Ascari Blue. What a colour.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The 2021 Audi RS5 Sportback has 444 horsepower, 442 pound-feet of torque and can hit 60 mph in lower than 4 seconds. It has Quattro all-wheel drive with a torque-vectoring rear differential, ceramic entrance brakes, adaptive dampers and a sport exhaust. Throw in a ton of tech, comfortable lodging and a liftback form that is each trendy and useful, and the RS5 positions itself as one hell of a go-fast all-rounder. So why do not I would like one?

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Appears to be like greatComfy cabinFunctional cargo holdTop-notch tech

Do not Like

Numb steeringLacks emotionAscari Version is tremendous costly

This automobile’s largest drawback is that it desperately lacks drama. It isn’t sufficient for the RS5 Sportback to only be fast, quick or agile. It must be visceral. It must be thrilling. It must make you snigger. You need to wish to drive it tougher and tougher, time and again. Audi completely nails this unquantifiable feeling with vehicles just like the R8, RS6 Avant and even the electrical RS E-Tron GT. The RS5, by comparability, is sort of sterile.

The two.9-liter twin-turbo V6 has loads of shove, but it surely’s too quiet — ditto the RS Sport Exhaust. The eight-speed computerized transmission shifts rapidly and seamlessly, however the small, steering wheel-mounted paddles provide no experiential draw. At the very least the RS5 is extra fuel-efficient than different sporty compact luxurious vehicles, returning 18 mpg metropolis, 25 mpg freeway and 21 mpg mixed. Usually I might say good luck hitting these numbers given the RS5’s efficiency stats, however since this automobile actually does not eke you into driving it onerous, these EPA numbers are fairly spot-on.

To its credit score, the RS5’s adaptive dampers make it actually comfy to drive round city, and it will gobble up tons of of miles on the freeway. However once you name up Dynamic mode and level the RS5 up a mountain street, it is such as you’re forcing it to do one thing it isn’t up for. There’s pronounced physique roll in quick corners and audible protesting from the 275/30R20 Pirelli P Zero tires. You’d assume Audi’s sport steering possibility would assist liven issues up, but it surely’s too mild and too numb, no matter drive mode. The ceramic brakes are loads highly effective, however the inconsistent pedal really feel hampers confidence. Actually, the RS5 is happiest once you’re rocking a reasonable tempo, which type of defeats the aim. The BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 may not be as well-rounded, however holy smokes are they extra entertaining. And is not that what made you wish to purchase one among these within the first place?

All of the aforementioned efficiency equipment may be fitted to any RS5, but it surely comes normal with my take a look at automobile’s limited-run Ascari Launch Version pack. Solely 100 RS5 Sportbacks and 25 RS5 Coupes will probably be optioned like this, painted within the appropriately named Ascari blue, which is a hue so pretty it virtually makes up for a few of this automobile’s shortcomings. Paired with matte aluminum trim, this RS5 appears to be like scorching as heck, and people 20-inch wheels actually fill out the wheel arches for an incredible stance. The special-edition trimline additionally comes with a 360-degree digicam system, head-up show, adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help, navigation and a bunch of different goodies. Then once more, contemplating the Ascari Launch Version is a $20,500 possibility, it had freaking higher be totally loaded.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The RS5 is happiest once you’re rocking a reasonable tempo, which type of defeats the aim.

The RS5 will get the identical updates as Audi’s different 2021 A5/S5 fashions. You will discover the redesigned headlights, wider grille and bigger exhaust pipes, and inside, Audi’s up to date MIB 3 infotainment interface is displayed on a ten.1-inch touchscreen. This tech is nice — colourful, responsive and simple to work by way of, with Google Earth map imagery and an ordinary Wi-Fi connection. You need to use Apple CarPlay wirelessly or hook up Android Auto with a USB cable. Mixed with Audi’s always-awesome Digital Cockpit digital gauge cluster, the RS5’s tech sport cannot be beat.

One other large win, the RS5’s Sportback form provides a heap of performance. The entire rear hatch opens to disclose 21.8 cubic ft of cargo house behind the rear seats, which is greater than double what you get in an RS5 Coupe. You may fold the again bench down to hold longer gadgets, too, making this some of the useful automobiles round that does not get slapped with an SUV or crossover designation.

At the very least the RS5 appears to be like superior.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

All issues thought-about, the RS5 Sportback would make an incredible day by day driver. However $76,445 (together with $1,045 for vacation spot) is an entire lot of cash, and if I am shelling out for an RS-badged Audi, I would like it to make me really feel all the sentiments. Oh, and this Ascari Launch Version rings up at $96,945, which might usually make some modicum of sense given its limited-run standing, however not when the RS5 is so inherently meh.

Apart from, if it is quiet competence you are after, why not simply get an S5 Sportback? It is each bit as luxurious and useful, and you may get a generously outfitted one for round $65K. The RS5 might need an additional 95 hp, but it surely simply is not definitely worth the added value. Keep in mind, specs do not all the time inform the entire story. 

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