July 4, 2022

0-62mph in 3.9-seconds is insane for a automotive this large and sensible. However laborious launches aren’t the entire story. We take a look at the 2020 Audi RS5 Sportback.

Phrases & Pictures: Dan Bevis

What’s the essence of the Audi RS5 Sportback, the five-door model of what’s in any other case a two-door coupe? Properly, what all of it comes right down to is your mum’s favorite aphorism: if you wish to make a pearl, you’ve received to get a bit sand in your clam. The A5 upon which this automotive relies is a smart factor, and this spec degree naturally fills it with all kinds of fancy tools… however the important vitality of all of it is basically about what the enduring RS badge represents. It offers the Sportback a unclean thoughts, filthy concepts, despicable intentions. And it does all of it with a veneer of respectability, pretending to be all grown-up and sensible whereas on a regular basis being an absolute hellion beneath.

All of this traces again to the unique Audi A5, which launched in 2007 as a spread of coupes and cabriolets primarily based on the A4; the Sportback variant reworked it right into a five-door hatchback, so basically this was a five-door model of a two-door model of a four-door saloon – such is the complicated niche-filling nature of recent motoring. Don’t fear, everybody’s at it. The second-generation (8W6) A5 vary debuted in 2016, primarily based on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform, with the Audi RS5 Sportback being unveiled in mid-2019, a mild facelift adopted in 2020. The automotive shares its engine with the Porsche Panamera 4S – a 2.9-litre twin-turbo TFSI V6, which is nice for 444bhp and 443lb.ft. Large numbers for a sensible household automotive! It additionally packs an 8-speed auto transmission, quattro all-wheel-drive, and five-linked entrance and rear suspension with Audi Sport Dynamic Trip Management. 0-62mph is despatched in a frankly ludicrous 3.9-seconds. Yep, it’s precisely as entertaining because it sounds…

The drive

Crikey. I don’t assume I’d ever get tired of the best way this factor accelerates. It’s relentless. I imply, clearly this automotive is extra nuanced and multi-faceted than sheer acceleration, it’s agile and poised and splendid and… bloody hell although, the best way it will get from right here to method over there may be simply demented. Physics shouldn’t permit it, however one way or the other Audi isn’t listening.

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However earlier than we get into all that, let’s look over the spec. This explicit Audi RS5 Sportback has loved an intensive ticking of the choices checklist, with the black nappa leather-based inside that includes heated seats entrance and rear, together with the prolonged LED lighting package deal, panoramic glass sunroof, carbon fibre inlays, and the totally very good Bang & Olufsen audio improve. It’s a correctly large automotive inside too, the beneficiant dimensions swiftly making most SUVs appear a bit pointless.

Audi RS5

Settling into the driving force’s spot is an instantly satisfying affair, not simply because the chunkily bolstered seat holds you in a young caress, however since you’re then confronted by a totally glorious sprint format – the whacking nice touchscreen within the centre controls all the main stuff you’d count on (audio, nav, customisable chassis settings and so forth), and fortunately there are correct bodily controls for the local weather setup fairly than having to jab on the display to show the fan up – which is at all times annoying – and the true celebration piece is the Digital Cockpit. The dials forward of the driving force aren’t truly dials within the conventional sense, however a single-piece TFT display; it might probably present you the dial readouts within the conventional method, however you too can throw a sat-nav display up there, or your music data, or all kinds of swappable settings. It’s all managed by the buttons on the steering wheel, and the nav screens (entrance and centre) are significantly cool, as they use real-world graphics to make all of it look extra lifelike; it’s much less A-Z, extra illustrated atlas.

However anyway, you’re not studying this magazine since you’re concerned with noting down relative spec ranges, otherwise you wish to find out how spacious the boot is (though the reply to that, for those who’re bothered, is ‘very spacious certainly’). No, you wish to understand how fast it’s. And that’s just about the place we got here in. What all of it comes right down to is that this automotive is fast sufficient to peel the enamel out of your enamel; method sooner than a sensible household automotive would ever must be, however we’re gone worrying in regards to the idea of ‘want’. Positive, it might probably potter fortunately to the retailers like an A5 diesel, however whack it in RS mode and the suspension stiffens itself in readiness, ready so that you can bury the throttle. And if you do, you possibly can nearly really feel the sparks crackling off the roof and flanks like Doc Brown’s DeLorean.


This automotive is provided with the non-compulsory RS Sport exhaust system, which is amusingly shouty if you’re on it – and that’s factor as a result of as characterful as this Porsche-tweaked V6 is, it’s not probably the most tuneful or sonorous unit. Stealthy, nearly. However in RS mode and with the revs approaching stratospheric ranges, the sound from the tail is greater than sufficient to chase the birds from the bushes, with the amusing pops and burbles you’d count on from a sporty-edge VAG product. The field has additionally been ticked to up the pace limiter from 155mph to 174mph, however you’ll should take Audi’s phrase for that. We didn’t take a look at that on the A3, we’re not psychological. However whereas it might appear that they’ve shoved a ridiculous quantity of grunt into this plus-sized hatchback, you will be rattling positive that the chassis can cope: combining the quattro system (the full-fat Audi Sport one, fairly than the marginally much less hardcore Haldex association) with the Dynamic Trip Management permits the automotive to drag off a formidable magical feat, and shrink itself on nation lanes. It could be fairly large, nevertheless it appears like a TT if you wind it by means of the curves. That’s the ace up its sleeve – sure, it’s insanely fast, however the RS5 has additionally been engineered from day one to have the ability to deploy all the facility successfully. That’s what makes it enjoyable.

Audi RS5 Verdict

We discovered the perfect strategy is to not drive it at ten-tenths like a maniac – though with the best way this factor accelerates, that’s at all times a temptation – however as an alternative to wind it again and deal with it like a Bentley. Which is to say, driving within the information that there’s all kinds of energy, with out the duty to make use of all of it on a regular basis. With this strategy, you’re saved from overwhelming the brakes (as a result of, let’s face it, even the perfect chassis on the earth would finally wrestle to masks a 1,720kg kerb weight), and as an alternative simply let the RS5 circulate throughout nation in its personal rhythm. RS mode is nice for exploiting the total drama of the drivetrain, though the stiffest suspension setting may shake the fillings out of your enamel on the typical pot-holed B-road. Even in ‘mushy’ normal guise, the weaponised efficiency is exhilarating, and the extra you discover a rhythm with it, the extra it rewards you – and the extra you’re in a position to benefit from the efficiency with the entire household on board, with out your partner telling you off and your children throwing up. It’s a correctly succesful parent-wagon, this. It could have been conceived to appease the US market once they realised they wouldn’t be getting an RS4 Avant, nevertheless it’s arguably finest suited to British each day life. The best way it launches and surges is astounding, and the way wherein it controls itself by means of difficult twists and turns is downright stupendous – however what’s most spectacular in regards to the Audi RS5 Sportback is that it’s mainly actually good at all the pieces. If you happen to gained a modest quantity on the lottery (and for lots of us, that’d be the one method in – RS5 Sportback costs begin at £67,505; this one with all of the choices weighs in at £85,360) and solely had one parking area, it is a automotive that might fulfil each temporary in your want checklist: household automotive, sports activities automotive, grand tourer, scorching hatch, Ikea hack, observe toy… it might probably do all of this stuff. And it does all of them bloody brilliantly.


Audi RS5