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The new Audi RS 5: 'Like a bomb exploding in a velvet glove'

2017-11-15 14:39

Image: Sean Parker

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Audi has launched its second-generation RS 5 Coupe.

Sean Parker

Western Cape - Hurtling along Du Toit’s Kloof pass behind the wheel of Audi's latest RS 5, it became apparent just how different it is to its predecessor.

Audi has replaced the V8 with a bi-turbo V6 engine that produces 331kW and a mammoth 600Nm. It still uses the automaker’s famed Quattro system which distributes power to all four wheels in a (40:60) split.

Audi says, that the styling, based on the current A5 Coupe, gets the full RS treatment with a broader grille, a rear diffuser insert, massive drain-piped size oval tailpipes and a rear spoiler lip. It sits 6mm lower to the ground than the old RS 5 but remains as wide at 1861mm. 

0-100km/h in under 4 seconds

The addition of an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox may dumbfound some but Audi say its S-Tronic dual-clutch ‘box simply can’t handle the 600Nm of torque. The 0-100km/h sprint time is a claimed 3.9 seconds and the coupe will easily hit a top speed of 250km/h. 

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If you’re keen to post Instagram clips of your RS 5 hitting 280km/h that can be made possible with the RS Dynamic Package which raises the limiter and also chucks in some nice kit; matrix LED headlights, dynamic steering, Quattro with sports differential, and sports suspension plus with dynamic ride control. 

The RS5 tips the scales at 1665kgs, that’s 60kgs less… the equivalent of 86 iPads. And that’s where this new car feels markedly different to the outgoing coupe  which had a massive V8 engine. The lighter, more powerful V6 engine, doesn’t sound as great but when pushed at full tilt, it's more lithe and agile compared to the muscle-car approach of the previous generation’s V8. 

Steering is adequate but not as communicative as the RS 5’s rivals from Germany. Using the drive select program it’s possible to set up the car to an individual preference. I had the engine and gearbox in fire-breathing mode, suspension in pillowy comfort as well as the steering, that for me was the sweet spot. 

A revised five-link construction is used on the front axle. At the rear, a five-link suspension replaces the trapezoidal-link suspension used on the previous model. Admittedly the ride felt harsh when the suspension was in dynamic mode. 

Brakes are good with a solid pedal feel, you can order ceramic stoppers as an optional extra. 

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Changing gears via the paddles or letting the computer perform shifts, it emits the sound of a rocket exploding in a velvet glove. It’s a cosseting place to be with all the black leather, alcantara and beautifully detailed graphics from the virtual cockpit. 

As a comfortable 2+2 seater with a powerful engine I have no doubt the RS 5 will maul the road. Even though it is brutally quick it’s not hard-core like the BMW M3 CS or Mercedes-AMG C63. But then, on the other hand, that might be enough for some. The new RS 5 is a supremely fast grand tourer with loads of tech which buyers want. Audi seem to have got it right. 

Price: R1 285 500

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