The world’s shifting in the direction of turbochargers and Audi’s not proof against the change, and because of this, we’ve got this new Audi-built 2.9-liter V6 twin-turbo engine. It’s on the coronary heart of the 2018 Audi Sport RS 5 Coupe, described by Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH., as “the gran turismo among the many RS fashions from Audi Sport.” Which means “elegant aesthetics with excessive on a regular basis usability,” one thing I acquired to check out in full on the roads of Andorra.
Usually I wouldn’t write up a evaluate of a primary drive automobile, however this RS 5 Coupe drive was no typical program. The problem began with selecting a automobile, although that proved to be a no brainer on condition that the brand new halo colour is Sonoma Inexperienced Metallic. In contrast to the grey with black optics bundle, or pink with aluminum exterior trim, the inexperienced and black optics took a while to develop on me.
It’s a shade of inexperienced a lot darker than the brighter hue that helped distinguish the brand new RS Three that we drove a couple of months again in Oman. That being mentioned, a couple of hours out and in of the automobile driving in the direction of Andorra, it grew on me. Would I purchase the RS 5 Coupe on this colour? I can’t fairly say. For that matter, would I purchase the RS Three within the vibrant inexperienced? I’m undecided about that both. Whereas they’re each distinctive for every automobile, I’m undecided how properly they’ll age over time. The white was a fantastic trying colour choice whereas the blue felt muted in a method that hid a lot of the brand new character strains. That leaves grey, and whereas it would appear to be a too-safe alternative in actuality it appears completely beautiful. Pair it with the US-only black optics exterior trim choice and also you’ve acquired a automobile that’s going to age exceedingly gracefully within the years forward.
The RS 5 embodies Audi’s new design language, spearheaded by Chief Audi designer, Marc Lichte. Apart from the roof, hood, and trunk lid, the RS 5 Coupe doesn’t share some other physique parts with the common A5 and S5 automobiles. The fenders are Zero.6-inches wider on either side, with bigger air ducts and a shallower and wider honeycomb-insert grille. These design cues are all impressed by the Audi 90 IMSA GTO, although bolder “quattro” badging, the delicate boot deck-lid spoiler, and two signature oval tailpipes are very a lot fashionable Audi.
So, too, are the underpinnings. The 2018 RS 5 Coupe is constructed on the MLB EVO B9 platform, additionally discovered on the core of different Audi fashions together with the Q7, A4, Q5, the A5 household, and even the brand new A8. Weight financial savings embrace 68 kilos from the brand new engine – codenamed EA389 – which is considerably lighter than the previous V8, and 33 kilos from the bodywork; in complete, it’s 132 lbs lower than the outgoing mannequin. The trim I drove was fitted with a carbon fiber roof, too, contributing a further 6.6 lbs lower, however sadly that received’t make it stateside, probably as a result of it doesn’t play good with the moonroof Audi thinks American patrons demand.
Neglect the carbon fiber, although, as a result of this new engine is all about horsepower and torque: 450 HP and 600 NM (453 lb-ft.) respectively, with a large peak torque vary working 1,900 to 5000 RPM, and a 6,500 RPM redline. Followers of the last-generation V8 could miss that engine’s a lot greater eight,500 RPM limiter, thoughts. Nonetheless, there was by no means a time after I felt like I wanted extra grunt, whatever the gear I used to be in. Audi claims a Three.9-second time for Zero-62 mph, and whereas my alternative to check this out wasn’t scientific, the RS 5 Coupe actually felt greater than able to that.
Tick the RS Dynamic Package deal, in the meantime, and also you get a rise in a prime pace to 174 mph, together with dynamic steering, quattro with sport differential, RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Trip Management (DRC), and Audi Matrix LED headlights. Frankly, for someplace within the ballpart of $3k I’d say it’s a must have for any RS 5 Coupe purchaser. Much less important, however no much less fascinating for all that, is the $6k Dynamic Plus Package deal which provides an enormous pair of 15.7-inch carbon ceramic brakes up entrance, a carbon-fiber engine cowl, and tire temperature and stress show.
As Audi’s vary expands, it may be arduous to maintain observe of how the distinction automobiles evaluate. At first look, as an illustration, it appears a bit unusual that the S5 has a barely bigger, Three.Zero-liter engine. Whereas there’s Zero.1-liters much less displacement within the RS 5 Coupe, it does acquire an entire further turbo within the course of. That, Stephan Reil, Head of Technical Growth for Audi Sport, says was performed for a variety of causes a lot of which might solely attraction to hardcore engineers, but it surely mainly comes right down to burning a greater combination of air and injected gasoline within the combustion chambers. “The heads stay the identical, the roof of the compressor is similar,” Reil explains, “however the piston and piston geometry working along side the lowered bore ends in a greater burning state of affairs.”
Most turbocharger increase is Zero.95, and because of this the brand new engine is on par with the outgoing naturally aspirated four.2-liter V8. It solely managed its 450 HP peak between 5,700 and 6,700 RPM, in spite of everything. Admittedly, there’s extra misplaced alongside the best way than simply two cylinders: there’s additionally the distinctive noise of a V8. As an alternative, because it did with the TT RS, RS Three, and A5, Audi added a sound actuator on the base of the windshield. Downshifts get the snap and crackle you’d hope for, whereas the pop of the exhaust nonetheless comes by means of the tailpipes, not by means of the audio system. Put bluntly, the magic behind what Audi has performed to construct this emotional connection to the brand new engine is nothing in need of incredible.
It’s additionally allowed for extra tonal tuning. “It’s not the identical as we’ve got it within the A-segment with the 5-cylinder, it’s a bit louder,” Benjamin Holle, of Audi Sport RS 5 Advertising informed me, “however it is a B-segment automobile, geared extra towards adults.” To the informal listener, I think most received’t discover the missing cylinders in comparison with the V8; it’s solely the delicate vibrations that actually give issues away. “Ninety-9 p.c of what you hear comes from the engine and the exhaust,” Holle factors out. “What we’ve got for low rev sections, whenever you’re not driving too quick, there’s a sound actuator positioned sitting proper in entrance of the windscreen to get some vibration to get into the windscreen for low rev pace to create a sportiness impression for the inside.”
It’s arduous to consider Audi and never have Audi quattro all-wheel drive come to thoughts. Within the case of the RS 5 Coupe, which means as much as 60-percent of the torque to the rear wheels in regular driving, however as a lot as 85-percent shifted to the entrance ought to highway circumstances demand it. The rear wheels are additionally managed by the rear sport differential, which actively varies how a lot torque every will get: that maximizes traction, whereas the wheels can individually brake to enhance cornering. The latter proved solely noticeable in motion slicing down the facet of the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain.
The brand new engine is mated with a ZF eight-speed computerized transmission, including an additional gear in comparison with the seven-speed dual-clutch computerized from the outgoing automobile. Now, it’s a enjoyable gearbox to shift your self, however no much less efficient whenever you let the transmission do its factor, leaving you to give attention to the highway forward. For a great portion of the drive, Auto mode was greater than sufficient for on a regular basis driving. In comparison with the common S5 there’s a Zero.Three-inch drop in journey peak, whereas the three-stage adjustable metal springs and shocks are managed by Audi’s ΩDynamic Trip Management system.
One factor I seen in Dynamic mode is, at speeds beneath round 60 mph, there’s a good quantity of vertical movement, the RS 5 Coupe driving a bit like a sine wave. Switching to Particular person mode, and setting every part to Dynamic bar the steering – which I left in Automated or Consolation – proved to be a fast workaround.
In any other case, although, the driving dynamics of the brand new RS 5 proved greater than rewarding. Clean throttle response paired with neatly weighted steering assist make this second-gen RS 5 Coupe among the finest gran touring two-doors cash can purchase. It’s on the heavy facet, thoughts, so I didn’t count on to have the ability to throw it round such as you would, say, a TT RS or the RS Three. To not say it could possibly’t be nimble, however the mixture of tight switchbacks, straight line acceleration, and broad and quick sweeping turns demonstrated that there’s little that may unsettle the automobile, the steering, or the brand new engine.
Using on the 20-inch tires which will likely be normal for the US market, it’s arduous to not hear the highway noise; that simply comes with the territory on wheels that large. Nonetheless, on condition that the highway circumstances decidedly weren’t the most effective in Andorra, the truth that so little highway or wind noise made it by means of into the cabin was spectacular.
As for that cabin, in case you go for Sonoma Inexperienced Metallic paint it comes with black Nappa leather-based with matching stitching colour in a honeycomb sample. They’re mixed with open-weave carbon fiber, whereas Audi will get the standard kudos for the authenticity of its supplies in any respect the important thing contact factors. Living proof are the local weather management buttons: their brushed aluminum feels elegant, and the touch-sensitive levers add an entire new dimension of sophistication that delights in each day use.
The motive force will get Audi’s Digital Cockpit, the all-digital instrumentation binnacle first launched within the TT a couple of years again and, since then, accessible as an choice on different Audi choices. On the 2018 RS 5 Coupe, within the US, it’ll be standard-fit, and get a couple of RS-specific options such because the rev/shift indicator. When in handbook shift mode, because the engine comes near the restrict, the middle tach flashes up yellow and pink bars suggesting that you need to shift up instantly. Different RS-exclusive knowledge features a G-meter, tire temperatures, and horsepower and torque particulars.
In one other first for the RS product line, there’s now a RS-specific mode for the head-up show (HUD). It supplies primary data comparable to pace, engine oil temperature, and driving instructions, however throws within the shift indicator lights too. It’s a pleasant – and helpful – contact that differentiates the automobile from different fashions within the household. Talking of the household, the kiddos driving within the again get virtually an inch extra legroom because of the Zero.6-inch improve in wheelbase, whereas extra compact sports activities seats additionally save area in comparison with the first-gen RS 5.
All-in-all, Audi’s bringing its A-game, and taking up the likes of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe. Personally, I’d class the AMG as a reasonably over-the-top muscle automobile, whereas the 2018 RS 5 Coupe is extra refined each in the way it appears and the way it drives. It’s a real gran tourismo, designed and engineered for lengthy highway journeys, whereas nonetheless endowed with every part you’d must drive briskly ought to the chance come up. As for evaluating the RS 5 with BMW’s M4, whereas some could be tempted to cross-shop, I’d take into account each automobiles to be completely different beasts altogether. When you’re out there for a glossy, succesful long-distance cruiser with a sporty soul, hold a watch out for the RS 5 Coupe to reach stateside within the first quarter of 2018. Pricing is but to be confirmed for the US, however count on issues to kick off from round $70okay.