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Loud, fast, noisy and extremely driveable!

S Muralidhar | Updated on August 30, 2018 Published on August 30, 2018

Audi’s sportbacks are personal favourites. The new RS 5 Coupé elevates that design character and driving experience to a new high

There is something about the colour red that seems to make a car special even if under the skin it is a wimp. No other colour is as synonymous with being fast. Red livery on a car naturally denotes speed, aggression and a sporty spirit.

The Audi RS 5 Coupé I was driving a couple of weeks ago was at the centre of all the attention even when I was potting around at speeds hardly worth bragging about. Gleaming under the sun, the RS 5’s shiny, bright red paint and the four-ringed logo were probably the only two identities that folks outside needed to pause on their tracks and stare.

 

 

 

Not many would have known, however, that under the hood of this red car were hundreds of restless ponies, not phonies (sorry, couldn’t resist that one). No one would have been in doubt though when I double shifted down and pulled away with the exhaust delivering its characteristic ‘sonic boom’. For being burly, loud, and yet enormously capable, the RS 5 would have been a perfect fit for Marvel’s Iron man. After all, Audis are the wheels of choice for Mr Stark; and he would have found the RS 5’s unabashed demeanour very much a reflection of his brash style.

Design

This is the second generation of the RS 5 and Audi India launched it here a few weeks ago as a steroidal supplement to the A5 and S5 duo, which have both been in the portfolio for nearly a year. There are obvious family resemblances like in the grille and the headlamps; but the RS 5 Coupé’s body work is said to be influenced more by the Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO — the German brand’s famous racing car for the said series. Sharp creases, even sharper cut-away angles that run across the bonnet highlight the huge air scoops in the front fender making the second-gen RS 5 a stand-out even within Audi’s portfolio. What Audi calls Quattro blisters further highlight the lines that curve over the wheel arches. The side character lines and the dual tone skirts in the front fender hark back to the racing series car. More trained eyes can identify that the headlamp sports Matrix LEDs and that the bonnet grille is a single frame unit and is wider than the A5’s. The RS 5 Coupé body style is a pleasing combo between a sportback and coupé. One of its most flattering viewing angles is its side profile from where the fast stance, aerodynamic lines and black panoramic sunroof combine to give it unique looks. Add to that the massive 20-inch alloys (shod in my test mule), which Audi has bravely only reduced to 19-inchers for the Indian market, and you get one of the sexiest two-door Coupés available.

 

 

 

The rear features a 3D taillamp construction with LED lights and dynamic turn indicators. The bootlid features an integrated lip spoiler in carbon-fibre (option). The oversized dual exhaust ends poke out from under the rear fender like big nostrils. That image pops back into your head when you hear the distant booms after every late upshift of the gearbox. There is RS badging at the front, rear and on both the front wings.

Cabin

The RS 5 Coupé’s cabin also feels more special compared to its less beefy siblings. There are a lot of RS-specific elements in the cabin with a liberal sprinkling of the badge on the flat-bottomed steering wheel, the centre console and the illuminated door sills. More sporty additions include the standard Alcantara upholstery in nappa leather with the RS 5 logo embossed on the back rest. Emphasising its dual character, the RS 5’s cabin also gets ambient lighting and three-zone airconditioning. The Audi Virtual cockpit, which I absolutely love for its depth, clarity and usability, gets a special RS screen. Other infotainment features include MMI navigation plus with touch, Audi’s smartphone interface and a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 19 speakers.

Getting in and out of the RS 5 Coupé is super easy for the driver and front passenger thanks to the large, wide opening doors and the not-so-low seating position. But it is a bit of a squeeze for the rear passengers. They will also find that the kneeroom is spartan.

Performance

The RS 5 Coupé gets an all new 2.9-litre TFSI bi-turbo petrol engine. The new V6 replaces the previous generation’s larger V8, but thanks to new tech manages to deliver a shade more power at 450 hp, and much more torque at 600 Nm (170 Nm higher). The new engine and more light-weighting also contribute to a 60 kg lower gross weight. The top speed of the RS 5 is now 250 kmph and it supposedly does 0-100 kmph in 3.9 seconds.

Audi says that one of the reasons for the boost in performance and the quicker response times is due to the turbochargers being positioned in the middle of the arms of the 90-degree V6 engine, and the resultant shortened distances for the forced induction. The engine’s efficiency is also said to have improved by 17 per cent. Rated mileage is said to be 10.8 kmpl. The V6 is paired with an eight-speed triptronic gearbox that has been tuned for sportier driving character. Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive with its self-locking centre differential is standard with a default 40:60 split for the front and rear.

After I met a couple of Audi specialists whose job it is to make sure that every car cabin has that distinctive new car smell, it isn’t hard to believe that they actually also have specialists whose job is to make them sound unique. This one gets Audi’s RS Sports exhaust system with its combination of flaps and a crosspipe. In comfort mode and at slow speeds, the RS 5 doesn’t activate any of these. When I get the chance to get my right foot to meet the floor, the characteristic growl of the TFSI engine gets enhanced by the booms that mark the end of the note after every upshift. Sounds a bit like distant bass bursts on the overrun. The RS Coupé shares the same MLB platform that many of Audi’s models are also built on. The chassis is essentially the A5/S5, but the suspension is the RS Sport with a more direct handling set-up. Yet, the RS Coupé didn’t feel too rigid or offer a harsh ride. In fact, it was surprisingly pliant and handling wasn’t frightfully taut or intimidating like some of the other sports coupés can be. I guess this too emphasises the RS 5’s duality of being both track ready and comfortable on the road. Dynamic steering and Audi Drive Select are also part of standard equipment.

Bottom Line

The RS 5 Coupé joins Audi’s garage in India a bit late, but like they say ‘better late than never’. Audi India needs to widen its portfolio and the RS 5 Coupé with its everyday usability and track prowess is the perfect car to take on the likes of the BMW M4 and Mercedes AMG’s C63. The RS 5 Coupé is priced at about ₹1.11 crore (ex-showroom); some of the optional additions that you see in these pictures may affect the final price tag.

Published on August 30, 2018
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