2013 Audi RS 5
2013 Audi RS 5. Click image to enlarge

DBDR: 2012 Cadillac CTS-V coupe
Test Drive: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Manufacturer’s web site
Audi Canada

(Epic) review and (loads of) photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Photo Gallery:
2013 Audi RS5

We automotive journalists are a spoiled lot.

Here we have the 2013 Audi RS 5, a gorgeous, powerful, sumptuous (yes, I said sumptuous about a car) coupe, and I keep coming back to the fact that it is too subtle for its own good. Refinement, I understand, but Audi has layered the iron fist of the RS 5 in perhaps too many layers of velvet…. And perhaps I am having trouble forgiving Audi for sending us the RS 5 Coupe rather than the RS 4 Avant—yeah, I know I’m not in the market for one of these cars, and the market here in North America wants sporty coupes and not sporty wagons, but how awesome is the RS 4?

By all accounts, I should be well into gushing about its sophisticated yet glowering look, or the wonderful materials throughout the cabin, and a truly spectacular V8 engine paired with one of the best gearboxes in the business, the S Tronic dual-clutch transmission. Okay, I guess that qualifies as gushing, but it all comes together in a surprisingly subdued and well-mannered package. Wait a minute, maybe that’s the point.

2013 Audi RS 5
2013 Audi RS 5. Click image to enlarge

Take this car out for a highway drive as I did, and you soon forget that you are in the penultimate Audi sports car (some might make a case for the TT RS, which is also a fair choice as second fiddle to the R8). The ride is so smooth in Comfort mode, it just purrs along quietly eating up the miles and you have to keep a conscious eye on the speedo because the speed climbs with almost no difference in feel up to 150 km/h—it scared the heck out of me when I saw what speed I reached and dialed it back right quick. Bred for the Autobahn? I don’t doubt it. I can well imagine clipping along at 180, 220, 240 or up to its electronically limited 280—and stopping at every gas station along the way. The RS 5 is officially rated at 13.7 L/100 km city and 9.2 L/100 km highway. I made a conscious decision to enjoy myself and not to look at my final consumption. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty.

Unfortunately, our Canadian speed limits meant I set the cruise control for a more reasonable 120-ish km/h to curb my heavy right foot, and instead reveled in wasting as much gas as possible from every stoplight, on onramps, or in corner. In those situations, scroll through the Drive Select menu that controls the vehicle’s transmission shift characteristics and engine response. Use Auto if you trust the car’s brain to adjust on the fly, keep it in Dynamic, which has everything permanently on high alert, or set up Individual, in which you can tailor specific functions to suit your tastes (i.e. sharp steering and throttle response, but smoother, more relaxed transmission).

2013 Audi RS 5
2013 Audi RS 5. Click image to enlarge

Included with the RS 5 Quattro drivetrain is a sport differential that actively redistributes power to compensate for differences in wheel rotation when cornering (toque vectoring). Audi claims “You can feel the difference at every turn,” but really, what you don’t feel is excessive understeer plowing into corners as the big V8 seeks to keep going straight when you want the car to go right.

The Pirelli PZero 275/30ZR20 tires may have had something to do with that grip, too. They were mounted on the optional Titanium rims, a five-arm rotor design with dark powder-coated inner arms and polished to a satin effect around the outer rim with little waves cresting into each arm. I probably took 18 pictures of those wheels alone. They are subtle, simple, modern, yet aggressive and intriguing. When it comes to rims, I have to give Audi the nod—they always kill it, although Mercedes-Benz’ AMG division makes some that are more classically appealing.

The Titanium rims come at a cost, though—$2,000 for the Titanium Package to be exact, but it also nets you the “Black Optics Package” (black chrome exterior trim), body-coloured exterior mirrors, carbon sigma design package for engine, and those rims. When set against this Misano Red Pearl (another $750 option), it’s hard to imagine the exterior with any chrome—it just looks perfect in its understated menacing combination, though my favourite look for Audis is always white with the dark Titanium trim giving it a Star Wars stormtrooper effect. There is also an aluminum optics package that dresses the front lip spoiler and rear diffuser in matte aluminum trim

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