2013 Audi RS5 quattro Convertible (4.2L V8 AWD 7-speed Automated Manual)
The Audi RS5 and its 450-hp V8 has the potential to be a performance beast. Instead, it's a refined convertible with entertaining dynamics that requires very few sacrifices in terms of convenience and comfort. Equally gifted as a weekend fun-mobile and a weekday commuter, though it leans more toward the comfort side.
PerformanceThe RS5 is capable and fast, but doesn't feel like it distinguishes itself enough from the lower-priced S5. The exhaust in Dynamic mode sounds great, but its low growl may seem disingenous, since there's no huge flood of torque.
The 4.2-liter V8 gets the RS5 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, quicker than the BMW M3 DCT's 4.8 seconds. Power delivery is remarkably smooth and almost electrically linear up to redline.
The pedal stays pleasantly firm and linear under hard and repeated use. It only took 106 feet to stop from 60 mph and did so with little nosedive.
Steering effort varies from feather-light to needlessly heavy, depending on speed and driver-selectable settings. Front-tire feedback is there, but it feels a bit synthetic.
Lots of body roll and chassis flex, but not unsettling as it tracks fast and confidently through sharp turns. Unfazed by midcorner bumps.
Power transfer to all wheels is subtle and well tuned. We noticed an occasional first gear lurch at low speeds, especially when decelerating. Light steering and good visibility make for easy parking.
ComfortThe RS5 suspension tuning is biased toward comfort and refinement rather than performance. It's still rewarding to drive hard without being a handful. That means you can have a lot of fun and road-trip without feeling any worse for wear.
Firm and flat cushioning, but not fatiguing after a few hours. Lateral support is appropriate and thigh extender helps for taller folk. Rear seats are OK for shorter passengers.
Suspension is firm, yet not harsh. Moderate bumps cause some jostling, but the car remains well planted and instills confidence. A sport/comfort setting might be a good thing. null
At highway speeds, wind noise causes a slight white noise effect. Road noise is very quiet on most surfaces. Engine and exhaust is pleasantly muffled until you select Dynamic mode.
InteriorThe RS5 is built solid and feels refined. The convertible delivers a surprising amount of everyday convenience. Compared to the coupe, the trunk loses only 2 cu-ft. Top up or down, it remains civilized and makes you feel just a little special.
MMI is clear but some menus can be maddening. Select redundant physical buttons are a good alternative. Cupholder can block MMI dial, though. Other controls are well placed.
Front-seat access requires a slight duck. Seatbelt presenter eliminates an awkward reach back. Rear-seat exits are somewhat easy thanks to redundant front-seat controls.
Wraparound cockpit cuts down on some front-seat thigh/torso space, but is still acceptable for wider drivers. Rear seats are also a bit narrow and lack headroom with the top up.
Thin A-pillars allow a good forward view. Small rear window reduces view but optional sensors and camera take out guesswork. Silver trim on gauges and windshield can cause glare.
Center bin is shallow, but door pockets are generous. Folding rear seats in a convertible are unique. Top stows in a trunk shelf that can be folded for 10.4 cu-ft of cargo space.
16 sec to lower, 18 sec to raise feels quicker than it is. Very little top-down buffetting and wind blocker reduces it further. 1-touch button for all windows is a nice detail.
ValueThe Audi RS5 Cabriolet delivers high levels of performance and luxury, and will satisfy most drivers. There are more sport-focused convertibles and roadsters that will outperform it for the money, though.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The RS5 maintains Audi's reputation for excellent interior materials and build quality. The only disappointment we found were some inconsistencies in the paint quality.
At $77,900, the base RS5 costs more than comparable convertibles. You get more cargo space, better fuel economy and a few added features, but it's hard to justify that premium.
With the Navigation and Driver Assist packages, sport exhaust and 20-inch wheels, our RS5 test car costs $88,720. Rivals undercut it by a considerable margin.
The EPA estimates of 16 city/22 highway and 18 mpg in combined driving. We averaged 20.5 mpg on our 166-mile Edmunds test loop. Economical, it's not.
The RS5 Cabriolet has a 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a 4-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty, which is what you'd expect in this segment.
First scheduled maintenance is free within the first year or 5,000 miles. Emergency roadside assistance is available for four years. BMW beats it with 4 years of free maintenance.
Fun To DriveThe RS5 delivers lots of driving fun along with surprising amounts of refinement. It's not a raucous beast, instead, it's very measured and precise. It's capable of very high levels of performance without feeling like you're tempting fate.
The RS5 has a subtle aggression that lurks just under the surface. Getting there is easy as switching to Dynamic mode and flooring it. It'll make you smile without scaring you.
The RS5 isn't an all-out sports car, but rather a strong and comfortable touring convertible. There's plenty of performance for most drivers, yet easy to live with every day.
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator
The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Audi RS 5 Convertible in VA is:
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