If it were possible to sum up the Audi RS 5 coupe or convertible in five words, they'd have to be "more of a good thing." That's because this ultra-high-performance variant of the German automaker's appealing A5 (and its sportier S5 sibling) takes everything that's good about those models and adds more aggressive styling and significant hardware upgrades to make the RS 5 the best of the bunch.
While hard-core enthusiasts are likely to engage in endless debates over which of the entries in this über-performance sport coupe/convertible class is the most desirable, there's no arguing the RS 5 earns a place in that group by virtue of its 450-horsepower V8 alone. The Audi is capable on the handling front as well, thanks to its beefed-up suspension, recalibrated steering gear and all-wheel-drive system, which work together to make attacking a winding stretch of road as thoroughly enjoyable as rocketing up your favorite on-ramp. Add in the RS 5's subtly more sinister looks and relatively reasonable sticker price and you have a car that proves more of a good thing can be just enough.
Current Audi RS 5
Under the hood, the Audi RS 5 gets a 4.2-liter V8 that puts out a healthy, if not class-leading, 450 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque. Transferring that power to the ground is a seven-speed automated manual gearbox -- the only transmission offered -- that can be run in fully automatic mode or manually shifted via steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Audi's well-tuned "Quattro" all-wheel-drive system rounds out the important powertrain details. In Edmunds performance testing, the RS 5 coupe sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds ? incredibly quick, but typical for the segment. Fuel economy is decent for a car in this category at 18 mpg combined.
Standard features are generous and include 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, a speed-activated pop-up rear spoiler, a panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated eight-way power sport seats, Bluetooth and a premium sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and iPod integration. Option highlights include 20-inch alloy wheels, carbon-ceramic front disc brakes, a sport exhaust system, leather/faux suede upholstery, a navigation system and a Bang & Olufsen sound system with HD radio. A Driver Assist package includes adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering and blind spot monitoring.
The Audi RS 5 sports an interior that's both business-like and luxurious. As with many of its competitors, the biggest negative is a backseat that's a tight fit for anyone older than the age of 12. Some may also find the optional MMI interface a little awkward at first.
On the road, that potent powertrain works in concert with the all-wheel-drive system and recalibrated suspension and steering systems to give the RS 5 performance that should satisfy all but the most rabid driving enthusiast. Indeed, other than the RS 5's somewhat firm ride quality, which may be too stiff for some, drivers will find very little to complain about with this road burner.