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DRIVEN: 2018 Audi RS 5 Coupe

2018-05-14 07:00

Image: Sean Parker

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Audi has launched its second-generation RS 5 Coupe.

Sean Parker

Cape Town - When the Audi RS 5 Coupe was launched late last year in Mzansi, it was already on the backfoot.

Down on power to its closest rivals the BMW M4 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 Coupe, the RS 5 has lost its V8 growl for a turbocharged V6 whine instead. The reason? Less weight and emissions and a car that's not as thirsty for fame as a Kardashian.

331kW from a forced induction V6

Sean Parker spent a few days with the RS 5  to get the under the skin all-wheel drive sports coupe. 

Let's start with the RS 5's new engine, it's a 2.9 TFSI V6 bi-turbo engine, which Audi says is brand new and has a claimed output of 331kW/600Nm – 170Nm more than the model it replaces. But the same 331kW as the previous 4.2-litre V8 powered RS 5. Hmm, don't we all want more power? 

Against the clock, Audi claims it'll reach 100km/h from standstill in a claimed 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 250km/h – the limiter can be removed enabling the needle to reach 280km/h.


What's it like to drive? 

The RS 5 uses a revised five-link construction on the front axle. At the rear, a five-link suspension replaces the trapezoidal-link suspension used on the previous model. It was evident that the chassis can handle more power.

It feels very composed though some may say bland. It's one of the best 'daily' sport coupes on sale in Mzansi. The RS 5 like all fast Audis uses four-wheel drive which adds a crucial safety net but also blunts the driving experience for me. 

The Audi, for me, did not feel special enough. Sure, when it gets going in its sportiest setting it feels helluva fast. But the 8-speed auto lacks the immediacy of a dual-clutch 'box and although the noise fills the cabin, the V6 just fails to excite the senses. 

It doesn't feel like an occasion. It's not the type of car you'll want to rise early on Sunday morning and tackle your favourite passes. No, it's more accustomed to a blast down to the shops or an naughty trip down a deserted road in the Northern Cape. 

It's a very fast car, insane in the manner it picks up speed and hauls you to a destination quicker than you can send a gif. 

Some readers on Instagram mentioned Audi is pitching the RS 5 as more of a Grand Tourer than a sports car. And I'll agree with them to a certain extent - Shouldn't the RS 5 be able to go toe-to-toe with M4 and C63? Who knows, Audi may bring out a beefier 'Plus' model later on. 

For now, the RS 5 is akin to a velvet-encased bomb; gloriously svelte but capable of pure destruction in a couple of seconds.  

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