What's New for 2013
The 2013 Audi RS 5 is a high-performance version of the already impressive A5 and S5 coupes. It's been sold overseas for a few years but is new to the United States. An RS 5 convertible is expected to debut later on.
There's no doubt that it's pretty great living in the ol' U.S. of A. But every now and then, we get snubbed by overseas manufacturers that, for whatever reason, don't import certain lustworthy vehicles stateside.
For two years, car enthusiasts have had to look longingly toward Europe for the Audi RS 5, the sharpest interpretation of an already admirable luxury sport coupe. We've been fans of the Audi A5 for quite some time, and even more enthusiastic about the sportier S5 variant. Finally, with the 2013 Audi RS 5, we can say we're positively thrilled.
And you'll be thrilled, too, when you get a chance to pilot the performance-focused RS 5. With a 4.2-liter V8 producing a 450-horsepower wallop, the thrills are all but guaranteed. Furthermore, all of that power is put to good use in a well-balanced chassis as well as the efficiency and confidence of all-wheel-drive. All of this allows the RS 5 to sprint to 60 mph in a scant 4.3 seconds and corner like a true sports car, putting it on par with some heady competitors.
As an added bonus, this performance is paired with all the benefits of the supporting Audi models. From the outside, the RS 5 keeps the A5 and S5's sleek shape, with some aggressive accents to denote its potential for speed, while the cabin maintains the brand's tastefully understated interior design. To top it all off, there are plenty of cutting-edge features that are sure to please any technophile.
With all this in mind, it's easy to see why we're so enamored with the RS 5. That said, there are some pretty amazing sports cars available this year. The 2013 Nissan GT-R outperforms the RS 5, though it comes at the expense of refinement. For a comparable blend of polish and performance, there are the 2013 BMW M6, Jaguar XK-R and the stalwart Porsche 911. Knowing that the 2013 Audi RS 5 will cost quite a bit less than these imposing competitors should further sweeten the deal. The wait is over, and it was worth it.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Audi RS 5 is a high-performance coupe that 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, tri-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.
Adding the optional MMI Navigation package gets you a navigation system 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 can be added, which includes adaptive cruise control, a blind spot monitoring system and adaptive steering. The Titanium package adds 20-inch wheels, dark exterior trim and body-colored mirrors.
Stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, ceramic front brakes, leather/faux suede front seats, sport exhaust, a power rear sunshade and aluminum interior trim.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2013 Audi RS 5 is a 4.2-liter V8 engine that produces 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed to all four wheels through a seven-speed automated dual-clutch manual transmission with shift paddles. The RS 5's EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 18 mpg in combined driving.
In Edmunds performance testing, the Audi RS 5 made the sprint from zero to 60 mph in a quick 4.3 seconds, which is on equal footing with other cars in this class.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Audi RS 5 include antilock 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 rearview camera, a blind-spot monitoring system and an automatic emergency braking system that is paired with the adaptive cruise control.
In Edmunds brake testing, the RS 5 came to a stop from 60 mph in 105 feet, an average distance for high-performance coupes such as this.
Interior Design and Special Features
In typical Audi fashion, the RS 5's interior receives high marks for its understated design and use of top-notch materials. In terms of functionality, however, some elements can be hit-and-miss. The standard dash-mounted MMI controller isn't nearly as easy to operate as the interface that comes with the optional navigation system. The standard MMI requires a few extra steps compared to the optional MMI, which benefits from simplified menus and a more favorable console-mounted controller.
Front seats provide ample support to hold the driver and passenger firmly in place while cornering, yet are comfortable enough for all-day touring. For the rare racer who requires even more lateral support, the optional sport seats should satisfy. Unfortunately, there's no fix for the rear seats, as the lack of head- and legroom makes them suitable for smaller passengers only. But at least those seats can fold flat to handle overflow from the decently sized 12.2-cubic-foot trunk.
Getting the most out of the 2013 Audi RS-5's high-revving V8 is dead simple thanks to the launch control system, automated manual transmission and standard all-wheel drive. That tenacious traction helps the RS 5 achieve truly impressive 0-60 times, though the car does end up trailing most competitors a bit as speeds build due to a slightly heavier-than-average curb weight.
The RS 5's turn-in is pretty astonishing, as the front end just hangs on, seemingly unwilling to relinquish its grip on the road. Credit the RS 5's standard sport rear differential, which overdrives the outside rear tire while the inside front wheel is braked in order to pivot the car with unexpected agility.
In normal use, the RS 5 strikes a livable balance between speed and civility. Unfortunately, the RS 5's suspension uses conventional dampers and springs and thus has one mode only -- firm. The ride is not as brutal as the GT-R's but definitely reminds you that you're not piloting a plain Jane S5. Opting for the 20-inch wheels can further make the RS 5's ride fidgety on broken pavement.