Pretty much like the hot hatch war that rages on ever so fierce, so does the high performance premium Coupe and Sedan war.
And this week we talk about the latest competitor in this segment, Audi’s RS 5 Coupe.
BMW were first on the scene a good few years ago with their M4 Coupe, and then Mercedes-Benz countered that with their C63 AMG Coupe about a year or so ago.
So, Audi has had ample time to check out the competition so to speak and bring something quite special to market in their all new RS 5 Coupe. But have they?
The Audi is a great looking car, the headlights are flanked by huge lateral air intakes in the front and at the rear you get a RS-specific diffuser insert, oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system and a surface-mounted spoiler lip.
You can also opt from one of the styling packages – gloss black, carbon and matt aluminium – along with seven colours, and an Audi Sport exclusive paint colour, Sonoma green metallic Additionally, you are also able to specify the RS Dynamic Package which contains Matrix LED headlights, dynamic steering, quattro with sports differential, speed limiter increase to 280 km/h and sports suspension plus with dynamic ride control.
Moving to the crux of a high-performance car, just like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Audi too have moved onto turbocharging for their power requirements. The BMW makes use of a 3.0-litre straight-six power plant, and the Merc a 4.0-litre V8 unit.
The RS 5’s 2.9 TFSI V6 bi-turbo engine, which Audi developed from the ground up, delivers a comparably 331kW and a peak torque of 600Nm from 1 900 to 5 000 rpm.
This is said to get the car to 100 km/h in a mere 3.9 seconds, and reach an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. And I must be honest, the car felt fast off the line, and it was, getting there a fraction of a second before the M4 Competition Pack and C 63, when we tested them at Gerotek.
But, and here is my biggest issue with the RS 5 Coupe: it makes use of a conventional eight-speed Tiptronic torque converter gearbox versus the more aggressive double clutch fitments to its competitors.
So, although the owner’s manual says the Audi has a launch control function, it is actually just the old school way of holding the brake and planting the accelerator to build some boost and letting your left foot go.
This does allow the RS 5 to jump off the line fractionally quicker than the pukka launch control cars as already said, but this is only because their systems take a fraction of a second to let the electronically traction-controlled action begin, whereas the left foot brake thing is instant.
But sadly, from there on, with each gear change, the slower shifting Audi is reeled in by the competition, and it only runs a slow, by today’s standards, 236 km/h in 1km. But straight-line speed is not the be-all and end-all.
The handling offered, for every day driving, is exceptionally good.
And as is always expected, the Audi interior offers exceptional luxury and comfort to go with the highest standards of safety.
To answer my original question, has Audi brought something special to the segment with its R1 285 500 RS 5 Coupe? And the straight answer is no.
But it is most certainly a very good performance car, but deep down you feel like it is just missing that little bit of aggression.
Perhaps if Audi were to bring something like an RS 5 Coupe Plus, this could unleash the true potential of the car.