Car Reviews Motoring

Audi RS 5 Sportback Review

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The twin-turbo V6 with its 450PS output and 600 Nm of torque provides spine-tingling performance that is reflected in sub-four-second 0-62mph sprint capability.

The relatively recent enhancements to the exterior of the RS 5 Sportback are evident at first glance. At the front, the Singleframe is wider and flatter in line with its big brothers, the RS 6 and RS 7, and implied air vents above the grille provide a visual link with the classic Audi Sport quattro from 1984.

Low Profile

Horizontal lines and dark colours characterise the interior of the RS 5. RS sport seats finished in fine Nappa leather are fitted as standard to all UK versions, as is the virtual cockpit plus with 12.3-inch display. It enables you to toggle between multiple screens, one of which is RS-specific.

When using the RS mode steering wheel button to select one of the two individual RS modes, the RS-specific performance design opens up and displays the maximum g-acceleration values, for example. The head-up display which is a standard feature of Vorsprung versions also offers exclusive RS graphics.

The virtual cockpit plus works with an operating concept based around a 10.1-inch MMI touch display with acoustic feedback. This is inclined towards you and incorporates the top tier MMI navigation plus module. In addition to its primary infotainment functions the large, free-standing display provides you with information on things like engine temperature, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, as well as tyre temperatures.


The 2.9 TFSI twin-turbo V6, the heart of the RS 5 delivers 450PS and a formidable 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque from a speed of 1,900 rpm. The Sportback accelerates from zero to 62mph in 3.9 seconds and can reach an electronically limited top speed of 155mph – in Vorsprung versions this is increased to 174mph.

A quick-shifting eight-speed tiptronic controllable via larger aluminium shift paddles directs the power of the engine to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The quattro drivetrain provides the car with remarkable traction and stability, regardless of the weather, and a standard sport differential on the rear axle maximises its potential by distributing torque actively between the rear wheels.


RS 5 and RS 5 Carbon Black models are fitted as standard with a taut RS sport suspension. The RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) hydraulic roll and pitch stabilisation is standard for the Vorsprung versions and optionally available for all others. It uses steel springs and three-stage adjustable dampers that are connected to one another via diagonal oil lines and a central valve. When cornering at speed, the valves regulate the oil flow in the damper of the spring-deflected front wheel at the outside of the bend. They reinforce the support and reduce pitching and rolling, thereby improving the vehicle’s handling characteristics.


In addition to the familiar comfort, auto, and dynamic modes, the Audi drive select dynamic handling system (standard) also offers the two new modes, RS1 and RS2. Once you have set the two modes to suit your personal preferences and stored them, they can be enabled directly via the “RS MODE” button on the steering wheel without having to operate the MMI touch response again. The system accesses important technical elements like the engine, transmission, damping, steering, dynamic steering, sport differential, and engine sound.

In standard form the revised RS 5 is equipped with 19-inch wheels, with 20-inch rims reserved for the Carbon Black and Vorsprung versions. Appropriately, the Carbon Black wheel is painted completely in gloss black. As an upgrade to the powerful standard brake system, which is available with the option of red calipers, carbon fibre ceramic brake discs can be specified for the front axle.


What’s more, flexibility is at the heart of the RS 5 Sportback, with five-door access to five-seat accommodation for the ultimate expression of family-friendly dynamism. A square-shaped luggage bay profile with a useful width of one metre also allows passengers to make the most of the 480 litre luggage capacity, while folding down the rear seats with their 40:20:40 split ratio increases that to 1,300 litres.

Fast Facts – Audi RS 5 Sportback 2.9 TFSI quattro 450PS tiptronic as tested:

  • Max speed: 155 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 3.9 secs
  • Combined mpg: 29.7
  • Engine layout: 2894cc six-cylinder turbo petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 450
  • CO2: 215 g/km           
  • Price: £67,505

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