2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback Injects Sport, Performance Into Lineup

Looks like: An S5 Sportback with more ‘tude

Competes with: BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

Drivetrain: 444-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6; eight-speed automatic; all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Late 2018

Like bunnies multiplying in the spring, Audi’s A5 lineup continues to bloom. New for 2019 is the addition of the RS 5 Sportback, which made its global debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.

Related: More 2018 New York Auto Show Coverage

The sleek, sporty RS 5 Sportback joins the regular A5 and performance-oriented S5 Sportback hatchbacks and adds more of everything: amped-up power, aggressive exterior styling cues and a sport-themed cabin.

Exterior

First, a quick lesson in Audi-speak: As with its siblings, Audi calls the RS 5 Sportback a “coupe,” but the model has four doors and its trunk opens hatchback-style. Like the larger A7, however, the Sportback’s sloping roofline mimics the lines of a coupe. Got it?

The RS 5 looks a lot like the S5, but a few extra cues make it stand apart from the rest of the lineup, including pronounced bodyside lines and flared fenders, which give it an overall more athletic look. Audi also widened the body by 15 millimeters on each side compared with the S5 Sportback; it also sits 7 millimeters lower.

The RS 5 also wears a wider, flatter version of Audi’s signature grille along with RS-specific honeycomb air intakes, a matte-finish spoiler, matte-finish exterior mirror housings and high-gloss black side sills. In back, there’s an RS-specific diffuser, oval RS exhaust pipes and a high-gloss black rear-lip spoiler.

Interior

The RS 5 has seating for five, and the cabin borrows much from the S5 model, including the multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. It also features Audi Virtual Cockpit with a color head-up display that informs the driver of tire pressure, torque, a shift light indicator and G-forces.

RS-specific interior cues include S sport seats with RS embossing; a flat-bottomed, perforated leather RS sport steering wheel and gear shift; and stainless-steel pedals.

Under the Hood

Power comes from a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 that Audi says is good for 444 horsepower and 443 pounds-feet of torque available in a wide rev range from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm. The sole transmission is an eight-speed automatic; this is a considerable jump in power compared with the A5 (252-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder) and S5 (354-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6) Sportback models.

Audi says the RS 5 sprints from zero-to-60 mph in less than 4 seconds and has a top “track” speed of 155 mph, though that can be bumped up to 174 mph (which sounds extra illegal) with the optional Dynamic Plus package.

As with the other models in the lineup, the RS 5 comes standard with Quattro all-wheel drive, and the drive forces are distributed with a 40:60 rear bias. Audi says the RS 5’s traction control system manages distribution for maximum acceleration with minimal slip.

The RS 5 also rides on a sport suspension, and an adjustable Dynamic Ride Control system is available, which allows drivers to customize settings in four drive modes: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual.

Safety

Audi says the RS 5 will offer a variety of driver assistance aids and safety features including standard Audi Pre Sense collision detection with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control and other driver assistance packages like rear cross-traffic assist and active lane assist.

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