Move over M3, Daddy's home. Not even for one second while driving the car did I think that it was overkill compared to the regular S5.
The Audi S5 sold over here no longer has my beloved V8 in it. Instead, they have put in the supercharged 3.0L 6-cylinder from the S4. It’s a great motor and all, but upon driving it this past fall, I felt that it was much better suited to the S4. The identity of the S5 was its brutal combination of a good old V8 and 6-speed manual transmission. The 2013 Audi RS5 I spent the past week with, however, is all that and much, much more.
In reality, the only way to describe the RS5 is absolutely brutal. The 4.2L V8 sourced from Audi’s R8 puts out a ground-crushing 450 horsepower and 316 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with neat “go-quick” goodies such as launch control, the RS5 has absolutely no problem hustling to 100 km/h in four seconds flat. Not even for one second while driving the car did I think that it was overkill compared to the regular S5. In fact, I’m beginning to think that with the S4 sharing the same powertrain, the S5 coupé is completely redundant now that the RS5 exists.
Audi has always raved about how wonderful their Quattro® all-wheel-drive system is. When pushing the RS5 through some twisty roads with all settings set to “Dynamic”, the car really began to come alive. Few cars are capable of going up and down roads such as the Forks of the Credit in Caledon, Ontario as effortlessly as the RS5. The brakes, the handling, and Audi Drive Select all work seamlessly as one. The transition between Dynamic, Comfort, Individual, and Auto settings is virtually unnoticeable. You can, however, easily tell what mode you’re in by the car’s behaviour at any given moment in time.
The S-tronic 7-speed dual clutch transmission is a huge improvement to this R8 engine than the former R-tronic was. The shifts are both quick and sound absolutely awesome. In “S” when going all-out, the transmission seems to hesitate. Launch control starts are aggressive for the first split second, but the car seems to get confused near the top of first gear. It’s a small flaw to the car’s overall wonderful character, but it does become noticeable in spirited driving. The S4 and S5 feel far more composed and confident.
Priced at just under $85,000, my 2013 RS5 tester came equipped literally exactly how I would want it, down to the colour. Like other manufacturers, Audi charges $750 for the premium paint, but the Phantom Black Pearl looks absolutely phenomenal in this car. The black interior with the “RS5” embroidery on the seats just works wonders. Other notable options include the 20” optional wheels, the renowned Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the navigation package.
Though I typically love the way the B&O audio in Audi models sounds, I couldn’t help but come away disappointed with this particular application. The quality was there, but the system seemed more comfortable pumping out the treble and midrange notes than bass. The system lacked bass completely, and that’s even with the tone settings tweaked accordingly. The user-friendliness of Audi’s MMI system is second to none as well. My personal favourite part of the multimedia setup is the volume control located to the right side of the shifter. I really do wish other manufacturers picked up on this, because it’s one of those little things that makes a huge difference.
It may just be my attraction to cool shiny toys, but I love the power-retracting spoiler on the trunklid of this Audi RS5. It automatically deploys with speed, but it also can be controlled with a toggle switch on the dashboard.
One of the 2013 Audi RS5’s most impressive traits is its ability to transform from an aggressive, beastly sports coupe into a comfortable, serene highway cruiser in literally seconds. On more than one occasion I found myself doing well over the posted highway speed limit of when I would have sworn I wasn’t doing a dime over 100 km/h. It’s absolutely inexplicable how smooth the car becomes. I do believe that the RS5 would be my number-one choice for cruising Germany’s autobahns for hours on end. If using this car on a road trip though, I would definitely complain about the size of the fuel tank. For a car that drinks this much fuel (I averaged 18.3L/100km in spirited driving), a 70L tank is absolutely unacceptable.
The 2013 RS5 has won me over. It’s gorgeous both inside and out, it goes like a bat out of hell, it’s equipped beautifully, and it’s not completely ostentatious to look at. Other than the S-tronic transmission being a little hesitant at times, I have no legitimate complaints about it. Move over M3, daddy’s home.
2013 Audi RS5 Gallery