Audi's RS5 is the ultimate performance version of the A5 coupe. New to the U.S. in 2013, the RS5 has been available in Europe for two years now, and is an upgrade from the S5. Its power comes from Audi's 4.2 liter V8 and is rated at 450hp with 317lb-ft torque. A well-balanced chassis and Audi's signature quattro all wheel drive system puts all that power to good use. The combination of this engine with its 7-speed automated dual-clutch transmission motivates the 4,000lb car from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds (Edmunds data), which is competitive with other cars in its class. Brake testing was average for the class, with 105 feet required to stop the car from 60mph. The EPA ratings for the car are 16mpg city, 23 highway with 18mpg combined.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Audi RS 5 include anti-lock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags, front knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front and rear parking sensors. Optional items include a rear view camera, a blind-spot monitoring system and an automatic emergency braking system that is paired with the adaptive cruise control.
With its base price of $68,900 the RS 5 is offered in one well-appointed trim level. Standard features include 19-inch wheels with summer tires, adaptive xenon headlights, LED running lights, a speed-activated rear spoiler, a panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming and heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, 3-zone automatic climate control, 12-way power front sport seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), driver memory functions, heated front seats, leather upholstery, carbon-fiber interior trim, split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and iPod integration.
The test car had the optional MMI Navigation package ($3,550) with voice activation, Audi's MMI infotainment interface mounted on the console, a rearview camera, Bluetooth streaming audio, Audi Connect (enhanced Web-based navigation, information and WiFi access) and a premium 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system with HD radio. To that, the Driver Assist package (not included) adds adaptive cruise control, a blind spot monitoring system and adaptive steering. The Titanium package ($2,500) added 20-inch wheels, dark exterior trim and body-colored mirrors. The final option on the test car was the sports exhaust system ($1,000). Total MSRP for the test car was $77,320.
The RS5's interior is understated; typical of any Audi, and with high-quality materials and finish. The MMI system does take a little getting used to, but once acclimated to its functioning is fairly intuitive. The controller is mounted on the console, and falls under the driver's hand easily. The driver's seating is comfortable for all-day touring, and supportive for spirited driving. Rear seat passenger room is limited, typical of most coupes, and is more suitable for smaller passengers. The rear seat fold down flat to expand the trunk's 12.2 cubic feet.
On the road, the RS5 suffered a little from higher than average road noise. This is attributable to the car's optional 20" wheels, which transmit imperfections in the pavement readily. The standard 19" wheels may be a bit more forgiving. The power comes on a bit higher in the power range, but by 5,000rpm the engine is just starting to pull hard. Full-throttle acceleration results in shifts right at the engine's 8,200rpm redline, and the sound from under the hood is nothing short of symphonic. At a more relaxed pace the RS5 is an exceptional touring car, but its incredible power is always just a stab of the right foot away. The RS5 does not have adjustable suspension, and the ride is firm - not jarring, but there will be no doubt as to its sporting intentions.
The RS5 is a big step up power-wise from its S5 sibling, with a big boost over the S5's 333hp supercharged V6. A major difference is the S5's availability of a manual transmission; a bit of an oddity in today's midsize luxury segment. It's base price is $10,000 less than the RS5. The level of electronic nannies in the RS5 allows one to explore the upper reaches of the car's performance with a reasonable amount of safety. For those who won't miss two extra doors, and desire a comfortable high-performance car with monstrous power and all wheel drive, Audi has what you're looking for.
For more detailed model information, visit http://progress.audiusa.com/
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