ate last year I reviewed Audi’s RS5 coupé. It’s a jaw dropping, stop in your tracks, good looking car. And while it bares some resemblance to the A5, it’s anything but. For starters, under the hood is a naturally aspirated V8 that kicks out 450hp and an engine note that will leave even supercar owners envious.
And now there is a cabriolet version, complete with the same wondrous tone as the coupé brother. Replacing the metal roof is a rag top that folds down in as little as 15-seconds, back up in 17, and can be done so while cruising at a speed up to 31 mph. However, for some fun in the sun the RS5 cab has gained 411 lbs over it’s coupé brother, as well a 0-60 that increases from 4.5 seconds to 4.9. But you’ll hardly notice those caveats when the air is rushing over your head, and the engine emits a deep roar as you hammer down the accelerator and use the all too capable S-tronic dual-clutch 7-speed automatic to jettison from the line. Unfortunately, purists will need to look else where, as the RS5, coupe and cabriolet, are restricted to automatic here in the US. But I assure you, even the die hard stick operators won’t be disappointed.
Fit and finish is typical Audi fashion; nothing but the best. Feature wise we’re looking at paddle shifters, Audi Drive Select, Bluetooth audio playback, and Audi’s MMI system. It’s still not at the top of my list, but Audi’s MMI has recently ranked much higher in my book thanks to their Google enabled maps and voice search. In fact, the Google Voice Search outranks the car’s built-in system many times over, as it’s more accurate, faster, and just seems to work like many of today’s smartphones. Don’t believe me? Try to get directions to your house using the MMI’s voice recognition system. Then try Google Search by voice.
Pressing the Drive Select button allows you to almost instantly change the RS5 Cabriolet’s characteristics. Dynamic mode remaps the accelerator, holds the gears longer during acceleration, stiffens up the steering, and opens up the flaps in the exhaust for a more guttural rumble. Comfort mode is virtually the opposite of that, and individual lets you tune each aforementioned setting to how you see fit. The springs, unlike some of Audi’s other vehicles, are not adjustable, though they strike an excellent balance between comfort and performance.
The backseat is virtually unusable, unless the legless or tiny are willing to sign on. There still isn’t any USB support, though since I just saw one appear in the company’s 2015 A3, I’m willing to speculate that it will make it to all 2015 models, though it will likely be limited to delivering power. But again, you won’t even give this a second thought, especially when you down shift and the engine blips with supercar excitement.
So here’s the thing: I reviewed the RS5 coupe last year, so there is no sense in rehashing what is effectively the same car. Yes, the added weight and the perhaps less rigid frame changes the car’s dynamics. But come on, nobody is hitting the track in this thing. That said, I am now able to look back in retrospect and compare the RS5 cab to some of the car’s I’ve driven to in the past. And nothing compares more in both price and segment, than Mercedes’s C63.
The C63 is a rear wheeled beast, where as the RS5 is an AWD menace that keeps things planted and steady. So what I’m trying to say, and I cover this in the above video, is that the RS5 is much more tame, and less a driver’s car. That isn’t to say that it’s a lesser car, but it’s a car that takes less work, thought, and tolerance to drive on a day-to-day basis. And because of that, the RS5 Cabriolet (and coupé) is very much an every day race car.
Don’t forget to check out the video review above.