First sprint in Merc's ferocious C 63 S

'You can feel how taut the steering is, how sensitive the accelerator is to inputs', writes Charlen Raymond.

Quick test: Audi RS5 Sportback

2019-06-28 05:15

Sean Parker


Image: Supplied

While performance SUVs are all the rage lately, Audi South Africa slipped its RS4 and RS5 Sportback models into the country. 

The former is a station wagon and the latter a four-door sedan with a sloping roofline. I drove the RS4 a week prior to hopping into the RS 5 and with its elegant frame-less windows and sleek silhouette I found it to be the better car to look at. 

But that's where my comparison ends, plus, styling is subjective anyway. Under the bonnet, the RS5 sports the same 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo engine in the RS 4 with power figures of 331kW/600Nm. 

The RS 5 can seat four adults comfortably and has boot 480-litre boot. It's been festooned with RS badges and rides on 20" wheels. 

As with all fast Audis, power is sent to all four wheels and 0-100km/h takes under four seconds according to Ingolstadt. 

So, what's it like to drive? 

I'll admit that I didn't enjoy the two-door version of the RS as much in 2018, the engine lacked soul and I found the steering didn't offer enough feedback. 

And unfortunately the same can be said about the car in Sportback guise. The Audi lacks launch control and has a kerb weight of 1795kg, that's around 280kg heavier than the BMW M3 and 140kg heavier than the Mercedes-AMG C63 S. 

This isn't to say the new model isn't fun; The RS 5 Sportback is more of a muscle car, hot-rod sedan that is ruthlessly quick in a straight line (0-100km/h is a claimed 3.9 seconds) and runs out of puff at 250km/h, although it can be unrestricted to reach 280km/h. 

If there was ever a big, powerful sedan that felt snug through the corners it's the RS 5. Its famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system does a brilliant job offering an almost insurmountable amount of grip. 


Image: Supplied 

In dynamic mode, the throttle response, gear changes and exhaust note take on an angrier tone. When driving the car dynamically, the hefty weight (four-wheel drive system and big V6 lump) is noticeable. 

In reality, the RS 5 Sportback is similar to the coupe, it's a brilliant grand tourer, a car that's able to eat up the kilometres in comfort.

It's not as engaging to drive as its competitors but has a brilliant interior with the firm's optional virtual cockpit, heads-up display and LED headlights that have a wonderful way of avoiding to blind other driver's eyes when in high-beam mode. 

In the end, the RS 5 is good to look at, swift on the road and enormously practical. Does it lack personality? Email us your thoughts. 


Image: Supplied 

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