2018 Audi RS 5: Two Less Cylinders, Two More Turbos

Strong points
  • Dynamic V6 engine
  • Capable automatic gearbox
  • Sure-footed all-wheel drive
  • Optional rear torque vectoring differential
  • Top-notch assembly and finish
Weak points
  • Muffled engine sound
  • Relatively heavy weight
  • High price
  • Cost of options
Full report

SOLDEU, Andorra – It's all the rage. After the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C 63, it's the Audi RS 5's turn to have its engine resized. So long, naturally aspirated V8, hello, 2.9-litre V6 with two turbochargers. Output at 444 horsepower is unchanged, but torque makes a prodigious leap from 317 to 442 lb.-ft. This is an authentic GT equipped with a high-performance all-wheel drive system for a ride that is as smooth as it is fast, regardless of weather conditions.

On the mountain roads of the Pyrenees, the RS 5 Coupé was up to the challenge, the turbochargers helping nullify the altitude effect that often afflicts naturally aspirated engines. The RS 5 Coupé’s twin-turbo, 2.9-litre V6 is, in some ways, a more dynamic version of the new 3.0-litre turbo V6 purring under the 2018 Audi S5’s hood. It has 100 cubic centimetres less displacement due to decreased piston travel designed to optimize air/fuel intake.

Compared to the previous version’s V8, this twin-turbo V6 delivers maximum power at lower revs and maximum torque between 1900 and 5000 rpm, making the ride simultaneously smoother and more urgent. The 2018 Audi RS 5 Coupé owes its 3.9-second 0-100 km/h time to its all-wheel drive system, which guarantees optimal actuation as soon as you press the accelerator. But much more than its blistering time, it’s the way the car expresses itself that impresses, delivering a sustained forward surge that is characteristic of supercharged engines. The only drawback is that the sound is now more muffled than before.

Photo: Audi Sport

Remarkable poise

Since the previous version’s seven-speed S tronic gearbox was incapable of dealing with the twin-turbo V6’s superior torque, it has been replaced by an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox. However, the RS 5 Coupé is keeping the full-time all-wheel drivetrain that sends 40% of torque to the front end and 60% to the back under normal circumstances. This ratio can climb up to 85% to the front end, if required. The paddles are wheel mounted and, although the car no longer has the twin-clutch gearbox, the automatic mimics it extremely well with fast gear changes.

When ordering the RS 5 Coupé, you can also opt for the active rear differential with torque vectoring. It does an excellent job ensuring optimal actuation coming out of turns by accelerating the exterior rear wheel faster, which helps catapult the car toward the next curve with authority. Fast but not furious, the RS 5 Coupé demonstrates remarkable poise and inspires confidence thanks to well calibrated and configurable links from car to ground. Furthermore, the oversized tires and precise steering help the car take on corners with conviction.

The RS 5 Coupé’s style combines sportiness and performance, while demonstrating a certain degree of restraint. The wider black beehive grille and larger front air intakes are immediately noticeable, as are the fenders that are 15 millimetres wider than on the A5. In back, two large, oval tailpipes shape the diffuser and a discreet spoiler overhangs the trunk lid. In Europe, the RS 5 Coupé can come with a carbon fibre roof, but we don’t know if it will be available in Canada yet.

Photo: Audi Sport

The cabin is proof positive that Audi is still the master of assembly and coordinating materials. The attention to detail is particularly striking when you notice the green stitching in the RS 5 Coupé’s Sonoma Green seats to mirror the vehicle’s unique body colour. Obviously, the Audi virtual cockpit is present and accounted for and includes a Dynamic mode that places the tach dead centre, flanked on the left by a G-force indicator and on the right by two indicators displaying power and torque as a percentage.

The 2018 Audi RS 5 Coupé will arrive in Canadian dealerships in the first quarter of next year, and its price should come in around the $87,000 mark, like the previous version.

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

BlogAudi Forbidden Fruit: Q2, RS Q3 and Q7 e-tron TDI
Denying the North-American market from certain car models isn’t something new at Audi. We can simply think of the little A1 and its sportier, 231-horsepower S1 variant, the Sportback and Cabriolet versions of the 292-hp, Audi S3 as well as the A4 Avant and its 354-hp, S4 counterpart. Need more …
First Drives2018 Audi RS 3: The Ultimate Sleeper
SALALAH, Oman – All right, boys and girls, here it is: your $60K-plus, all-wheel-drive, near-400 horsepower ultimate sleeper, the Audi RS 3. First, let’s get one thing out of the way. When they hear that you spent over sixty thousand dollars for what, to them , is basically a fancy …
First Drives2018 Audi SQ5: Thrilling Within Reason
Last fall, Audi introduced the second generation of its compact SUV, the 2018 Q5, a vehicle that quickly rose to the top of the brand's sales charts in Canada. This success came in spite of the fact that there was just one version available with just one engine choice. Buyers …
FrankfurtAudi Aicon: A Level 5 Autonomous Concept
FRANKFURT, Germany – Audi is all about autonomous driving at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show. They’ve unveiled the Aicon four-door concept car with a 2+2 configuration and level 5 autonomous driving capabilities. With level 5 autonomous driving, the vehicle has neither a steering wheel nor pedals, and the “driver” is …
New Models2019 Audi A7 Sportback: Generation Two
When the Audi A7 arrived on the market, it immediately stood out with its striking and unique design. Particularly at the rear with its resolutely exotic styling, and while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the first generation of the A7 will probably be recognised as one of …
New York2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback: World Debut at the New York Auto Show
Audi’s Sport Division has just introduced the RS 5 Sportback at the New York Auto Show. As the latest iteration of the RS 5, it’s got a more dynamic profile than the Coupe, thanks to a sloping roofline and its five-door configuration. The RS 5 Sportback follows the RS 7’s …
Recalls26,000 Audi Cars Recalled For an Airbag Problem
Each time the words “recall” and “airbags” appear together, the first thing that inevitably comes to mind is the whole Takata mess that affected some 50 million vehicles globally. However, this is not the case here. Audi Canada is conducting a recall on 26,386 late-model cars because, on some of …
Comments