By Cars.com EditorsFebruary 19, 2013
About the video
If the 2013 Audi RS 5 didn’t quite have Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder at “hello,” it had him saying “You complete me” within a few turns around the track at Roebling Road Raceway in Georgia.
(upbeat music) Hi. I'm Joe Wiesenfelder with Cars.com. We're at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Georgia, checking out the 2013 Audi RS 5. If the A5 coupe isn't good enough for you, and the S5 coupe isn't good enough for you, I recommend the RS 5.
You might've noticed the more aggressive front end is partly due to the giant grills, all of which are functional. They are cooling a 4.2-liter V8 engine, which they managed to jam in here. That differs from the S5, which has a three-liter V6 supercharged. This one is naturally aspirated. What you get here is 450 horsepower, as opposed to 333 in the S5. Audi's SNRS vehicles used to have actual aluminum side mirrors. Unfortunately, those days are over. This is a pretty good fake facsimile, though. Car itself sits about 0.8 inch lower than the A5, comes with 19-inch wheels standard. These are the optional 20-inchers, shod with Pirelli P Zero summer performance tires. Really good stuff. The brakes have 14.4-inch rotors. You'll notice they are crossrail vented, and they have a wave shape. That's mostly about saving weight. And also enormous brake calipers, eight pistons for the front wheels. The rear wheels, not as interesting to look at. Not as interesting in terms of design, either. The RS 5 has an automated, motorized spoiler in the back that goes up for more downforce at high speeds. Also exclusive to the RS 5 is this rather aggressive diffuser and the single oval tailpipes. In the S5, there's double on each side. And this dark finish is actually part of the sport exhaust option, which is $1,000. There are certain things in the interior that are specific to the RS 5, like the carbon fiber inlays and such, but really what this car is about is the driving experience. You can look at specifications and feature lists and say, "Oh, that must be a great performance car." And it's not necessarily so. In this case, the car really works. The engine sounds terrific, has lots of pull, even though, oddly enough, it has less torque at low RPM than the S5 does with its supercharged V6. The transmission, unlike the S5, which has a manual, in this case is a seven-speed automated manual. So you can drive it in automatic mode, regular drive, or pull it down and get sport mode. Sport mode raises the shift points, makes the accelerator pedal more sensitive, and also gives it a terrific bark sound when you decelerate. Even if you're not touching the stick or shifting manually, it will downshift through the gears and bark each time as it rev matches. Sounds terrific. You can, if you want, shift manually, either with the stick or with paddles on the steering wheel. My favorite aspect of this car is the all-wheel drive system, which is more advanced than in the other versions of this coupe. Mainly, what it does is it gives you 40% of the torque to the front wheels and 60% to the rear. Even though it can shift more forward and back, it starts out with that split. What that gives you is the feel of a rear-wheel drive car at all times, and you get much more control over the rear end using the throttle. You get good dynamics and balance. Really good stuff across the board. Frankly, I said, "Oh look, there's a more powerful version of the S5 coming, "called the RS 5. "I'm sure it'll be quicker and all that stuff." But actually I was way more impressed with it than that. In the first few miles, I had already fallen in love with it. And it's partly because of how everything works so well together. The powertrain, the brakes, the dynamics, the all-wheel drive system: it all just feels so cohesive. It knocked me out pretty quickly. And that's something for me to say about a car that doesn't have a manual transmission. Yeah. Definitely check this one out. (engine revs)