2018 Audi RS 5 Review
Edmunds expert review
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.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
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.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.