The 2013 Audi RS 5 is a high-performance version of the already impressive A5 and S5 coupe and convertible. It's been sold overseas for a few years but is new to the United States.
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 automakers that, for whatever reason, don't import certain lust-worthy 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.
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 that also boasts the efficiency and confidence of all-wheel drive. All of this allows the RS 5 coupe to sprint to 60 mph in a scant 4.3 seconds (the heavier convertible is a bit slower) 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 emphasize 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 should 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 rivals to consider as well. 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.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Audi RS 5 is the top performance version of the A5 coupe and convertible (Cabriolet). It comes 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 coupe 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 (coupe only) 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 coupe 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 driving enthusiast 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.
Although the Cabriolet has an old-school soft top, its tight-fitting, multilayer construction provides impressive insulation from noise and weather that rivals more complex and trunk-space-robbing retractable hardtops. With the top stowed, the trunk provides 10.2 cubic feet of cargo space -- only 2 cubes less than the coupe. Both body styles feature folding rear seats for more capacity, a rarity among convertibles.
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 around the turn 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 A5. Opting for the 20-inch wheels can further make the RS 5's ride fidgety on broken pavement.
Fun to drive, aggressive looks, great performance, limited production.
by marshallplacid on Feb 15, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Audi RS 5 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 7AM)
Fun to drive, yet with drive select, you can make it as aggressive a ride as you want.
Custom your modes into 16 combinations
Transmission = VERY smooth gear changing.
Exhaust sound = loud downshifts, great sounding upshifts and acceleration sounds.
Exterior design = subjective.
To me, it was aggressive in a very good way.
Uniqueness = only 1,500 to be sold and made for the North American market for 2013 and 2014 (check NA Audi President Scott Keogh's video interview).
Performance = Based on caranddriver's lightning lap times, it beats the M3, M5, M6, and V8 R8 by a slim margin.
Mileage = just enough efficiency to omit the Green tax.
by oberstb on Feb 9, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Audi RS 5 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 7AM)
I replaced my 2010 S5 with a 2013 RS5 in December.
The S5 was great; the RS5 is an order of magnitude beyond that.
It handles beautifully (I never considered raving about steering but the way it steers had to be experienced to be believed: whoever thought turning a corner could be so much fun), the controls are well-placed and intuitive.
The Google GPS is a treat.
Let's face it, no one needs 450 horsepower, but my, my it sure is nice to have it.
Do yourself a favor and spring for the sports exhaust, 'cause if you ever feel depressed all you have to do is sit in your driveway and rev the engine; why take a pill?
If that doesn't work, just get it on the road and shift to sports mode.
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The Edmunds TCO®
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