manually makes it all worthwhile. If you’re going to put down the $78,795 the RS 5 is going to set you back before any of the option packages are added on, you might as well enjoy all it offers.

By the way, the base MSRP for the RS 5 is $17,500 more than that for the more-than-capable S5. That difference is not a little thing unless you’re holding a winning Powerball ticket. Of course, then you may be looking at the six-figure R8 Convertible.

With the RS 5, you get all the niceties that Audi is known for in one trim level. Among standard features are 19-inch wheels, xenon-plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED taillamps, keyless entry, three-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power adjustable front seats with four-way power-adjustable lumbar support, Bluetooth hand-free phone system, and more arranged about a cabin featuring lots of high-quality leather surfaces.

The Cabriolet’s soft folding roof can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph, and when closed, the acoustic lining provides for a very quiet ride.

There is a standard MMI (Multi-Media Interface) system to operate audio and car settings, but the optional MMI Navigation Plus Package gives you more simplified menus to work with as well as a voice-activated navigation system and is worth the extra $4,000. With it, you can even program such tasks as tuning the exhaust to a more sporty, throaty sound by use of “dynamic” settings.

In addition to straight-line power, the RS 5’s sport-tuned suspension offers a stable ride that takes corners at speed with a firm grip on the road. As a day on the Homestead-Miami Speedway’s road course confirmed, you can drive it with confidence through the tightest of turns with no stomac-churning sway.

The 2014 Audi RS 5 is largely unchanged from the 2013 model that debuted here after spending a couple of years overseas.

For a closer look and more details, check out the accompanying slide show.

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