In Audi lingo, all their cars are named A-something. You’ve got your A4s and A6s and such. If you want the performance models, that A gets changed to an S; A6s turns into S6s and they go much faster. If that’s not enough for you, Audi will make the RS version of something, and this is where things get really out of hand. Audi RSs make big power and get big blowers stuffed into ever-smaller engine bays with delicious results.
To wit: The new Audi RS 5 Coupe which delivers 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque. That’s 126 lb-ft. of torque more than the previous generation. Impressive.
Power & Performance
All that power and grunt is made the old fashioned RS way: with two big turbos. In the case of the 2018 Audi RS 5, that would be a newly-developed 2.9-liter V6 TFSI bi-turbo plant. It already weighs 68 lbs. less than the naturally aspirated 2.9 from the previous version, which is amazing given all the added turbos and plumbing and whatnot. Still, the RS 5 can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, a pick up of eight tenths over the outgoing RS 5. Top speed is 155 mph, and if you opt for the Dynamic Plus package, that rises to 174 mph. My advice: Go for the Dynamic Plus package!
Did I use the term “big boost?” If I didn’t, I should have, ’cause dig this: 21.5 PSI. That’s how much pressure the new Audi RS 5 is cranking out. I’d love to see the air/fuel graph on this guy, because they have to be running it lean as broth. That is a lot of pressure in the cylinder that’s already running a compression ratio of 10.0:1 The heat loading must be massive, and somehow, Audi follows that current design fad of tucking the turbos and all that plumbing directly inside the “V” of the engine. Sure, you get all the benefits like improved engine responsiveness and performance, but that engine compartment must be hotter than a pistol in Doc Holliday’s hand.
All the power from the bi-turbo engine flows into an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission with a self-locking center diff, and a full traction control system for maximum acceleration with minimal slip. This is the quattro all-wheel drive system baby, you best hang on. 60 percent of the torque goes to the rear axle and the rest to the front, so slightly tail out cornering is there to be had. The standard rear diff gets RS-specific tuning and actively splits the torque between the rear wheels.
Suspension & Braking
The suspension is redesigned and lightweight with a five-link (front) setup for greater steering precision. The Audi RS 5 coupe sits 7 mm lower than the S5, and has Dynamic Ride Control with adjustable dampers connected to one another via diagonal oil lines for better handling. The valves regulate the oil flow of the deflected outside front wheel almost immediately to reduce pitch and roll. Trick!
There is also the standard Audi drive select system which offers four modes. The modes allow you to adjust the differential, steering, and ride control, in addition to changing shift points and steering and throttle responses. The brakes, always an Audi strong suit, are as impressive as you’d expect. You get your choice of two different brake sets: RS steel brakes with cross-drilled discs and six-piston front brake calipers, or the top-of-the-line carbon ceramic front brakes which, obviously, save weight and provide superior stopping power.
Yes, the body and interior have been redesigned. All of this is subjective, but personally I’d call the new 2018 Audi RS 5 more purposeful looking than beautiful. Although that shade of green is gorgeous!
Styling & Tech Treatments
Inside, the flat-bottom three-spoke steering wheel has RS badging and enlarged shift paddles. The seats are heated, adjust 12-ways, have contrast diamond-stitched leather/Alcantara coverings with RS embossing, power side bolsters, and even a massage function. Aluminum, illuminated door sill inlays with RS 5 logos remind you how special you are for having this car.
More? Yes, much more: The 2018 Audi RS 5 coupe includes collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, active lane assist, and high beam assistant. It’s literally soaking in tech features and driver “assist” nannies.
Pricing & Availability
Best of all, the 2018 RS 5 Coupe is available now with a starting price of $69,900 – which is not that bad, considering what you get and how fast and powerful the new RS 5 is.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.