I’m a touch baffled with the cars from Audi’s RS division at the moment. It feels like its going through a transition. The very latest cars have been brilliant. But stepping back just a few years and this RS5 has reminded me of all the negatives that RS cars have been plagued with over the years.

Now before I get into this review, I will point out that since driving this car, Audi has revealed that an RS5 Competition is on the way. And if the RS4 Competition is anything to go by, then that should rectify a lot of the issues I had with this Audi RS5.

Tell me about the Audi RS5

At roughly £86,000, this Audi RS5 is the Black Edition model, meaning it gets some choice upgrades over the standard car including neat darkened trim that’s adds in a touch more aggression. But other than that and the quad exhaust system, there isn’t too much to distinguish it from an S-Line A5. For some that’s the perfect wolf in sheep’s clothing, but for me I’d like a few more distinguishable touches.

Under the bonnet is Audi’s 2.9-litre twin turbo V6 engine, which officially produces 444bhp and 443lb ft of torque, and takes the RS5 from 0-62mph in a blistering 3.9 seconds. For a car weighing almost 1.8-tonnes that quite some feat. It’s all thanks to Audi’s quattro system, which we all know very well. Unlike Audi’s latest differentials, this one can’t send more power to the rear. And therein lies it’s first issue.

close up of rear on rs5

What’s the Audi RS5 like to drive?

Fast it very much is. Fun it very much isn’t. Sadly, while the RS5 has the ability to decimate any road that’s put in front of it, you won’t be tackling those roads with much of a smile on your face. The steering feels numb, there’s a real lack of any feeling, which leaves you disconnected from the entire drive. The suspension feels too soft and the car leans in the corners, showing its weight and washing out in understeer. It struggles to transition from left to right with any sort of composure. A sports car this is not.

The engine, while powerful, isn’t the most charismatic, and the exhaust note is muted despite the existence of an optioned RS Sports Exhaust system here (£1250). There is some drama pitched through the cabin, but it’s not enough to make you feel like you’re in something with almost 450bhp and can do 174mph.

2.9-litre V6 engine

But, driving this car for a week has made me realise that I’m taking the car out of its comfort zone. It’s not designed to be hooned around a back road. No, it’s designed to take you places very fast and in great comfort. And that it does remarkably well. Cruising around effortlessly is what this RS5 does brilliantly, and that softer suspension is welcomed on these badly surfaced roads.

The seats, while not the most supportive when the going gets tough, do offer a great amount of comfort day to day. And with Audi’s virtual cockpit, navigating the car’s endless menus has never been so easy. Phone connectivity is seamless as you’d expect, while ergonomically there’s enough space for the whole family and luggage.

rear 3/4 shot of Audi RS5


It’s hard to ignore the lack of excitement behind the wheel. While it’s a car that promises to do it all, but delivers on only a few of those. It’s fast, practical and comfy, but lacks any sort of character. It’s a good car, but not one that will be remembered anytime soon. Hopefully the recently announced RS5 Competition can bring back some pedigree for the RS5.

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