Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.
Without mincing words, the 2013 Audi RS 5 was one of our favorite cars that we drove in 2012. And why wouldn't it be? With the RS 5, Audi finally brought a real competitor to the BMW M3. Backing the RS 5's run for the crown is a 4.2-liter, naturally aspirated V8 making 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. It's a rev-happy motor that makes some of the best sounds on the planet. It's also likely living out its last hurrah here as fuel economy regulations doom the naturally aspirated motor.
But as good as the RS 5 is, it can't truly compete with the M3 with just a coupe. So Audi kept the V8 and the seven-speed auto-clutch manual and ditched the roof.
The 2013 Audi RS 5 Convertible is heavier, sure, and with direct access to the elements including the V8's growl, there's no denying its appeal. But what's the performance cost of a few hundred thousand miles of headroom? Is the 2013 Audi RS 5 Convertible still a beast when pushed to its limits, or does it crumble under the weight of its fabric top? We took it to the track to find out.
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed auto-clutch manual
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected V8, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4,163/254
Redline (rpm): 8,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 450 @ 8,250
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 317 @ 4,000
Brake Type (front): 14.4-inch ventilated discs with eight-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.8-inch ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 275/30ZR20 (97Y)
Tire Size (rear): 275/30ZR20 (97Y)
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,433
0-30 (sec): 1.8 (2.3 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.0 (3.7 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.6 (5.3 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.4 (4.9 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 6.6 (7.5 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.9 @ 107.9 (13.4 @ 106.5 w/ TC on)
30-0 (ft): 27
60-0 (ft): 106
Slalom (mph): 69.5 (69.0 with Dynamic Handling)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.98 (0.95 with Dynamic Handling)
RPM @ 70: 2,300
Acceleration: I was only able to tease out one "Launch mode" run, but boy did it work well, chopping 0.7 second from the entire run. Upshifts in this mode are also noticeably quicker/harsher. Engine revs and revs and doesn't lose power at the 8,250-rpm redline. Terrific transmission, too. Both up- and downshifts are instantaneous, especially via steering wheel paddles. Joy!
Braking: The self-adjusting suspension does a very good job resisting dive. Medium-firm pedal with immediate brake response. Obviously these brakes are able to resist fading of all sorts, as the shortest stop was the fifth of seven.
Slalom: With ESC in Sport mode (essentially off) and "Dynamic," drive mode the RS 5 Cab tends to lose grip at the rear of the car first, so it required quick reflexes and generous steering and throttle manipulation to stay on course. Oddly, the steering response felt lazy so that made it even harder to keep up with the demands. Switching ESC "on" and enabling the "Auto" drive mode felt as if all the various systems were speaking to one another: ESC, AWD, steering and throttle all felt connected.
Skid pad: The same two settings were used here as in the slalom and produced similar responses from the car and thus similar results. The 2013 Audi RS 5 cabrio is better behaved and more capable with ESC on and automatic drive mode. Steering weight is spot-on, there's plenty of feel through the wheel and the tires offer plenty of grip. Side note: There's much more chassis flex (cowl shake) in this car than I've witnessed in other modern convertibles.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.