The Audi RS bloodline has always exuded the kind of uncompromising performance that makes any car bearing that two-letter insignia a petrol-head’s dream. Top of the A5 family tree, the RS 5 Coupé takes the standard model and transforms it from a car that you drive into a true drivers’ car. New for 2017, the latest generation of Audi’s high-octane speedster is trimmer and swifter than ever before. The question is, are you up to the task of taming one of the hottest coupés in town?
It’s impossible to fully take stock of any German performance car – saloon, coupé or otherwise – without allowing yourself the odd inquisitive glance over the hedge to see what the neighbours are up too. As such, no Audi RS 5 appraisal worth its salt could possibly pass without reference to the words ‘BMW M4’. Together with the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupé, the interminable battle for supremacy between these most bitter of rivals has been raging since what seems like the beginning of time. It’s a race to the top in which the glass ceiling has long since been smashed to smithereens; and that’s precisely what keeps petrol-heads the world over coming back for the next instalment.
Like that addictive TV series you just can’t get enough off, the all-new Audi RS 5 takes a starring role in the latest adrenaline-filled episode by showing off its buff-new figure. Prominent air intakes, gaping oval exhaust tailpipes, and widened wheel arches lend the 2017 RS 5 Coupé instant star appeal, whilst an exclusive honeycomb design replaces the standard A5 single frame front grille. If desired, the Coupé’s LED headlamps can be upgraded to a Matrix LED cluster, and for those to whom size really matters, simply swap the standard-issue 19-inch wheels with an exclusive set 20-inch alloys. What’s more, you can personalise your Coupé with various RS sport packages and design bundles that throw in everything from a full carbon roof to a rear diffuser insert.
Looks apart, the true front line of the three-way Teutonic power struggle lies in the engine room. On that count, the new RS 5 is armed to the teeth. Equipped with Audi’s new twin-turbo 2.9 litre V6, the latest gen RS 5 Coupé rams home a mighty 444bhp and 442.5 lb-ft of torque, that’s a good 125 lb-ft more force through the wheels than the previous naturally aspirated RS 5. Although it cedes in the region of 10bhp to its eternal nemesis, the Coupé’s 0 to 62mph sprint time of 3.9 seconds and top speed of 174mph places it on a collision course with the more costly BMW 4 Series CS. For this, the 2017 edition owes a substantial debt to a weight saving of 60kg versus the outgoing car, as well as the addition of an upgraded rapid-shifting eight-speed tiptronic sports transmission.
Handling remains pitch-perfect thanks to the renowned quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, which now employs a sports differential to allocate torque optimally between the rear wheels. On top of the reworked front and rear RS-specific suspension, Audi Sport is also offering Dynamic Ride Control, ceramic brakes and specially tuned RS-steering as part of the options list.
Inside, the RS 5 Coupé’s leather-upholstered sport seats will keep you firmly pinned down when the gs start mounting. Meanwhile, the multifunction sport steering wheel and the gearstick both bear the RS moniker. On top of all the familiar toys from the top spec A5 Coupé, including hill hold assist and blindspot monitoring, the UK-bound RS 5 also features a customisable display with telemetry on tyre pressure, torque and g-forces. Additionally, the RS 5’s smartphone-compactable touchscreen interface now includes LTE internet connectivity as part of the Audi connect package. A further 30 driver assist systems are available as options, plus an integrated head-up display.
Pitched at a comparatively competitive £62,900 OTR here in the UK, you’ll get your own chance to judge whether Audi’s new generation thoroughbred Coupé lives up to its billing when it touches down on these shores later this summer.