Gimme a high five | Audi RS5 Sportback

BY Joel Tam

Efficient, quick and usable. The new Audi RS5 is pretty much the dream car of most high-flying executives in Singapore. We just wished it was a tad bit more special.

Launched earlier in a coupé body style, the new RS5 now adds two doors and a liftback, or should I say, Sportback-styled rear boot. This is good for Singapore, where practical needs and a do-everything mentality has crept into car buying habits. Rightfully so too, as cars are so costly here.

Every brand will claim to do everything, but the reality is that each brand has clear USPs - so while Mercedes prioritises comfort and luxury, and BMW focuses on driving dynamics, Audi has often aimed its efforts at being efficient and being technologically advanced. Well, the smooth operating RS5 embodies that ethos perfectly. From it's dashing design to the way it moves - this is a velvety jazz ensemble on wheels.

In terms of looks, while Audi’s other German competitors have gone the way of avant-garde styling and highlighting their brand trademarks in rather (ahem!) huge proportions, Audi has stuck to their sleek and angular design language. But the old chunkier profile (of the coupé) makes way for a lower slung silhouette - it’s a handsome looking car. Like all RS models, the RS5 gets an added aggressive look with large gaping grilles lined with distinctive silver trim and of course, big sexy wheels.

Our Audi RS5 test car had a set of lovely 20-inch alloys wrapped with Hankook Ventus S1 evo² rubber in 275/30ZR20, housing red RS brake callipers - the fitment seemed a little conservative though, we were hoping for a wider offset that would fill the wide body styling a bit more.

It looks fast, and it goes pretty damn quick too. The 444 bhp engine (the previous car made the same power but with a 4.2-litre V8) with 600 Nm of torque is a shared 2.9-litre V6 unit with the Porsche Panamera. But as always, Audi manages to make the power delivery super smooth and instantaneous.

Floor the pedal and the car will launch down any empty road in a flash. 0-100 km/h comes in under 4 seconds and reaching insane speeds is a feat achievable by anyone who can keep a car straight on the road. It’s that easy - and to some extent, dangerous - to drive. But not to worry, the car stops very well and the Quattro 4WD system will keep you safe as long as you don’t do anything dumb.

To get the RS5 really angry, simple put the drive mode in Dynamic and slot the gear shift to “S” mode and you’ll have yourself a loud and growling green monster, ready to do your bidding. You can also choose to swap cogs via paddle shifters that will control the quick eight-speed automatic transmission.

But if you find this mode too much, having it in Comfort and slotting it back to “D” is not too bad as well. The RS5 can be a rather comfortable place to be as you cruise along to go about your daily duties.

While it’s not going to win any awards for its interior styling, the cain of the Audi RS5 remains a nice place to be in. Every bit of the car is an example in automotive clinical precision. Everything has a robust tactile finish to it and the balance between quality and simplistic styling is perfect. After putting in more than 10 Audi car reviews, my verdict is always the same - no one does ‘German’ like Audi.

The interior is filled with leather and Alcantara, with piano black highlights, ambient lighting, a large panoramic glass sunroof and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit infotainment system with RS-specific displays. The centre 8.3-inch screen is not a touchscreen though and needs the rotary dial to make the necessary selections.

So it’s good looking, super quick, practical and really well-built. This makes the RS5 Sportback very close to being that perfect premium all-rounder that every successful executive dreams about. For some, it already is.

But for us at, it’s almost too good. Maybe it needs a quirky seating position, or a weird third exhaust outlet in the middle. I know it sounds silly, but some things in life need to be imperfect, in order to be perfect.