BuckleUp: Audi RS 5 Sportback

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4dentists’ group’s Managing Director Richard T Lishman drives the all new Audi RS 5 Sportback

I wanted to find out if the Audi RS 5 Sportback is just a fancy badge stuck on the back of a family car, but first...

A History Lesson

In 2016 Audi achieved best ever worldwide sales of 1,871,350 cars, a 3.8 per cent improvement over 2015. Sales in the UK increased by 6.4 per cent year-on-year to 177,565 cars. To maintain this strong performance the brand has embarked upon an investment programme that will channel a total of €24 billion into new model development and innovative technologies by 2019.

The long-term goal is CO2-neutral mobility. This philosophy also applies to the brand’s sports car racing activities, in which Audi made history in 2012 by winning the Le Mans 24-hour race using pioneering hybrid diesel technology in the R18 e-tron quattro.

It went on to repeat the performance in the 2013 and 2014 races, taking the total number of Audi victories there to 13. Audi entered a new chapter in motorsport in 2017 by fully committing to Formula E with a factory-backed programme.

Sporty New Look

Audi brought a little extra bite to the Big Apple a couple of months ago with the launch of the first ever five-door Sportback version of the mighty RS 5 at the New York International Auto Show.

The latest high-performance, high technology addition to the Audi Sport stable is set to take its place alongside the more familiar RS 5 Coupe, combining its arsenal of blistering 450PS bi-turbo V6 power and Quattro all-wheel-driven tenacity with spacious five-seat accommodation and ample 480-litre luggage capacity.

“The Audi RS 5 Sportback is more than just an international trade fair novelty – it offers something new to our customers. Our innovative interpretation of a five-door high-performance coupé has neither predecessor models, nor a direct competitor,” explains Michael-Julius Renz, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “The new Audi RS 5 Sportback will carry the RS genes out onto the road.”

The exterior design of the new Audi RS 5 Sportback is a blend of elegant curves and taut, athletic surfaces. The longer wheelbase, short overhangs and long, wraparound bonnet with power dome all help to signal intent, as do the characteristically powerful shoulder line and Quattro blisters in the flanks which emphasise the strong bulges over the extended wheel arches.

At the front, the Audi RS 5 Sportback features a wide, flat, single-frame grille, solid air intakes with a honeycomb structure typical of an RS, gloss black design elements and a front spoiler with matte aluminium Quattro lettering. At the rear an RS-specific diffuser insert, RS exhaust system with oval tailpipes and fixed spoiler lip further distance the car from its A5 series siblings.

How Quick?

With 450PS and 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque deployed throughout a wide speed range from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm, the new 2.9-litre V6 powering both RS 5 variants delivers slingshot performance reflected in a 3.9-second 0-62mph sprint time for the new Sportback and the potential for a top speed of up to 174mph which is eye-watering for such a large car.

How Low? – Running Gear

That output is deftly managed by the eight-speed tiptronic transmission with optimised shift times and by the RS-specific five-link suspension, which is of course supported by Quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

As an alternative to the standard set-up Audi Sport also offers RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) featuring adjustable, electronically controlled damping, along with features such as ceramic brakes and dynamic steering with RS-specific tuning.

The Rims

19-inch wheels are standard, and the list of optional extras contains upgrades to various 20-inch designs, as well as personalisation features such as optic packages in Gloss Black, Carbon, and Matte Aluminium.

The Trim

The credentials of the five-door high-performance coupé are emphasised in the high-quality interior by details such as the RS sport seats in Fine Nappa leather with honeycomb stitching, the flat-bottomed RS multi-function sports leather steering wheel and the special RS information displays in the standard Audi virtual cockpit providing information on tyre pressure, torque and G forces.

The cabin provides space for five people, and the square-shaped profile of the luggage bay with its useful width of exactly one metre allows passengers to make the most of the 480litre luggage capacity. Folding down the rear seats with their 40:20:40 split ratio increases that to 1,300 litres.

Saving The Planet

Well it isn’t really, although the RS 5 has switched from the gas guzzling 4.2l engine to a more modest, almost eco-friendly 2.9l unit!

The Stats

Model: RS 5
Power: 450 PS & 600 Nm of torque 0-62MPH 3.9 seconds
Top Speed: 174* (MPH)
Engine: V6 twin turbo
Fuel MPG: Don’t ask..

*Optional if the standard 155 MPH isn't fast enough.

The Damage

All in all the new RS 5 is a fantastic car and looks amazing. It’s expected to launch in the UK late 2018 with a price tag of around £64,000 OTR, so still time to save. However, if you’re looking for a bit of a bargain, don’t need a five door or aren’t prepared to wait, then why not pick up a low mileage 2013 RS 5 Coupe 4.2l for less than £30k! You decide.

I Own One!

Owner driver, Anoup Nandra, Partner and Principal of Edgbaston Dental Care and The Rock Tettenhall, shares his thoughts on his wife’s inspired purchase, the Audi S5.

I have had a variety of marques in the past from Porsche to Mercedes, and although we had a couple of Audi’s in the family, I‘d never really considered getting one myself as I felt the cabin controls didn’t suit me.
When our beloved Range Rover Vouge died a death, the time came to replace it with another family car and it was actually my petrolhead wife that opted for the Audi, but you can imagine my scepticism.

My scepticism faded immediately when I drove the car. The first impression is amazing from plush cockpit with plush interior, to all the controls being positioned in exactly the right place. The seats are sporty, yet luxurious, and the additional massage function is wonderful for dentists with bad backs! The rear seats comfortably sit two full-sized adults, and three adults can squeeze in when required. The boot space is very good too and serves our purpose.

Turn on the engine, and you really begin to see that there is something very different about this car. The car feels like it wants to be driven. The Audi four-wheel drive system is simply fantastic, you feel invincible as the car literally feels like it is on rails.

In the UK winter, the car performed without missing a beat whilst rear-wheel drive counterparts were left stranded on the roads. The body roll is minimal, and the chassis feels totally planted on the road.

Having driven it now for six months I think it’s great, however there is just something too clinical about it, which is odd coming from a dentist!