The new Audi RS5 loses its V8 engine but gets much quicker

Audi's new RS5 Coupe is what you can call - 'a wonderful grand tourer.' It's fast, pretty, luxurious and techy. It’s a type of car we here at Arabia Motors can easily and happily live with every single day. But it's overall package isn't the only thing that makes this car special, there's also its heritage. You see, back in 1980, Audi revealed the Ur-Quattro. Before this point, four-wheel-drive was only offered for off-road vehicles like Jeeps, Land Cruisers and Land Rovers but Audi wanted to prove its advantages for regular road use. So, they fit their version of the all-wheel-drive unit into a square-edged, turbocharged coupe and took it rallying. After winning two WRC titles in the early 80s and arguably changing the sport for good, Audi proved that its AWD platform was here to stay. These days nearly half of all Audis sold carry the Quattro badge, but the symbolic embodiment of the Ur-Quattro's legacy is in this, the RS5 Coupe.

At first, the Nardo grey metallic paints captures your attention before the fat oval exhaust and swollen arches. It adds up to a handsomely brutish car that successfully treads the fine line between subtle aggression and smart sophistication. In detail, the RS5gets the black treatment for the headlights and taillights. Adding a bit more aggression to the stance is the gloss-black grille. The sharply raked carbon-fiber roof adds to the whole drama too. Our sample RS5 Coupe was also equipped with the optional incredible-looking 20-inch wheels.

The interior too is a gorgeous mixture of classy material, faultless tech and purposeful RS upgrades that include the best sports seats in the business. For starters, you'll find a healthy mix of carbon-fiber on the door trim panels, center console, and dash. All leather is double stitched with a contrasting thread to add a visual stimulation, and the center of the seats even gets a hexagonal stitching pattern that oddly looks really good here. The driving position is fantastic too thanks to the supportive, multi-adjustable massaging front seats, which in our opinion is just outstanding.

Where the previous-gen RS5 used a free-revving, atmospheric V8 the new one now adopts an RS-specific evolution of Audi's latest downsized, twin-turbocharged V6. Not that the V6 doesn't sound good in its own way, but if we are brutally honest you might miss the V8 snarl and uncompromising throttle response of the original RS5. Until that is, you feel what it's like to be propelled from zero-to-100kph in 3.9 seconds. This engine is effective! Its 444bhp might be the same as the old V8, but its 443lb-ft of torque indeed is a lot more.

Another new development in the RS5 is the new eight-speed automatic gearbox. It operates smoothly when you're driving sensibly and is pretty obedient when you take control, however, it's not as sharp as a dual-clutch transmission. Unfortunately, we could only drive theRS5 for a day and from what we can tell the ride is largely comfortable. A bit too comfortable given that this is a high-performance coupe. Auto mode tightens things up without damaging comfort, while Dynamic, firm’s things up further. Enter a series of corners and you'll find that it's easy to place the front of the car and thanks to the optional Dynamic Steering that varies how many turns of the wheel you need from lock-to-lock. No matter how hard you push, the RS5 never feels like it's going to get too out of shape. It’s a super easy car to drive fast with confidence.

Overall, with its looks, excellent power and it celebrating Audi's Quattro heritage, the RS5 does a lot of things right. It's a great place to be in too thanks to the high-quality cabin which is visually, technically and ergonomically bang on the money and unlike the Audi's of the past which struggled on the emotional engagement side, this new gen brings back the charisma and firepower we have been waiting for from Audi. With its massive turbocharged power and sophisticated chassis, it makes this RS5 a classy coupe that will lift your spirits every time you lay foot into it.

Categories: TEST DRIVE

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