2018 Audi RS 5 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Strong acceleration from turbocharged V6
  • Confident and capable handling
  • Well-finished cabin with excellent infotainment
  • Cabin storage is limited
  • Engine sound is too muted for a performance car
  • No manual transmission is offered
Other years
Audi RS 5 for Sale
List Price Estimate
$43,151 - $49,874

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Which RS 5 does Edmunds recommend?

There's only one trim level, so options are the only thing to decide on. The RS Driver Assistance package has a lot of useful features and is priced reasonably. Get the Dynamic package for the variable dampers, but skip the pricey Dynamic Plus package, of which carbon-ceramic brakes are the headlining item. Also consider the Dynamic Steering, which simply makes the car more enjoyable more of the time.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

There's something intimate about a coupe, even one that's closely related to a sedan. Perhaps that's because a coupe inherently prioritizes the driver and a sole passenger over all else.

When the first-generation RS 5 debuted, it encapsulated that allure quite well. That its non-turbocharged V8 had character and wound up to stratospheric revs only underscored the sense of occasion engendered by a coupe.

The redesigned 2018 Audi RS 5, the second-generation model, trades the fizz and character of the V8 for a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6. This new engine, which can also be found under the hood of the Porsche Panamera 4S, packs a whole lot more punch, particularly down low in the rev range. However, it doesn't rev as high and it sounds much more muted than the V8. This is the quandary of modern performance engines — the demand for more power and lower fuel consumption has resulted in smaller-displacement turbocharged engines that deliver the goods but can't quite match the sparkle of a free-revving V8.

The RS 5's standard all-wheel-drive system transmits all of that power to the ground in a sure-footed way. In the bargain, it may not be quite as playful as its rear-wheel-drive competitors when it comes to spirited or track driving. At least you'll have Audi's terrific cabin environment to luxuriate in, replete with leather, carbon fiber and satin-finish metal accents. Throw in the available 8.3-inch infotainment screen and Virtual Cockpit extended instrument cluster and you've got one heck of a well-rounded, special-feeling coupe after all.

2018 Audi RS 5 models

The 2018 Audi RS 5 comes in only one trim level, but there are a variety of option packages from which to choose. Be aware that a few of these packages have prerequisites; that is, they require you to also opt for other option packages first.

All RS 5s are powered by a turbocharged 2.9-liter (444 horsepower, 443 pound-feet of torque) that drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. The list of standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, full LED headlights, parking sensors, automatic wipers, keyless entry and ignition, a 7-inch infotainment display, a 10-speaker sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three-zone automatic climate control, and a suite of driver assistance systems (forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert and intervention, and blind-spot monitoring).

The Dynamic Plus package is the most expensive, and it provides carbon-ceramic front brakes and adds direct tire pressure measurement. This package's prerequisite happens to be the second most expensive option, the Dynamic package, which includes variable suspension dampers and a sport exhaust. Getting Dynamic Steering, which replaces the standard fixed-ratio steering with a variable ratio system, also requires the Dynamic package.

If you want driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and a lane keeping system, tick the box for the RS Driver Assistance package. However, you'll also need to opt for the Navigation package, which adds an 8.3-inch MMI infotainment screen and Audi's Virtual Cockpit extended instrument cluster.

Premium upholstery is what the Fine Nappa Leather package nets you, which upgrades the leather on the seats, center console and door armrests and adds LED interior lighting. Audiophiles, meanwhile, will gravitate toward the Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Interested in cosmetics? Check out the Black Optic package's 20-inch wheels, gloss black trim and body-color mirrors. Additionally, a different set of forged 20-inch wheels are optional once you've selected the Black Optic package.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our first drive of the Audi RS 5 (turbo 2.9L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Driving

The RS 5 delivers massive acceleration, incredible grip and sharp steering. Thanks to selectable drive modes and an adjustable suspension, it can also be an easygoing everyday car. Unfortunately, even with everything turned up to 11, it lacks some of the excitement we expect from RS cars.

Acceleration

Acceleration is monstrously strong, with Audi stating a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is muted, even with the adaptive exhaust. While it's incredibly fast, it lacks the character we've come to expect from RS engines.

Braking

The massive brakes are strong whether you upgrade to the carbon-ceramics or not. In fact, the upgrade doesn't change braking distance, but it does improve fade under hard use. Get the upgraded brakes if you're planning on a lot of high-performance track day events.

Steering

Dynamic Steering is an excellent option. It locks the steering to a single, quick ratio instead of varying the ratio based on vehicle speed. It provides a much sportier and direct experience, even though it doesn't improve the generally numb feedback.

Handling

The RS 5 has a huge amount of grip. Putting the adjustable suspension in Dynamic mode tames body roll, but it also makes the suspension so stiff that midcorner bumps upset the car's composure.

Drivability

The traditional eight-speed automatic may seem like a downgrade from Audi's dual-clutch automatic, but it executes quick, sharp shifts that feel appropriately aggressive in Sport and smooth in Normal mode.

Comfort

Because of the RS 5's many driver-selectable modes, noise and ride comfort can vary widely. The sport seats aren't too aggressive, and the climate control system works as well as you'd expect from an Audi.

Seat comfort

The sport seats have enough bolstering to help keep you in place, but not so much that they feel tight or restrictive. They're comfortable for long drives.

Ride comfort

In Comfort mode, the adjustable suspension is just that: comfortable. It absorbs bumps surprisingly well for a high-performance car while keeping you feeling connected to the road. In Dynamic mode, though, it becomes overly stiff, accentuating even tiny road imperfections.

Noise & vibration

The RS 5 is pretty well-insulated from wind, road and tire noise, and with the adaptive exhaust in Comfort mode the engine fades into the background. However, with the exhaust in Dynamic mode, there's an unpleasant droning from under the hood between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm.

Climate control

The climate control system works just as well in the RS 5 as in the regular A5. The controls are clearly labeled and easy to use. Left to its own devices, the system will automatically keep you comfortable.

Interior

A thoughtful interior design means most of the controls are easy to find, and the technology interfaces are easy to master. Visibility is excellent, and the materials quality is top-notch. There's not a lot of headroom, especially in the rear, but rear legroom is better than in some competitors.

Ease of use

The RS 5's design is mostly thoughtful, with easy-to-use controls and an infotainment interface that's among the best on the road. Our biggest issue is the drive mode button, which is a bit hidden and hard to reach. It's disappointing considering how important it is to this car.

Utility

The 12 cubic feet of cargo space isn't exceptional for a coupe in this class, but the space is usable enough for a weekend trip. The rear seats fold down for longer items. There are a few spots to store small items in the cabin, but nothing exceptional.

Technology

Audi's technology is among the best on the market: an easy-to-use infotainment system, a specialized Virtual Cockpit screen with enthusiast-oriented display options, and excellent driver aids for when you want to relax a bit.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2018 Audi RS 5.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Concious Buyer
M Marshall,01/22/2019
quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (2.9L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
I would communicate online before going into the dealership and even if u are a pro and already know the car, have a price fixed in ur head before going in. Be sure to read/understand the fine prints of vehicle extended car cares before signing paper works. Read previous/current owner's forums for their experiences on car reliability. IT IS VERY EASY TO GET SWAYED. If u go to look be sure that's all u do then leave.
Nightmare RS5
Dave,05/20/2019
quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (2.9L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
My 2018 RS5 has been in the shop way to much for turbo waste gate issues that Audi states they dont have a fix for yet. They tell me, just give it throttle within 10 seconds of start up. That's BS, now in shop for temperature sensor for 4 days??? Horrible

Safety

Our experts like the RS 5 models:

Audi Pre Sense City
Detects if a front collision is likely and warns you if you don't react quickly enough. Can also apply the brakes automatically.
Audi Active Lane Assist
Warns if you begin drifting out of your lane without signaling and nudges you back in line if you don't react.
Audi Side Assist
Informs you if vehicles are in your blind spots and audibly warns you if you attempt to change lanes.

More about the 2018 Audi RS 5

Used 2018 Audi RS 5 Overview

The Used 2018 Audi RS 5 is offered in the following submodels: RS 5 Coupe. Available styles include quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (2.9L 6cyl Turbo 8A).

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Should I lease or buy a 2018 Audi RS 5?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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