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Test Drive: 2013 Audi RS 5
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Review by Justin Pritchard, photos by Justin Pritchard and Jonathan Yarkony

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2013 Audi RS 5

December 21, 2012: Judgment Day.

According to Facebook, the world was about to end in a fiery apocalypse. This meant your writer would shortly arrive in hell at 8,500 rpm with a smile on his face – probably sideways.

For the last week of mankind’s existence, I was charged with the task of reviewing one red 2013 Audi RS 5. The highest-performing machine in the A4/A5 model range, RS 5 is powered by the same high-strung V8 as the Audi R8 supercar. It makes 450 horsepower here, spins eagerly to a screaming 8,500 rpm, and makes noises that’ll have drivers wishing they had more ears.

The RS 5 also has a seven-speed transmission that shifts in a blink – making the meaty exhaust note change pitch faster than Nicki Minaj’s auto-tune machine. With enough practice, you can play a song from the RS 5’s tailpipes for your fellow motorists. Thanks to Quattro AWD included as standard, you can enjoy all of those horsepower and gears and sound effects all year round.

Northern Exposure: 2013 Audi RS 5 Winter Test winter driving car test drives luxury cars audi
2013 Audi RS 5. Click image to enlarge

It was the last day of the Mayan calendar, and I didn’t even care. Me and the RS 5 would go out with a bang. It’s like a supercar wearing touring car clothes, or an R8 with a back seat, or a year-round alternative to the two-wheel-drive-only BMW M3 with which it competes. However you view this thing, it’s loaded with features and specifications that ignite that spark in the brains of young gear-heads, and gets seasoned car-buffs salivating.

It’s a track-tuned weapon, the RS 5. Hell, the tester was even fitted with six grand worth of optional carbon ceramic in the front brakes, ensuring it stopped consistently from the very high speeds it was developed for. Even if it’s fairly big and heavy and laden with airbags and cupholders and stereo equipment, it virtually stands alone in offering this level of performance and all-climate readiness in a single package.

Northern Exposure: 2013 Audi RS 5 Winter Test winter driving car test drives luxury cars audi
Northern Exposure: 2013 Audi RS 5 Winter Test winter driving car test drives luxury cars audi
2013 Audi RS 5. Click image to enlarge

And not that one would be paying a speeding ticket on apocalypse day, but from a mere glance, the RS 5 is discreet enough to slip past local radar cops unnoticed, as long as one wasn’t belting screamer V8 noises out of the watermelon-sized exhausts. Visual cues to this car’s performance are present, though tastefully understated. It’s all sexy and lean and scandalous – like the sheet-metal equivalent of Anna Kournikova in a tight red dress.

Late afternoon. No zombies or earthquakes had yet presented themselves, although inch after powdery inch of fluffy snow had. I’d taken apocalypse day off of work, and apparently (and delightfully) it looked like the snow-plow drivers did, too. Accordingly, I spent the afternoon exploring the RS5’s highway capabilities in deep snow.

Point and shoot performance comes thanks to Quattro’s extraction of maximum traction from any surface. No issues getting off the line or around corners under power, even with the front lip plowing the white stuff. You never feel, for a moment, as if the system is spinning its wheels needlessly.

Turn the traction control off, and you can get around in as sideways, snow-flinging a manner as you like. Lots of power is sent to the rear axle, which drivers can even slip into a ‘Dynamic’ mode via the Audi Drive Select system. Predictable slides, spins and drifts in deep snow are then just a throttle-poke or two away.




About Justin Pritchard

Justin Pritchard is a full-time auto writer, consultant, broadcaster and AJAC member based in Sudbury. When not writing about the latest new models and industry trends, you'll probably find him fixing his Dodge Viper.