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First Drive: 2018 Audi RS five

As pleasantly aggressive as it is on the eyes, the meaner stance and flared bodywork of the 2018 Audi RS 5 doesn’t tell the entire story at the back of this reworked coupe. The maximum great transformation lurks beneath its creased and widened pores and skin, especially the swapping of it’s large, clearly aspirated V-8 for a smaller, torque-per twin-rapid V-6. Welcome to the inevitable destiny of Audi Sport, in all its predictably downsized and turbocharged glory.

A Teutonic Tale of Loss and Gain

The turbo fashion is a chunk of a brand new automobile cliché, bringing with it left-mind justifications in addition to predictable chatter from lovers about the lack of certain intangibles. The RS five enjoys the everyday blessings — for starters, the smaller engine weighs sixty-eight pounds much less, alleviating a number of the nose-heavy weight distribution and transferring the auto’s stability rearward by means of a half of percentage point, to 57/forty three. The parent remains not best, but it’s definitely a step inside the right course.


The RS five’s 2.9-liter V-6 — additionally discovered inside the Porsche Panamera — produces the equal 450 horsepower as its predecessor, however, gains a vast one hundred twenty-five lb-feet of torque, for a complete of 442 lb-toes. Impressively, that parent plateaus from 1,900 rpm to 5,000 rpm and bests the R8’s base V-10 with the aid of a remarkable forty-four lb-ft. Audi’s acquainted DSG transmission has been swapped for a ZF-sourced eight-speed with a conventional torque converter due to the fact a twin-take hold of the unit couldn’t take care of the motor’s prodigious twist, in step with Audi Sports development boss Stephan Reil. Fuel performance improves by means of 17 percent over the outgoing V-eight, with the U.S. Equivalent of the New European Cycle equating to someplace within the community of 19/27 mpg town/motorway.

Power is sent thru a Torsen differential, which employs a forty/60 front-to-rear breakup and may route as much as 85 percent to the rear or 65 percentage to the front. A mechanical torque vectoring system makes use of clutches at the rear axle to overdrive the outdoor wheel, with additional brake vectoring at all four wheels.

Longer, agiler, Roomier

Though it grows in the period by using 2.Nine inches, the RS five loses 132 kilos thanks to aluminum components like a tool panel substructure shaped from extruded move individuals, bringing scale back weight to a few,648 kilos. Front strut domes now use forged aluminum creation as opposed to welded sheet metal, aiding structural stiffness and guidance reaction. A non-compulsory carbon-fiber roof shaves an extra 6.6 pounds but is unavailable on U.S.-sure motors.

The cabin additionally feels incrementally roomier thanks to a 0.6-inch boom in wheelbase, which adds almost an inch of rear legroom, assisting make the again seats experience almost habitable for common-sized adults. Luggage space increases by way of 0.4 cubic toes, imparting a best-in-magnificence total of 16.4 cubic feet.

Cockpit Action

Climb into the RS 5, and some competitive information quietly clamors for attention, particularly the flat-bottomed guidance wheel, paddle shifters, and to be had assessment-stitched leather or Alcantara trim on key controls like the shifter and wheel. Unlike earlier Audi fashions, the eight.Three-inch navigation display screen is lamentably constant in the region. At least the MMI wheel, touchpad and hard buttons play properly collectively. Also to be had is Audi’s slick Virtual Cockpit, which transforms the gap previously called the analog dashboard into a customizable, 12.Three-inch TFT display. Unique to the RS utility are shows that make the tachometer change to yellow or purple when coming near redline, as well as engine output gauges, tire pressure, and temperature, and g-forces.

Our check power took us from the flatlands of Toulouse, France, to the sci-fi-ish principality of Andorra, a tiny nook nestled within the switchback-weighted down peaks between France and Spain. Unlike the outgoing RS five, which howled its manner to an eight,500 rpm redline, the brand new version’s punchier personality is great tapped at low- and mid-variety rpm, wherein the core of its sonic soul additionally occurs to live. At mellower engine speeds (and in the brief space between shifts), a low-frequency hum fills the cabin. It’s diffused and almost soothing but not totally actual way to a tiny shaker on a metallic flap that allows some of the engine sounds to resonate off the windshield.


Regardless of its authenticity (or lack thereof), the deep frequency sounds are discreet sufficient to add a few a good deal-wanted man or woman to the V-6’s repertoire, helping an in any other case distinctly quiet powerplant through lending it an air of persona. It’s no loose-breathing, excessive-screaming V-8 — indeed, it gives a wholly extra soft-spoken high-quality — however at least the V-6 produces subtle audio and, in sportier modes a huskier song and a satisfying off-throttle crackle uncorked thru an exhaust valve.

While the V-6 isn’t as gloriously long-winded because the high-revving V-eight was, it does percent an excessive punch. Drop the hammer at low RPMs, watch the thin-line digital improve gauge boost, and sense the whoosh of energy as the engine finally ends up, pressing you firmly into your stitched leather seat. Shifts at some stage in mellow using may be a tad jerky (even in milder riding modes) but turn out to be ironically more at ease while the going gets faster. There’s a positive understated nice to using the RS 5 quickly, due in part to its extraordinarily subdued engine sounds. Squeeze the throttle, and the auto’s Maison d’être immediately alters; while driven, the RS five can launch to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, doing away with any suspicions of its mild-mannered pretenses. Keep the shifter in its widespread mode, and there’s enough torque on hand to supply robust acceleration. Tap it down for S mode, and energy becomes extra readily to be had. Use the Drive mode pick toggle for a more competitive putting, and the revs stay excessive with faster upshifts and simpler downshifts.

The RS 5 felt correctly agile at the frantic switchbacks of the jagged Andorran geographical region, thank you in the component to a new hydraulically linked surprise device inherited from the S8 model that’s a part of the Dynamic package (at the side of recreation exhaust and purple brake calipers). The system uses valve-adjustable shocks interconnected with hydraulic strains for extra body control, and the system can pay off by way of feeling poised and responsive. Though guidance is usually inoffensive, the dynamic guidance option does supply a few synthetic feeling comments throughout positive mid-corner maneuvers. Our tester was ready with the Dynamic Plus bundle, which provides ceramic front brakes with massive 15.7-inch rotors, a tire temperature and stress display, a carbon engine cover, and a top pace limiter that lifts from one hundred fifty-five mph to 174 mph. The brakes, which can be larger than the R8’s, supply easy stops from breathtaking speeds.

In the case of the 2018 Audi RS 5, does development equate to excitement? We can’t assist but recognize the idea of a lighter, nimbler, and extensively faster automobile that propels its device and instrumentation firmly into the 21st century. Does it sacrifice the (semi) analog joy of an evidently aspirated V-eight inside the process? Most clearly, sure. But the tradeoffs, at the least while finished with an eager eye in the direction of power and managing as they had been with the RS 5, pass a protracted way toward giving drivers something to stay up for inside the brave new turbocharged international.

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Social media fan. Unapologetic food specialist. Introvert. Music enthusiast. Freelance bacon advocate. Devoted zombie scholar. Alcohol trailblazer. Organizer. Spent 2001-2004 merchandising ice cream in Mexico. My current pet project is getting to know walnuts for fun and profit. At the moment I'm writing about squirt guns in Salisbury, MD. Spent childhood donating toy planes in Suffolk, NY. Gifted in managing jack-in-the-boxes in Miami, FL. Spent high school summers supervising the production of foreign currency in Libya.
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