The Audi RS range of cars—the initials are taken from the German RennSport, translated in English to ‘racing sport’—have technology and power comparable with high-performance sports cars, such as those made by Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini.
The Audi RS 5 Coupé is astonishingly quick. How quick? Quick enough that if you jumped off a tall building, you wouldn’t reach a speed of 50kph as fast as the RS 5 Coupé can do it on a horizontal stretch of road. It means that in the RS 5, for a split-second, you just might experience acceleration greater than gravity.
(The RS 5 Coupé goes from 0-50kph in 1.3 seconds; a free-falling object will touch a speed of 45.9kph in the same time.)
The Audi RS range of cars—the initials are taken from the German RennSport, translated in English to ‘racing sport’—have technology and power comparable with high-performance sports cars, such as those made by Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini. However, while most sports cars are two-seater, the RS 5 Coupé is a four-seater, but one that runs on steroids. Essentially, it retains the everyday comfort and practicality of a regular sedan—but one with two doors—and yet can give an average sports car tough competition. We drive it on a befitting place—the Buddh International Circuit, now the defunct Formula 1 track, near New Delhi.
It’s a coupé, and the first Audi Sport model to feature the new RS design philosophy—its design is inspired by the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO car. There are redesigned air inlets at the front and outlets at the rear, and the trademark Singleframe grille is wider and flatter than in the previous RS 5. Matrix LED headlights are standard, as are dynamic indicators. The company says its gross weight has been lowered by 60kg as compared to the predecessor model, and yet it is longer and wider.
While its predecessor had spartan interiors, the new RS 5 Coupé kind of invites you with its opulent and sporty cabin. The Audi Virtual Cockpit with the special RS screen—it has information on tyre pressure, torque and g-force, as well as a shift light which prompts the driver to upshift—underlines the vehicle’s character. The RS sport seats have a boldly contoured form, unlike the soft seats of ‘regular’ Audi cars.
It’s equipped with Bang & Olufsen sound system, with 19 speakers.
Under its hood sits the 2.9-litre TFSI bi-turbo V6 engine that produces 450bhp of power and 600Nm of torque, accelerating the car from 0-100kph in 3.9 seconds—0.6 seconds faster than its predecessor—before hitting the top speed of 250kph. The RS sports exhaust is standard, and it produces a distinctive, throaty growl. The claimed fuel consumption is 10.8kpl (driving at speeds above 200kph, I got less than 5kpl).
The power transmission is almost magical. Its eight-speed tiptronic gearbox is tuned for dynamic driving, and acceleration is as linear as it can get. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is standard.
Driver assistance and safety features include Park Assist (rear-view camera with sensors), six airbags, and ABS, EBD, EDL, ASR, ESC and so on—these are not just ‘acronyms’, but important technologies that help keep the car on the road.
It’s just not possible to describe what driving the RS 5 feels like—frightening, hair-raising, spine-tingling. This car is a beast that must only be unchained by a capable driver. And the best way of becoming ‘capable’ enough is to gradually graduate from regular sedans—drive the A4, then the A6, then maybe the S5, and onwards to RS 5. Thankfully, you don’t need to take that longish route. Audi India has a property called the Audi Sportscar Experience (ASE), organised at regular intervals in different cities. The ASE lets you experience not only Audi sports cars on a race track, but the instructors also teach you how to handle, and sensibly drive, powerful cars on the road, such as the RS 5 Coupé and even the R8 Coupé V10 Plus.
For Rs 1.1 crore, ex-showroom, the RS 5 Coupé is, no doubt, quite expensive. How expensive? Expensive enough that with the same kind of money you can buy the bigger and more luxurious Audi A6 and still left with enough pocket change to take a five-star holiday trip around the world.
Looked at from another angle, the RS 5 Coupé is a value proposition. It costs lesser than, say, a high-end sports car, and is not only almost as exciting to drive and looks almost as exclusive, but also has the everyday comfort and practicality associated with a regular sedan. It’s a luxury car with the performance of a sports car.