What a Stunner
Audi RS5 (2018 )
BMW has the M4, Mercedes has the C63 AMG and Audi has the RS5. While it would be highly debatable as to who would lead the pack when it came to performance, if it were just the looks, the clear winner would be the Audi RS5. With its massive honeycomb mesh grille, sharp curves, wide wheel arches, 20-inch chrome alloys and the alluring daytime running headlights this two-door coupe looks stunning from almost every angle.
Inside, it’s a typical high-end Audi, there is a lot of leather, carbon-fibre, and metal that is overlayed with technology. The highlight is the Audi’s brilliant virtual cockpit system - a 12.3-inch digital driver display lets you access the navigation, connectivity options and other car functions with utmost ease. The diamond-stitched front seats offer side bolstering and standard massages, which provide much needed relief to your back. For those long drives to keep you company is the state of the art Bang & Olufsen audio system. The rear seats lack room and are best suited for kids on short trips.
A lot has changed over the previous gen RS5 that was introduced in 2013, and one of the most notable changes is under the hood. The rev-happy 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 has been replaced with a greener 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6. The new engine still produces 450hp of power, but the torque has been ramped up to 600Nm. It is paired with a 8-speed single clutch transmission that delivers torque to all the four wheels and takes the car from zero to 100kmph in just 3.9 seconds.
We decided to put the car to test on a winding freeway. Stepping on the accelerator, I was welcomed with a gush of power that delivered linear acceleration. While the fluidic gearbox shifted gears in a matter of seconds, the speedometer climbed at an even geometric rate to 120kmph and all this while I was still in the Comfort mode and at half throttle. What I thoroughly enjoyed was driving the RS5 on curves. Making the experience exhilarating was Audi’s Quattro system which intelligently distributes power between the front and rear wheels. This, along with the RS-tuned suspension, torque vectoring and limited-slip rear differential, lets you take on twists and turns with utmost poise and confidence. In fact, all this clever engineering makes you a better driver than you are. For a performance coupe, the car is extremely easy to drive in city traffic and feels like a luxury cruiser with a stiff suspension and a lot of power on the tap.
Needless to say, the 2018 Audi RS5 is a very impressive piece of machinery. It looks good and will turn heads wherever you go. As fast it is, the car is equally fun to drive. Dhiram Shah
Engine 2,894 cc, V8 petrol engine with direct fuel injection
Power 444 bhp @ 5,700 RPM
Torque 600 Nm @ 1,900 RPM
Price 01.37 crore (ex-showroom Mumbai)
A Sporty Heart
Groups of golfers making their way back to the clubhouse after wrapping up their rounds at the Qutub Golf Club stop to gawk at the Audi S5. Standing by itself, the evening light reflecting off its long sweeping lines as it hunkers down close to the cobblestoned driveway, the S5 looks even sleeker. “It looks like the perfect young retiree’s car,” says a gent after peering into the cockpit. Given the surfeit of gents who fit that description at the golf club, it’s no surprise that the S5 is an instant hit. Soon there’s a clamour to hear it fire, and the S5, with its raspy sputter doesn’t disappoint.
Visually, the S5 makes no bones about its sporty credentials: the lines on this car—whether it’s the sloping sportback rear, the curving indents on the bonnet, or most damningly, the quad exhausts—made it’s intentions clear as day. And yet, its claim to a dual personality does hold credence: creeping along in ‘efficiency’ mode in rush hour traffic, the S5 reins in its sporty tendencies and the snarl is replaced by a barely audible whisper. Even the gorgeous red Nappa leather seats—that look like they’ve been plucked from a thoroughbred luxury racing machine—have integrated massager functions to pamper the front row occupants when spirited driving is not the order of the day.
The heart of the matter, of course, is the three-litre turbocharged V6, that, under adequate persuasion, pelts this reasonably large sports sedan to a tonne in less than five seconds. For even more enthusiastic performance, and provided you can use the paddle shifters to push the eight-speed box, it ratchets up to the standard top whack of 250kmph in virtually no time.
The whole raison d’etre of the S5 is familiar, and one that Audi in particular has been working at refining with it’s S-variants—everyday functionality, family duties et al, whilst retaining supercar-like performance on call. The S5 comes very close to achieving this seemingly contrarian character, especially when it comes to calibrating a ride that is firm enough to take corners rapidly without losing its composure while not jarring the spines’ of the occupants.
The S5 is immediately reminiscent of the RS7 Performance—a 600 bhp beast that is, let’s face it, way too much powerful and honestly, bat-crazy for the average road-going driver. This one is saner, less flashy, and yet very much a driver’s car. It’s also less than half as expensive as the RS7, and significantly more frugal to use every day. It’s hard to put a finger on the S5; perhaps the most accurate description would be to peg it as an accessible sports car that’s perfectly capable of pretending to be a sedate family sedan. Hard to argue with that.
Engine 2995 cc; Turbocharged V6; Petrol
Power 350 bhp
Torque 500 Nm @ 4500 rpm
Price 072.41 lakh onward (ex-showroom, Delhi)