You might think that the RS5 is really expensive, but if you check out its rivals such as the Mercedes C63 AMG and BMW’s M3, it is about Rs 16 to 25 lakhs cheaper than the M3…See More
What is it?
Why I would buy it:
Everyday usability, stonking engine, beautiful exterior, ego warmer
Why I would avoid it:
Not as exciting as its rear-wheel drive rivals
A few days ago, a spanking red Audi RS5 waited for me in our CarWale parking, longing to be reviewed. Despite sitting down to write this review a week later, my excitement post driving hasn’t really fizzled out yet. The whole aura around the Audi RS5 Coupe revolves around one single characteristic – an intoxicating drive.
Now, if you didn’t know already, Audi launched the 2018 RS5 Coupe last month. It now rides on the MLB platform (also used in A4/A5/Q7) and even gets a new 2.9-litre V6 motor, unlike the earlier naturally-aspirated 4.2-litre V8. I know what’s going on in your head, but don’t discount it just yet. Although it makes the same power, torque is up by 171Nm!
Sure it looks sporty, but all I can say is that the ‘sleeper’ appearance hides its true demon within. It just has to be one of the best looking Audis. The exterior lines flow seamlessly from nose to tail with the prominent shoulder crease giving it immense character. I mean, look at those sexy five-arm forged alloys with an Anthracite black finish! In profile, it fondly reminded me of the 1990s Ford Thunderbird – a two-door design with a raked C-pillar that still holds a special place in my heart.
That said, the face is particularly eye-catching, with slim angry headlamps split apart by the large black honey-comb grille which also holds that distinctive RS logo. Plus, Audi has done a brilliant job with the mean-looking angular air-dams, and the purposeful splitter. Even the rear is tastefully done with the subtle boot-lip spoiler, wide-but-slim tail lamps with snazzy LED graphics, and those twin exhausts popping out from underneath.
How is it on the inside?
Being a two-door Coupe, the RS5 has a charm that’s emphasised by those long rimless doors. You feel particularly special when the seat belt mechanism pops out and offers your belt with a flourish. And if this weren’t enough, you can relish the fine quality levels with premium fit and finish which the RS5 generously proposes. The dash layout is similar to the A4/A5 which gets slim air-con vents that run across the width of the dash, making it look wider than it actually is.
Apart from the thoroughly modern cabin that we have all come to expect from Audi, quality levels are flawless. Everything from the extravagant Nappa leather to the carbon fibre trim and brushed steel pedals lend a good balance of premium and sporty appeal. Plus, we just love the fabulous Virtual Cockpit (instrument cluster) which is so user friendly, and grasps your senses with all those striking graphics.
Let’s talk about the seats now. The front ones have firm cushioning with good contours, lots of lateral support, and the added benefit of the massage function. This, coupled with ample legroom and a manually adjustable thigh support makes for a thoroughly comfortable drive. Even at the rear, there’s the comfort of a 3-zone air-con with vents, along with storage options like the front seatback nets, slim side panel pockets, and a centre cubby space where the middle seat should have been.
But the biggest drawback with this car are its rear seats. We found the knee room to be tight, there’s very little thigh support, foot room is confined, and the headroom can get cramped for tall occupants. Plus, it can get claustrophobic due to the compact window area. This ultimately brings us to the boot space, which at 465-litres, is large enough to swallow four medium-sized suitcases and some soft bags at the most. And when the need comes, the rear 40:20:40 seats can fall flat by yanking at the levers situated on either side of the boot.
When it comes to features, you get a sunroof, electric front seats with massage function, cruise control, push button start, and a sweet sounding Bang & Olufsen music system. Although MMI now gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, functionality isn’t that great since it does not get a touch screen. Safety features include six airbags, electronic stabilisation control (ESC), ABS, ASR, electronic differential lock (EDL), and parking sensors with a rear view camera.
How does it drive?
Considering I’m behind the wheel of a coupe that comes from Audi’s RS division, it’s a given to sample the power output first, right? So I obviously slotted into ‘Dynamic’ mode in manual and well, just floored it. But what happened next was simply inexplicable. The RS5 simply stunned me by rocketing onto the tarmac ahead. There’s this neck-grabbing gain-in-momentum, along with you getting shoved into the seat with some scintillating exhaust drama, and the shattering graphics from the ‘Virtual Cockpit’ instrumentation glaring into my face. I almost felt possessed!
But before I knew it, the eight-speed transmission upshifted into second, and amidst all the adrenaline-spiked fun, I didn’t back off the throttle. In a snap, we hit the 6700rpm red-line where the system held the second gear at the limit and paused. This is when I was able to gather my senses and comprehend the sheer sense of speed that I was hurled through. Sure we’ve driven fast cars, but we didn’t expect this to be such a bomb.