Thirty years after the original Audi quattro captivated the Geneva Auto Show, the new Audi RS5 Coupe is continuing the legend with a combination of high-revving V8 power, super-fast S tronic twin-clutch gear shifting and a new evolution of the world famous all-wheel-drive system featuring the latest differential technology. Following its debut at the Geneva Show, the extreme RS interpretation of the elegant A5 coupe is expected to be available for order in the spring and will reach its first European customers in October.
Developed by Audi’s subsidiary quattro GmbH, the RS5 is the latest in an illustrious lineage dating back over 15 years to the RS2 Avant. This RS can also trace its roots to the original or ‘Ur’ quattro launched in Geneva in 1980, but also to the critically acclaimed R8 sports car, which shares the same hand-built, high-revving 4.2-liter V8 FSI engine that spins to 8250pm, and delivers its 450PS (444hp) peak output at this high point. A torque maximum of 317 lb-ft is available between 4000 and 6000rpm, helping to power the 3800 lb RS5 to 62mph in 4.6 seconds and to an electronically governed 155mph top speed.
Fine-tuning of the dual-branch intake and exhaust system allows the engine to breathe freely; four adjustable camshafts and tumble flaps in the intake manifold facilitate mixture formation. This not only maximizes performance but also economy - up to 21.8mpg US is possible.
The engine and the entire drivetrain have been optimized to minimize friction, the oil pump operates on demand and an energy-recovery system conserves energy during coasting and braking.
Specially reinforced for its latest role, the remarkable seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission makes its RS debut in the RS5, and with its high gearing also helps to minimize fuel use. It consists of two clutches and two subsidiary transmissions. Both subsidiary transmissions are continuously active, but only one is powered at any time by the engine. Gears are alternately shifted by the two clutches - at lightning speed.
The seven-speed S tronic can operate in fully automatic mode - or the driver can shift via the innovative selector lever or shift paddles on the steering wheel.
By means of the standard Audi drive select, the driver can switch in automatic mode between three different options: auto, comfort, and dynamic. In the launch control mode, the seven-speed S tronic ensures flawless acceleration from a standstill - at full power and with minimal loss of traction.
Like all RS models, the RS5 applies its power to the road with quattro permanent all-wheel drive, but this latest generation has evolved further through a next generation center differential known as a crown-gear differential. The self-locking crown-gear center differential is compact and lightweight, and attains a high-efficiency ratio. Thanks to its package of plates, it can vary the distribution of torque between the front and rear axles. If necessary, up to 70 per cent can flow to the front or as much as 85 per cent to the rear. The 40:60 ratio of the standard rear-biased configuration ensures highly responsive handling.
This new differential operates in conjunction with electronic torque vectoring, which influences all four wheels. If one of the inside wheels in a turn becomes imbalanced while the vehicle is at its operational limits, then the system slightly decelerates the wheel to prevent spin. This results in exceptional traction on the one hand while generating a yaw moment, which aids cornering.
The rear axle also features an already much praised new Audi driver aid - the sport differential - which actively distributes torque between the rear wheels in order to further boost stability and grip at the vehicle’s limits of handling.
Dynamic Ride Control (DRC)
The latest generation version of the Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) system as used by the RS6 also contributes to the exceptional handling capabilities exhibited by the RS5. DRC connects shock absorbers on each side of the car diagonally to their counterparts by way of a central valve, which directs a flow of oil to provide additional damping force whenever a shock absorber is compressed, making for impressive gains in handling precision and stability. Via the Audi drive select system, the driver will be able to choose from three damper settings ¬ comfort, dynamic and sport - according to preference and conditions.
With its RS-specific spring, damper and anti-roll bar settings, the RS5 chassis sits 20mmlower than that of the Audi A5 on 19" alloy wheels fitted with 265/35 tires. These are executed in an exclusive 5-spoke design. 20" wheels with 275/30 tyres are available at extra cost.
The brake system employs powerful internally ventilated discs, which measure 365mm in diameter at the front axle. In order to maximize the dissipation of heat, the steel friction rings are perforated and connected by pins to the aluminum brake discs. The high-gloss black brake calipers bearing RS logos are made of aluminum, and the front units have eight pistons. Ceramic carbon-fiber brake discs measuring 380mm in diameter can also be specified as an optional extra. They are extremely lightweight, strong, and durable. The electronic stabilization program (ESP) incorporates a sport mode and can be switched off entirely.
The Audi drive select vehicle dynamics control system is a standard feature of the new RS5. It allows the driver to switch between three modes of operation - comfort, auto, and dynamic - to adjust the steering weighting, the shift points for the seven-speed S tronic, the sport differential, Dynamic Ride Control, the engine and the exhaust system. And if the car is equipped with the optional MMI navigation system, a fourth mode allows the driver to customize their own profile.
For maximum enjoyment of the engine, Audi drive select controls the exhaust system’s two throttle valves and the sound flaps; when they open, the rich sound becomes even more resonant. An optional Sport exhaust system offering an even more addictively bass-heavy V8 soundtrack is available at extra cost.
For even greater control over the steering, a dynamic steering option is also available at extra cost as a component of Audi drive select. The system adjusts the steering ratio to a vehicle’s speed - directly for maneuvering at low speeds and indirectly for traveling at motorway speeds. At the vehicle’s cornering limits, it automatically ensures smooth handling via minor corrective actions.
For the exterior, the single-frame grille bears a shiny charcoal-grey rhombus-pattern grid and is flanked by xenon plus headlights with LED strip daytime running lights, below which are oversized air inlets. The newly bumper tapers downward into a splitter.
The flared fenders with their crisp horizontal upper edges are reminiscent of the pioneering Audi quattro, and the side sills bear angular caps. The trim strips on the single-frame grille and near the side windows as well as the door mirror covers feature the distinctive matt aluminum RS look.
The tail end is dominated by two oval exhaust pipes integrated within the bumper. A large diffuser protrudes prominently upwards. The spoiler in the tailgate automatically extends at a speed of 75mph and retracts at 50mph.
The extensively clad underbody of the RS5 integrates air vents for the seven-speed S tronic and the front brakes. At motorway speeds, the aerodynamic characteristics of the RS 5 generate downforce to further enhance stability.
The subtle embellishments continue in the interior, which in classic RS fashion combines black Silk Nappa leather upholstery with carbon fiber and aluminum elements and additional features such as an oil temperature gauge and lap timer for circuit use. Electrically adjustable super sports seats with pronounced side sections and integrated head restraints are standard, and at extra cost these can be replaced by bucket seats with more prominent contours and folding backrests or ventilated and luxuriously upholstered climate-controlled comfort seats. Equipment will of course also befit the RS badge.
444hp, 317 lb ft 4.2-liter V8
0-62mph in 4.6sec
seven-speed twin-clutch transmission
Variable AWD with up to 85% going to the rear wheels
19" wheels with 265/35 tires
Optional 20" wheels with 275/30 tires
Optional Sport exhaust
Eight-piston front calipers and 365mm rotors
quattro-style fender flares
New front bumper and splitter
Electronic trunk spoiler
Optional bucket seats