If the Audi RS5 was a food it would be a donut. A doughnut slathered in sugary frosting, commonly referred to as glazed donut. They go down easy. And despite bite after bite they taste refreshingly light. But soon you realize it’s a doughnut and if abused you’ll find yourself tipping the bathroom scale. And that probably best sums up the Audi RS5; a delightfully, decadent and sweet car. Like a doughnut it can be incredibly bad for you, or in its case dangerous. Abuse its 450 horses of power and you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of a curve, literally. But appreciate it, love it, treat it like a stallion, a purebred, and it will provide you with the respect and agility you so demand.
I’ve now been officially bit by the Audi bug. Driving the German brand’s RS5 is a luxury that few get to experience, and while it’s a formidable sports car with an excessive amount of power, it’s equally as forgiving and surprisingly comfortable. Make no mistake, this is not the A5, or even the S5, though the latter vehicle compared to the RS5 leaves much debate to what you’re truly accomplishing with the added price tag.
There are only a few cars that play to excess so well.
But my 7 day journey with the Audi RS5 wasn’t a comparison piece, and there are only a few cars that play to excess so well. Arguably the top end Mustangs are a much more suitable choice, and easily just as powerful, fast and nimble. But what they lack is German engineering. Or more specifically craftsmanship that drips with opulence on both the outside and inside. And surprisingly, the Audi RS5 is, for the lack of a better word, the nicest of Audi’s I’ve driven.
I’ve long questioned Audi’s interior finishes. In fact I’m driving an S7 right now (no, not while I type), and I still prefer the RS5′s tasteful black carbon fiber inlays, simple lines, and smooth leather. It’s not OTT (over the top), and even though it is a 2013 vehicle, it exudes class and a sense of style that contradicts the sweeping generalizations that are often associated with the owners of this brand.
That said, I’m still lusting after the RS5′s perforated leather steering wheel, whose flat bottom has been derived from racing pedigree and serves really no performance enhancement. But like the car, it offers an almost perfect girth that will even have women envious – how I don’t know, but hopefully you’re picking up what I’m laying down.
Unlike the other, perhaps considerably more opulent Audi’s that I’ve driven, the RS5 has not been fitted with a trip computer that details average or instantaneous MPG. Probably just as well as the RS5 sucks down gas faster than Lindsay Lohan can get _____________. But do you or I care? No. You don’t get into the RS5 to save money on gas or prevent another seagull dying an oily demise. You get an RS5 for the pure fun and adrenaline. Just keep in mind that the spec’d tires cost north of $400 each when it comes time to replace them.
The RS5 sucks down gas faster than Lindsay Lohan can get …
And don’t get me wrong. Just because it lacks a fuel calculating trip computer, Audi hasn’t skimped on the nav system or other amenities. Yes, they’re still using the much maligned backwards control knob, part of their MMI package across all of their cars. Included are heated seats, Bluetooth phone and media playback, and iPhone/iPod integration. Unfortunately, there is no USB port in sight, but as always you’ll find two SD card slots, as well as a SIM card slot for 3G Hotspot connectivity by way of T-Mobile.
The Hotspot function hardly seems fitting in a car of this type, as does the backseat, which if need be can accommodate actual, physical people. Just expect the front occupants to also suffer a similar and uncomfortable fate.
However, you’ll hardly think twice about those once you lay your eyes on the RS5′s body. Sure, the underpinnings are clearly drawn from the A5. But it’s a bit like comparing a burger from In and Out to a burger from McDonalds. The RS5 enjoy’s a wider stance, a more aggressive front fascia with lower intakes, and ground effects that are furthered by an exhaust housing that flows everything together into a mind bending manner.
It’s likely that we won’t see many more naturally aspirated V8s from car companies. The gas implications are just too large for them to efficiently offset with other vehicles in their fleet, people are reluctant to pay a gas guzzler tax, and with fuel prices only rising, and engine efficiency increasing, it’s any wonder they’re still around today. That said, the throaty gurgle of the RS5 is blissfully sweet. Switching the car’s dynamic drive system into Sport mode elicits a greater baritone. And shifting down is something akin to an ear orgasm, as the RS5′s engines has been designed to deliver a single drop of fuel into the engine’s combustion chamber that causes a small explosive noise. Yup, it’s merely a parlor trick, but it’s one that never gets old.
Shifting down is something akin to an ear orgasm
Scattered throughout the Malibu mountains are a myriad of windy roads that are replete with switchbacks, beautiful vistas, and a sting that can be sorely delivered if not addressed in a humble manner. And no route might be more punishing as well as rewarding at Route 23.
There the RS5 faced a variety of turns and windy roads that are best suited for the car’s all wheel drive system that features the company’s torque vectoring system – it drives power to the outside wheels while effectively slowing or breaking the inside ones. The result is an almost pivot like effect that reduces the RS5′s understeer and needless to say provides an unsettling amount of grip. I was tempted to push the car harder, but without the confines of a track and the experience required, I was unable to experience the RS5 in all its glory.
Unlike other Audi’s, the steering in the RS5 has been finely tuned, is less numb, and feels all together more connected to the road. Braking is ridiculously adequate, and pedal feel is commensurate with stopping power. And despite traction control turned on I was able to slightly fish tail the RS5 with aggressive acceleration even while in Sport mode. Yet, with this mode active, the RS5 is still comfortable and not an overly harsh ride, at least by my standards. Switch to Comfort mode and the RS5 (and you) relaxes a bit more, easing up on gear shifts and relaxing the throttle sensitivity. However, unlike other Audis, the dampers, or suspension of this car is not user tunable, though that’s far from a caveat.
At $77,000 the Audi RS5 tips the price scale pretty far to the right for its class. The M3, a comparable car with less power, starts at about $10k less and is said (I haven’t driven one) to offer a comparable if not better ride with less understeer. But that in mind, one could quickly point to a Porsche 911, which offers similar performance at a price that exceeds the $100,000 mark. So price, suffice to say, is a moot issue.
The Audi RS5 deliver a copious amount of fun, and does it with an excessive amount of style. You’d be hard pressed to find a sports car of this class that looks this good. The curves are sexy, the interior is simple yet elegant, and the driveability isn’t muted like so many coupes of today.