The Audi RS5 is a nice-looking way into a premium performance car. (Coupe variant pictured)
If a useable performance vehicle comes better looking than the Audi RS5, we're yet to see it. Available as a sleek Coupe or Sportback, the fire-breathing Audi has just been updated for 2021, so we put it to the test.
Audi's A5 Coupe and Sportback have always been good looking cars. Yes, yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but seriously, just look at one and tell me it's not handsome.
Happily, the just-updated RS5 doesn't just build on the looks of its more sedate sibling, but on the performance, too, adding near-supercar speed to those supermodel looks.
Sounds like a pretty good match, right? Let's find out, shall we?
Audi RS5 2021: 2.9 Tfsi Quattro
Premium Unleaded Petrol
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 8/10
It's available as a Coupe or a Sportback, but either way, the RS5 commands a $150,900 asking price. And that's not chump change, but Audi's performance model does come with a lot of bang for those bucks.
We'll get to the engine and safety stuff in a moment, but in terms of fruit, you'll find 20-inch alloys outside, as well sportier RS body styling, sport brakes, Matrix LED headlights, keyless entry and push-button start and heated mirrors, a sunroof and privacy glass. Inside, there's Nappa leather seats (heated in the front), illuminated door sills, stainless steel pedals and ambient interior lighting.
The RS5 wears 20-inch alloy wheels. (Sportback variant pictured)
Is there anything interesting about its design? 9/10
I defy anyone to describe the RS5, and especially the Coupe, as anything but stunning. Seriously, the near perfect proportions and swept-back styling make it look fast even when it's parked.
Up front, there's a new-look black-mesh grille that's been given a 3D effect, like it juts out over the road in front it, while the thing headlights have been carved back into the body work like they're been windswept under hard acceleration.
The RS5 Coupe is stunning. (Coupe variant pictured)
The RS5 looks fast even when it's parked. (Coupe variant pictured)
Up front, there's a new-look black-mesh grille that's been given a 3D effect. (Sportback variant pictured)
The 20-inch darkened alloys fill the arches nicely. (Sportback variant pictured)
The 20-inch darkened alloys fill the arches, too, with a sharp body crease that runs from the front headlight all the way back to the bulging shoulder lines above the rear tyres accentuating the curves.
Inside, the RS5 is a sea of black Nappa leather and sporty touches, and we particularly like the chunky, flat-bottomed steering wheel, which both looks - and feels - great.
Inside, the RS5 is a sea of black Nappa leather and sporty touches. (Coupe Variant pictured)
How practical is the space inside? 7/10
We only tested the Coupe, and I can tell you that the practicality perks on offer largely depend on where you're sitting.
Up front, you're spoiled for room in the two-door Coupe, with the two spacious seats separated by a sizeable centre console that's also home to two cupholders and a variety of cubbies, with extra bottle storage in each of the front doors.
The two spacious seats are separated by a sizeable centre console. (Coupe variant pictured)
The space in the back seat is tight. (Sportback variant pictured)
The back seat, though, is a little, or a lot, tighter, with come acrobatics required to even climb into it, given the Coupe only has two doors. The Sportback offers two more doors, which will surely make the process a little easier.
The Coupe measures 4723mm in length, 1866mm in width and 1372mm in height, and will deliver a decent 410 litres in luggage space in the boot. The Sportback measures in at 4783mm, 1866mm and 1399mm, and boosts your luggage space to 465 litres.
The Coupe has 410 litres of luggage space. (Coupe variant pictured)
Boot space in the Sportback is rated at 465 litres. (Sportback variant pictured)
Either vehicle has your tech needs sorted, with an abundance of USB and power outlets serving both front and backseat riders.
The RS5 Coupe will the same 9.4L/100km, but emit 209g/km of Co2.
What's it like to drive? 8/10
With our time behind the wheel limited to the RS5 Coupe, we can only really report on how the two-door feels on the road, but given the prodigious power on offer, it's unlikely the addition of two doors is going to make the Sportback any slower.
In short, the RS5 is thunderously fast, collecting speed with utter nonchalance thanks to this thick and endless-feeling supply of power unleashed whenever you plant your right foot.
The RS5 is thunderously fast, but has the ability to transform back into a relatively sedate urban cruiser. (Coupe variant pictured)
It makes even the most ham-fisted attempts at cornering feel fast as lightning, with the power flow able to make up for every slow entry and exit by simply piling on pace between bends.
But that's what you expect from an RS model, right? So perhaps more impressive is the RS5's ability to transform back into a relatively sedate urban cruiser when the red mist subsides. The suspension is firm, especially over rough road surfaces, and you do need to be a little careful with the accelerator to avoid that lurching feeling at every green light, but driven calmly, it doubles as a everyday car quite nicely.
It's unlikely the addition of two doors is going to make the Sportback any slower. (Sportback variant pictured)
Like in the RS4, we did find the gearbox felt a little quick to change at pace, shifting up or down at strange moments on the way into or out of corners, but you can reclaim control via the paddle shifters.
Warranty & Safety Rating
3 years / unlimited km
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 9/10
The safety story begins with six (Coupe) or eight (Sportback), and the usual suite of braking and traction aids, but then climbs into the tech-savvy stuff from there.
Services are due every 12 months or 15,000kms, and Audi allows you to pre-pay your service costs for the first five years, at a cost of $3,050.
Good looking, good to drive, and good to simply sit in, the Audi RS5 range ticks plenty of premium boxes. Whether you can live with the practicality pitfalls of the Coupe is up to you, but if you can't, might I suggest taking a wander over to our RS4 Avant review?
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