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SERIOUS SPORT (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Audi's improved RS 5 Sportback five-door coupe targets BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 buyers. Jonathan Crouch checks out what's on offer.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 80
Fast, frantic but perfectly practical, the Audi RS 5 Sportback aims to be the market's definitive mid-sized high performance five-door hatch. It gets a sophisticated quattro 4WD system and can hit 174mph on the Nurburgring but is just as happy collecting your dry cleaning. The spec of this revised version looks impressive, including an RS sport exhaust system and a sport differential. You only truly get a sense of just how fast it is by following behind in something else.
Backgroundword count: 119
If you know your fast Audis, you're probably familiar with the RS 5 model - as a Coupe. Here though, the Ingolstadt brand's 'Audi Sport' division has taken that model's potent twin turbo V6 and installed it into the company's Sportback five-door coupe body shape for a bit of added practicality. It targets similarly-performing mid-sized models like the Mercedes-AMG C 63 but brings a key advantage - Audi's quattro 4WD system which is mated to a stiff, light MLB platform. Plus buyers get a standard rear Sport differential to help get the torque to the tarmac through the turns. This car was first launched in 2018, then lightly revised to create the car we're going to look at here.
Driving Experienceword count: 279
Not a lot prepares you for just how quick this car really is. To be specific, rest to 62mph here occupies just 3.9s, which is a fraction quicker than you'll go in what is arguably this model's closest rival, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate. As usual with fast Audis, the maximum speed is rather pointlessly capped at 155mph, though in this case, you can pay Ingolstadt an obscene amount of money to get the restrictor lifted, in which case your RS 5 Sportback will top out at 174mph. The creamy, rather digitalised engine soundtrack you get as the revs rise from the 450PS 2.9-litre V6 isn't a match for Audi's old 4.2-litre V8. After a while though, you rather warm to the way that this Porsche-developed powerplant snarls purposefully on up-shifts and lets out little pops and bangs as you snick the steering wheel paddle shifters down through the closely-stacked ratios of the 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox. This RS 5 certainly tackles the turns effectively. Part of that is down to the re-developed quattro system which usually directs 60% of torque to the back wheels but, if conditions demand, can send up to 85% of power to the back or, if necessary, as much as 70% to the front. The set-up's been designed to work with a torque vectoring system that applies minimal brake interventions to the wheels on the inside of any given curve before they start to spin, maximising traction and making handling more precise, agile and stable. Also playing its part here is the standard-fit 'sport differential' which at speed through tight corners can constantly vary the amount of torque distributed to each of the rear wheels.
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Category: Sporting Cars
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