New for 2015
The 2015 Audi RS 5 gets a few option and feature changes, adding a new 20-inch wheel design, carbon fiber engine cover, red-painted brake calipers, and two new exterior color options: Mythos Black metallic and Sepang Blue pearl. Also introduced is a 75-unit special edition called the Audi RS 5 Coupe Sport Edition, which is available in Daytona Gray Pearl or Nardo Gray (additional colors can be specified, though), 20-inch alloy wheels, black/Crimson red Nappa leather seats, red contrast stitching on shifter and steering wheel, and RS logos embossed throughout the cabin.
The Audi RS 5 is the highest-performance iteration of the handsome A5 coupe and convertible, and like the RS 7 (the only other RS in the U.S.-market Audi lineup), it competes with the most capable offerings from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The 2015 Audi RS 5 is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 that sports an 8,500-rpm redline, 450 hp, and 317 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and the quattro all-wheel-drive system; the fastest A5 garners an EPA-rating of 16/22-23 mpg city/highway. At speeds up to 31 mph the Cabriolet can retract or deploy the top in 17 seconds, and only reduces cargo capacity from the coupe’s 12.4 cubic feet to 10.2 cubic feet.
Like the S5 below it, the RS 5 doesn’t eschew luxury entirely in the pursuit of performance, with available features such as three-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic tilting sunroof, Nappa leather seats and armrests, heated front seats, a 505-watt 14 speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, HID headlights, LED taillights and turn signals, parking system with rearview camera, blind spot warning, and adaptive cruise control.
The 2015 Audi RS 5 and RS 5 Cabriolet have not yet been crash tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS.
What We Think
The 2015 Audi RS 5 is the most extreme of the A5 line, taking the dynamic capabilities of the S5 and turning the volume up with a sonorous 4.2-liter V-8 that we called “a model of linear, free-revving performance.” In that same Driven review of a 2013 Audi RS 5 Coupe we noted, “Even with the $1000 sport exhaust, the RS5 emits a subdued thrum too smooth to call a rumble and too quiet to call a roar. More volume and more bark would give it some attitude, although the civility of the soundtrack highlights just how polished the powertrain is.” We likened the S tronic gearbox to Porsche’s excellent PDK for speed, but it was far less violent than the PDK. We noted that it “packs flawless logic in normal, sport, and manual modes; the last will hold a gear against redline.”
We also suggested, “If going fast is a priority, you’ll want to skip the variable-ratio steering that comes packaged with blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The system is fairly innocuous on the street, but we were repeatedly caught by surprise on the racetrack when initial inputs returned more steering than anticipated.” In The $64,000 Question, a four-way comparison, a 2013 RS 5 finished in third place, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG but behind the BMW M3 (the last-gen model with a V-8), and the Porsche Boxster S. The Audi RS 5 turned faster lap times than any of the other cars present, but we faulted it for not feeling excellent while doing it. Because of the ultra-smooth transmission and AWD, the Audi lacked the engagement of the rear-drive competition.
“Attractive, comfortable, and wickedly fast, the RS5 is lovable for everything it does on the road, but we don’t lust after it because of what it does on the track,” we wrote in a review.
- Better on the road than the track: where most people actually drive
- Smooth seven-speed automatic
- Linear throttle response from the naturally aspirated V-8
You Won’t Like
- Avoid the variable-ratio steering
- Not as exciting as the rear-drive V-8 competition
- Newcomer ATS-V Coupe bring more power for far less money
- BMW M4
- Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
- Cadillac ATS-V Coupe