RS 5 Sportback to prove that Australians aren’t necessarily hooked on SUVs for combining fast with practical.
Audi expects the new RS 5 Sportback to outdo its coupe sibling in Australia, despite the RS 5 nameplate being built on traditional coupe foundations.
Speaking with CarsGuide at the RS 5 Sportback’s Australian launch earlier this month, senior product planner Esther Choi confirmed that the brand expects the new five door, five-seat liftback version to make up 60 per cent of Australian RS 5 sales, with the two door, four seat coupe version set to become second fiddle for the nameplate.
This is despite the RS 5 badge being exclusively two door for its first generation between 2010-17, split between coupe and convertible versions.
Ms Choi explained that US demand was key to the development of a Sportback RS 5 this time around, with the regular A5 Sportback and sportier S5 version proving surprisingly popular in SUV-loving USA.
It’s also worth noting that the US doesn’t take the RS 4 Avant, not any A4-based wagons. Ms Choi was unable to nominate whether the new Sportback will rob the wagon-bodied RS 4 Avant of any Australian sales.
The RS 5 Sportback is the first high-performance, mid-size five-door model that isn’t an SUV to come from the big German brands, with BMW’s split of 3 Series sedan/4 Series coupe production with five-door liftback Gran Coupe across two different plants ruling out a hardcore M version of the latter.
In the Mercedes-AMG camp, there’s just no mid-size five-door body to base one on, so Audi has this opportunity to itself, for now at least.
Aside from retaining a sleek roofline and a pert rear end, the new RS 5 Sportback delivers most of the back seat and boot space of the RS 4 Avant, all for the same price and performance of the coupe.
The RS 5 Sportback carries a list price of $157,700, and claims to hit 100km/h in 3.9 seconds thanks to the same 331kW/600Nm twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 and Quatrtro all-wheel drivetrain as the RS 5 Coupe and RS 4 Avant.
Would you pick an RS 5 Sportback over the Coupe or RS 4? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.