Vehicle Type: Performance Coupe
History/Description: All hail the almighty snorting German rocket-coupe! With two doors, four seats, all-wheel drive, seven paddle-shifted gears and a furious little V8 spinning to 8,000-plus revs with a smile on its face, the Audi RS5 is a majestic performance coupe that’s ready for thrills, all year round.
This A5 based rocket is anything but docile, and includes torque-vectoring Quattro AWD, available ceramic brakes, a speed-deployable rear spoiler, a sports differential, and the Audi Drive Select system, which lets its operator deploy various RS5 systems in modes ranging from mild to wild.
Feature content includes xenon lighting with headlight washers, a performance Bang & Olufsen audio system, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth, full multimedia connectivity and plenty more. Even if it’s fairly big and heavy and laden with airbags and cupholders and stereo equipment, the RS5 virtually stands alone in offering this level of performance and all-climate readiness in a single package.
According to numerous owners’ posts on RS5-related forums, driving this top-dog rocket coupe requires being prepared for things like excessive attention from the opposite sex, dirty looks from BMW M3 drivers, and frequent and vigorous praise from fans of fast German cars as you drive around on the daily.
Engines/Trim: All used copies of the RS5 come just one way under the hood: with a 4.2L, high-revving, 450 hp V8, complete with a signature high-strung zing, and a snorty-as-all-heck exhaust note. Think of the RS5 as an R8 with a back seat, and you’re in the right ballpark. A seven-speed dual clutch transmission was standard kit.
What Owners Like: Point and shoot wintertime performance, exceptional acceleration, a gorgeous driveline, generously-sized-for-a-coupe packaging and a full suite of upscale features are among the most commonly-praised attributes owners report. Immediate responses to throttle, braking and steering inputs are also highly rated. Adult friendly rear seats and a relatively tight turning circle round out the package.
What Owners Dislike: Some owners report a rough and fidgety ride with the RS5’s up-sized wheel option, while others wish for more at-hand storage inside for smaller items.
Here are a small number of slightly biased owner reviews
The Test Drive: As the oldest RS5 model you’ll find available for sale is likely less than three and relatively low in mileage, shopping smart for a used copy is largely a function of having your used performance car shopping hat on properly.
Take your time, and don’t let lust cloud your judgment. Then, check the condition of the tires and brakes for excessive wear, noting that the RS5 will be on the pricey side when it comes to replacement parts like these. Assume the seller is trying to sell you worn out tires and brake pads, until you confirm otherwise.
Most shoppers should avoid a model with the carbon ceramic brakes. Adding these brakes only to the front of the RS5 added some $6,000 to the bill. Though they’re track ready and designed for motorsports, even an aggressive driver won’t generate the sort of heat and stress they’re designed for on the road, and will experience higher repair and maintenance costs when the brakes need work or replacement. Simply put, the carbon ceramic brakes are great on a racetrack, though they amount to little more than pricey overkill in real life. Plus, they feel funny until they get hot, unlike good old steel rotors.