Audi RS5 : First Drive
- by Vikram Gour
- May 26, 2011
- Views : 26728
Slick, suave and sophisticated, the all new Audi RS 5 is a beast in gentleman's clothing. Vikram Gour took it for a spin only to get addicted to the wheel!
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Germany lies a company that most of us haven’t heard about, namely, quattro GmbH (yes, they spell quattro in lower case). The name has a familiar ring to it as ‘quattro’ is a throwback to the all-wheel drive technology pioneered by Audi AG. That just so happens to be the relationship between the two companies, in fact quattro GmbH is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Audi AG and they have a special focus which is solely dedicated to the design, testing and production of specialist high performance Audi automobiles. Amongst these special vehicles lies the bloodline of the RS models.
Taken from the German word RennSport, which translates to ‘racing sport’, the RS models are basically highly customized Audi cars that now boast of some serious power. In essence, the RS models are based on conventional sedans therefore they are capable of offering you the delight of everyday driving, yet when you feel the need, it is just a matter of stomping on the gas pedal to be reminded of the enormous potential packed under the hood. The nature of these cars places them on a different pedestal amongst enthusiasts for they also possess the latest and most advanced of Audi technologies. After all with great power comes great responsibility and if you are in the business of making an RS model, then you want to ensure that everything is just perfect. The latest torchbearer to the RS line is the RS 5 Coupe which is built on a tradition dating back to over 15 year and its lineage goes right down to the RS 2 Avant. Now available in India, the RS 5 is a four wheeled testimony to this purebred bloodline and truly lives up to being a beast in gentleman’s clothing.
It’s love at first sight, for the RS 5 boasts of an amazing stance that screams pure thoroughbred muscle. The swooping roofline customary to coupes, the clear cut stretched metal lines, accentuated surfaces, the flared wheel arches, its single frame grille done up in a glossy gray rhombus pattern, the large air intakes in the lower bumper and of course the quintessential Audi headlights and LED daytime running lights all come together to offer you a visual treat that not only is strikingly good looking but also is a throwback to classic Audi lines that first appeared in the 1980s on the legendary Audi quattro.
Look at the RS 5 from the rear and here too you will find clues that this is no ordinary coupe. The two oval exhaust pipes which are integrated into the rear bumper dominate the visual appeal. Enhancing this is the large diffuser that sticks out rather prominently upwards, and of course there is the spoiler that automatically extends once the car reaches 120km/h.
Taking the aesthetic appeal even further are the large 19-inch alloys that this coupe rides on. The large wheels bring the entire package together and immediately you know that this car has a single agenda program - to thrill!
Being a powerful car, the design also integrates a number of performance related elements such as the underbody cladding with integrated air vents for the quattro system and front brakes, or as mentioned the front bumper with its large air intakes. All these systems along with the car’s inherent advanced aerodynamics package allows the RS 5 to generate a high downforce that further enhances vehicle stability at high speeds.
The RS 5 is a very good looking car and each element has been thought out to have a purpose as well and since the entire design theme has been governed by performance, it shows for no matter which angle you view the car from, it not only looks great but also lends an element of purpose towards the bigger picture of outright performance.
Step inside the Audi RS 5 and you will find that the elegant styling has been carried over to the interiors as well. The materials used are of the highest quality and I highly doubt anyone will find reasons to complain about the rich texture look on the dash and the abundant use of leather and Alcantara on the sport seats, steering wheels and other interior trims. The instrument cluster frame boasts of a piano finish and amongst all this black treatment to the interiors lie dashes of aluminum on the door sill trims, and of course the RS specific door handles. The result is a touch of classiness that confines you in luxury while you enjoy unleashing this machine out on open roads.
The interiors are matched with an array of standard features which can largely be divided into two categories, namely, creature comfort and performance driven. Amongst the creature comforts on board one finds the power steering, tilt steering and the high end music system with eight speakers, and an integration into the MMI system which controls a number of vehicle features, all of which are displayed on a neat 6.5 inch color monitor. In order to aid the driver while reversing, the parking system along with the optical display plays an important role for the low seating, thanks to the fact that looking out the rear glass is slightly hampered. The optical display makes it a cakewalk to reverse despite this. The rear seats can fold down completely to offer the owner a total of 455 litres of boot space if need be, so there is an amount of flexibility as well as practicality associated with the RS 5.
As far as the performance driven features go, the hottest item on the car would be the three modes that a driver can choose to match their driving style. Comfort mode allows for a relaxed drive and the suspension set up, steering input and gear transitions all change in order to offer a rather comfortable ride. In Auto mode, the car plays boss and chooses the ideal set up depending on driver input, and for those who wish to use this car as a hard core sportsmobile, then there is the Dynamic mode. At the tap of a button the car literally tightens up it suspension, the gear changes are quicker with higher shift points, and the steering firms up to offer better input while driving. After experiencing all three modes, you soon realize that this car is actually two cars rolled into one. In one mode it’s a nice car to take out and putter around town, on the other hand it can switch into a serious performance machine; truly an achievement in its own right.
Being an object of desire takes more than just design aesthetics and features, for what really matters at the end of the day is how this car performs. Now the blokes at quattro GmBH just happen to know a thing or two about making some rather crazy driver machines and in their bid to make the RS 5 a fantastic performance oriented car, they decided to go with a fantastic engine from the Audi stable. Normally found under the hood of the Audi R8 sportscar, the high revving 4.2 litre V8 petrol FSI engine has again found utility in performing under the long hood of the RS 5, albeit in a slightly different state of tune. The engine churns out 450 horse power at 8250 rpm and generates a peak torque of 430Nm which is made available between 4000 to 6000 rpm. Mated to a seven speed S-tronic transmission that boasts of a blistering quick dual clutch shifter, the RS 5 is capable of going from a standstill to 100km/h in a company claimed 4.6 seconds flat, and its top speed has been electronically limited to 280 km/h.
Now all these numbers sound great, but when you actually get inside the RS 5, fire up the engine and proceed to unleash all the horses under the hood, you realize that these numbers just can’t describe the sheer joy of accelerating forward at that pace. Adding to the entire appeal is the solid roar from the engine that also announces every gear change in true sportscar fashion. The downshifts sound even better and for first time owners, I strongly recommend that you keep your stereo system off and enjoy the trumpeting of the engine and the growls from the downshifts; they just never cease to entertain. However if you do like crunching your numbers, here is a little more to digest. The specific output of the normally aspirated eight-cylinder is 108.1 hp per liter of displacement. Each horsepower only has to move 3.83 kilograms as the RS 5 happens to weigh only 1,725 kilograms; now that is some serious power to weight ratio! Surprisingly, with all this power, the RS 5 claims to be rather frugal. According to Audi, the RS 5 returns a fuel consumption figure of just 10.8 litres for every 100 kilometers. This impressive figure is due to the combination of technologies from the Audi modular efficiency platform, which also includes a recuperation system and having dug a little deeper, this figure is based on the European drive cycle. Considering India’s start-stop traffic, and overall congestion, fuel consumption is definitely expected to go up, however if you happen to be paying Rs 76 lakh, plus taxes to obtain this machine, I highly doubt the mileage figures are of immense concern.
Aiding the vehicle all along the way in terms of control, safety and stopping are the usual ABS, EBD, and ESP systems that work in conjunction with Audi’s legendary quattro technology. Stopping power is immense as the RS 5 comes fitted with disc brakes on all four wheels, which includes the 365mm discs up front and 324mm discs at the rear, however what is definitely noteworthy is the new crown gear center differential. This compact and lightweight differential system allows for a wide distribution range of torque between the front and rear axles. The car is set up on a standard 60:40 ratio with a rear biased configuration to offer sporty handling, however as much as 75 per cent of the flow can be directed to the front and as much as 85 per cent can be directed to the rear should the car feel the need, which is governed by a new torque vectoring system which acts on all four wheels. Should the car feel that the load on the inside wheel is reduced too much while being driven dynamically, the wheel is braked just slightly before offering it the slip. No doubt, the driver isn’t feeling a thing except that this car is responding to their every move and in a manner that can be deemed as perfect.
In order to provide a healthy balance between ride and handling, the RS 5 boasts of a tautly tuned chassis built to handle the car’s performance DNA. The use of lightweight elements such as aluminium in most major parts means that this car has a low unsprung mass. What this translates to in layman terms is a chassis that is capable of reacting almost as though it’s a reflex action thus offering an uncompromised and precise handling and stability. The suspension set up, which include the springs and dampers on the trapezoidal rear link suspension, and the five link front suspension have been tuned to offer a sporty responsive behavior, with the brilliant driver feedback. The final element to the RS 5’s road behavior comes literally down to the wheels. The wide track and large 19 inch wheels shod with 265/35 rubber do their duty in keeping the car in line as well as providing a decent amount of buffer to soak in some of the undulations present on the road. Each element that has gone into the ride and handling of the RS 5 Coupe works towards offering a dynamic ride and as said earlier, it is in this spirited driving mode that the car truly shows its RS genes.
Packed to the hilt with technology and boasting of some solid sportscar pedigree, the RS 5 Coupe is an out and out driver’s car. Every element screams of performance and for those who get to witness this beast first hand, the drive itself is an experience that few cars can match. Exhilarating, breathtaking, demonic, yet practical and controllable, the RS 5 has the capacity to suit more than just your need for speed. It’s a car that fits a dual purpose and that adds to its desire quotient for sure.
Now available in India, the RS 5 Coupe isn’t alone in its segment for it is set to compete against the likes of the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. All three cars are based on saloons, but tuned to be speed demons and it is for certain that the competition is rather tough. A showdown amongst the three would be the ultimate war story on four wheels; however that would be a topic for another hot adventure! As far as the RS 5 goes, it is one of the most addicting drives you’ll ever experience. The sound of the V8 fills you with a single purpose and as all worldly matters become trivial, all you want to do is floor it and enjoy the raw unleashed power as the engine trumpets out a tune that makes your heart pound faster and adrenaline flow through your veins giving you a high like no other. It’s an obsession you don’t want to ever get rid of.
Recommended Variant : RS5 Coupe