Audi has answered the wishes of drivers in the USA. The RS5 offers not only a convenient Sportback model of this popular design but one which relies on an engine also found in the Porsche Panamera 4S and European Audi RS4 Avant. Audi has made most of the tech features standard since that's what their American customers tend to order anyway. And the RS5 includes customizable power distribution and ride. Based on the popular A7-family, the Audi RS5 Sportback falls short of its coupe cousin introduced last year. It reaches 60 mph from a standstill in only 3.8 seconds, rather than 3.7. But for that buyers get a five-door configuration.
First, what difference is implied by the RS designation?
It means that the performance-minded folks at Audi Sport in Neckarsulm, Germany have put their hearts into this model. One change they've made from the S5, for instance, is to trim the engine displacement and make it a twin-turbo powerplant. "RS" derives from the German RennSport, conveniently "racing sport" in English, signifying a top Audi trim level and typically limited production vehicle.
What are the engine stats?
This popular engine, shared with the Porsche Panamera 4S and the European Audi RS4 Avant, represents a reduction from a single-turbo 3.0-liter engine on the S5 to 2.9 liters for the RS5, adjusting to accommodate the boost from the twin turbo that's been added. The gain in this transaction is a total of 444 horsepower, 443-lb-ft of torque at a nice low 1900 RPM. Putting that much power to the road in the RS5 has produced a number of other design challenges for Audi's Sport division.
What transmissions are available?
The RS5 comes with an eight-speed automatic which has a manual shift mode. It's a little slower in shifting because it's a single-clutch transmission, but the reason is that Audi's dual-clutch transmissions can't currently handle the RS5 engine's torque. There's one available for the Porsche implementation of this powerplant, but so far it's an exclusive for them.
What tech features does the 2019 Audi RS5 offer?
The Sport division put their touches to the interior and electronics for the full RS experience. For touring, buyers can add the RS Driver's Assistance package with the full range of technology from adaptive cruise control, lane assist and traffic sign recognition to a 360-degree camera and head-up display. Below 40 miles per hours, automated steering makes the car a driving partner for commuting or mountain wandering. Standard tech includes the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit, integrated navigation and internet connectivity, plus wireless smartphone charging. Sound system options are likely to be Bang & Olufsen, but reviewers seem to find the car's own sounds, enhanced by the Dynamic Package's sport exhaust, reason to turn down the radio.
What interior features will passengers and drivers enjoy in the RS5?
In the Audi RS5 Sportback, one key interior feature is roominess. Even though it has a sloping roof and rear hatch, there is room for five people. Seating for four of those has enough support to enjoy a fun ride and a center armrest in the back which pulls down for utility on family trips. In the front, S Sport seats provide comfort on the track or long trips. If there's no one in the rear, the seats fold down for plenty of hatch-accessible space. The instrument cluster is standard Audi, but the virtual cockpit adds RS-specific features.
What are the performance, ride and handling adjustment capabilities?
The sport suspension offers dynamic ride control, in which drivers can trade a bit of the excellence-in-cornering for passenger comfort. In performance, word has it; there are no trade-offs necessary for the RS5. The Quattro all-wheel-drive provides handling adjustments, allowing up to 85 percent of the power to be addressed rearward, with a sport differential evening the distribution of power to each side. The Dynamic Package not only allows adjustment of the ride but provides the Dynamic Steering option which provides variable assist and ratio choices.
What options should buyers consider on the 2019 Audi RS5?
The Dynamic Package, mentioned here, provides everything from comfort and steering adjustments to a nice resonant sport exhaust. There's also the RS Driver's Assistance Package, with pretty much all of the modern technology drivers look for, tuned for the RS-class owner.