Fast and kinda furious, the face-lifted RS5 is still quick and sensible. But are fast Audis getting too efficient for their own good?
Photos Joel Tam
Audis have been known to be great all-rounder cars. One of the few brands that still actively offers station wagons in their line-up here in Singapore, the Audi marque is synonymous with fast, efficient and practical models (think Avant, Sportback and Q models). The new Audi RS5 Sportback is no exception. A super-quick fastback-bodied car that oozes desirability, especially with that coveted ‘RS’ badge.
The car we’re testing here is a face-lifted RS5. Mostly the same as the outgoing model, the front of the car sports the most distinctive tweaks. To give the updated car a fresher face, Audi has opted for perpendicular diamond-shaped black side grilles that house the fog lamps. Along with a minor redesign on the headlamp LEDs, these side intakes make the face a bit more aggressive.
At the rear, the subtle changes include gloss black tailpipes, a re-designed LED tail lamps and the black honeycomb mesh found upfront is also featured at the bottom of the bumper.
Finished in Nardo Grey, our test car also had the optional matte bronze 20-inch wheels.
As expected, the car is as fast as it looks. Packing 444 bhp, the 2.9-litre V6 engine is the same unit as the previous car and pumps a phenomenal 600Nm of torque. RS models must scare you when you pedal-to-the-metal, and this is RS5 definitely does. You will no sooner run out of space (and guts) before you can fully exploit what this car can do.
0-100 km/h timings seem to be irrelevant to me these days, but for the record, this car does it in 3.9 seconds. Use the new, fully aluminium paddle-shifters to swap through the Tiptronic eight-speed cogs as you pilot the RS5 through your favourite roads, and the combination of grip from the Quattro system, quick-shifting gears and responsive engine make for an exhilarating drive.
Yet the car is comfortable, not jarring or hard to live with. Driving this Sportback and the RS6 Avant back-to-back, I realise that the RS5 is the preferred option IF, you’re not ready to grow up just yet and still want something with a naughty edge. Look out for our RS6 article coming up next, but for now, let’s just say that the RS5 is the more ‘raw’ option of the two.
Speaking of being easy to live with, the interior of any Audi is always an inviting place for me. While I always welcome bright and warm-coloured interiors that make me feel like I’m swathed in luxury, the black and aluminium combination of sporty Audi interior always evokes a sense of purpose and cool.
There’s now a new 10.1-inch infotainment system that’s full touchscreen and features Audi’s latest-generation interface. The centre dial and menu pad are also no longer there, so it’s going to be fingerprints-galore on the new touchscreen console because you’ll be using it, a lot.
A newish Digital Cockpit now comes with an RS display mode with cool fonts and flashier graphics to add to the experience. You can toggle between the features that the car has to offer via the steering wheel.
Here you can also preset your two RS modes, one of which, I recommend should be the angriest setting with sports exhaust active and engine in full dynamic mode. Because even in this ‘hardcore’ setting, the RS5 still feels a bit tame. I’m sure there will be buyers out there who will pre-order a set of Akras while they wait for the delivery of their new RS5.
So yes, the new RS5 is quick (of course), handsome to look at and easy to live with day-to-day. It’s not the most exciting and emotional sports car money can buy, at a tad bit over SGD 400k, we can’t exactly call it a bargain either.
But for many of us who use our (sports)cars daily, I’d like to admit that there is value in paying for something that is also safe, practical and efficient, and the Audi RS5 Sportback is exactly just that.