Review: Audi RS5 (2010 – 2016)
Thunderous performance from lovely V8 engine. Understated styling. Great handling and traction. The usual high quality you'd expect from Audi throughout.
Not available as a manual which may put off some enthusiasts. Seven-speed transmission 'protects itself' so the car can be frustratingly slow off the line.
Audi RS5 (2010 – 2016): At A Glance
Sitting at the pinnacle of the Audi A5 range is the high performance RS5 - what many people see as the natural successor to the legendary Audi RS4. It's powered by an uprated version of the 4.2-litre V8 used in the S5 Coupe which delivers a mammoth 450bhp and a resulting 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds - a match for even the mighty BMW M3. And not only does it sound great as you'd expect, with a deep rumble from those big oval exhausts, but the V8 is also the highest revving engine in the class, spinning up to 8,250rpm.
However, what makes the RS5 really stand out from the likes of the BMW M3 is the fact it comes with quattro all-wheel drive. The result is one of the finest handling coupes around with immense grip and incredible traction, even on slippery roads or when exiting a slow, tight corner. It flatters even the novice driver, although you're always aware that you've got a huge amount of power under your right foot.
It really does go like a rocket from standstill, but it doesn't have the unruly element of the M3. Instead the RS5 is a little more forgiving, allowing you to enjoy it in a relatively relaxed manner, rather than the often frantic feel you get behind the wheel of the BMW when you're driving quickly. It also rides incredibly well for a sports coupe that's so flat in corners, with firm but forgiving damping.
One downside for some may be the fact it doesn't have a manual gearbox. Instead, like many modern performance cars, it has an advanced automatic transmission as standard. In this case it's Audi's double-clutch S tronic system with seven speeds which offers super-fast shifts with steering-wheel mounted paddles as standard, so you can change gear yourself. It's not a cheap car to buy new, but it does come highly equipped and is also one of the more efficient performance cars of this ilk, averaging a claimed 26.2mpg.
What does a Audi RS5 (2010 – 2016) cost?
Audi RS5 (2010 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 380–829 litres
There's not much in the interior of the RS5 to make it stand out from a standard A5 Coupe but there are some subtle details to remind you that you're sitting in something a little special. There's the thick-rimmed sports steering wheel which has perforated leather with a contrasting grey stitching and is great to hold, while the instrument dials have black faces with white numbers and when the ignition is switched on, the red needles turn all the way to the limit and fall back to zero.
Sports seats come as standard and with their prominent side bolsters offer great lateral support but aren't so narrow that they become uncomfortable on long journeys. They're power-adjustable too and include a four-way lumbar support and an extendable thigh rest along with integrated headrests and embossed RS 5 logos in the backrests. As an optional extra, climate-controlled comfort seats are available which are ventilated and have perforated black Milano leather, while if you want a more performance feel you can opt for deeply contoured, manually adjustable bucket seats.
Like the A5 Coupe, the driving position is pretty much spot on with a low slung seat and plenty of adjustment in both the chair and the steering column. As a result it's easy to get a cockpit-like feel behind the wheel, helped by the raised central console, which is finished in carbon fibre. There's also an aluminium trim on the pedals and black headlining.
The rear seats are useable, even for adults, but with the front seats slid all the way back, there's minimal legroom, so four six-footers may find it a squeeze. But headroom is good for those in the back and it feels more spacious than you'd imagine. Practicality is pretty good to - the back seat backrests can be folded down and the boot offers 455 litres of space (plus the hatch swings up automatically when unlocked) which is pretty much the same as a BMW 3 Series saloon.
Standard equipment from launch (October 2010):
RS5 comes with a high level of standard equipment including 19-inch ‘5-spoke Aero' design alloy wheels with 265/35 R19 tyres, Audi drive select, Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) Sports suspension system with three level controls, RS high performance braking system, quattro with sports differential, Audi parking system plus with front and rear sensors, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, wlectromechanical parking brake, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), front and rear ISOFIX child seat, front side airbags, Sideguard curtain airbags, Thatcham category 1 alarm, tyre pressure monitoring system, electric lumbar support for front seats, RS electrically adjustable Super Sports seats, Silk Nappa leather with contrasting piping and RS embossing, Audi Concert audio system, single CD, colour centre console screen, SD memory-card readerand AUX-IN socket in centre console, Audi Sound System speaker package with 10 speakers including subwoofer, carbon inlays, Colour Driver's Information System (DIS), deluxe three-zone climate control with separate air distribution and digital display for the driver and front passenger, front centre armrest including 12V power socket, multi-function steering wheel with aluminium-look gearshift paddles, adaptive lights including xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights, headlight washer system, auto-opening boot lid, electrically operated and heated exterior mirrors, RS body styling, a speed-activated rear spoiler and two oval exhaust pipes.
Child seats that fit a Audi RS5 (2010 – 2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi RS5 (2010 – 2016) like to drive?
- Engines range from 4.2 FSI quattro to 4.2 FSI quattro S tronic Cabriolet
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 15–21 mpg
The 4.2-litre V8 engine in the RS5 Coupe and Cabrio is also used in the S5 Coupe but slightly confusingly not in the S5 Cabriolet, which instead is powered by a 3.0-litre supercharged engine. Of course being the top of the range model in the A5 range, the V8 in the RS5 has been upgraded with more power and has 450PS along with 430Nm of torque - that's more than a BMW M3 (with 420bhp and 400Nm) but not as much as a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (457bhp and 600Nm).
It's still the most potent normally aspirated V8-powered Audi ever made and with a 0-62mph time of just 4.5 seconds it's on par with the M3 and only fractionally (0.1 seconds to be exact) behind the Mercedes AMG. It sounds great when you start it up (which you can do using the neat engine start/stop button next the gear lever) with a lovely deep rumble from the sports exhaust and sounds even better when you accelerate.
At low speeds such as in town traffic the RS5 is amazingly easy to drive, almost docile in fact, so it's comfortable and relaxing when you want it to be. The ride is very impressive for a high performance car and this is probably the biggest difference between this Audi and its main competitors. Even on the optional larger 20-inch alloy wheels, it's still forgiving even over speed bumps and deals well with rough surfaces. Compared to an M3 it certainly feels a lot more relaxed and less frantic to drive, yet that's not to say it doesn't handle well. How long the tyres and rims will last is another matter.
As it's quattro four-wheel drive, traction is good, especially noticeable on wet roads or when pulling out of a junction. The ESP rarely has to intervene and the RS5 seems to effortless put its power down, giving you great acceleration when you want it without any fuss. It's just as good in corners too with sharp responses, although the steering is somewhat lacking in feel.
Audi has given the RS5 specific spring, damper and anti-roll bar settings while the suspension is lowered by 20mm, so it's very composed through fast flowing bends. Yet it never crashes or feels too firm and it's this blend that makes it such a great all-round, useable performance car. Audi's drive select vehicle dynamics control system helps too. A standard feature it has different settings from Comfort to Dynamic which alter not only the suspension settings, but also the steering (giving it more weight), gearbox and sports differential.
The rear sports differential (that's used in the S4 and S5) comes with a new centre differential that can vary torque between the front and rear axles. In standard mode, the four-wheel drive system is set 40:60 in favour of the rear wheels, but the centre differential can send up to 85 per cent of the power to the back. So in essence it feels very much like a rear-wheel drive car, but with the added security of quattro four-wheel drive, giving you the best of both.
Despite the fact it's quattro, the RS5 is still relatively economical for a performance car, especially when compared to the alternatives. The ECDC combined average is 26.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 252g/km and while the BMW M3 Coupe with the automatic DCT gearbox isn't far behind these figures, a Mercedes C63 AMG returns tests at 21.1mpg and emits 319g/km of CO2.
|4.2 FSI quattro||27 mpg||4.5 s||246 g/km|
|4.2 FSI quattro S tronic Cabriolet||26 mpg||4.7 s||249 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi RS5 (2010 – 2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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