The Know It Guy

First Drive: 2018 Audi RS 5

As pleasantly aggressive as it is at the eyes, the meaner stance and flared bodywork of the 2018 Audi RS 5 doesn’t inform the complete tale in the back of this transformed coupe. The maximum giant transformation lurks beneath its creased and widened skin, particularly the swapping of its big, certainly aspirated V-eight for a smaller, torque-per twin-rapid V-6. Welcome to the inevitable destiny of Audi Sport, in all its predictably downsized and turbocharged glory.

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The faster trend is a bit of a new car cliché, bringing with it left-brain justifications in addition to predictable chatter from fans about the loss of certain intangibles. The RS 5 enjoys the everyday benefits — for starters, the smaller engine weighs sixty-eight pounds less, alleviating some of the nose-heavy weight distribution and moving the auto’s stability rearward via a 1/2 percent factor, to fifty-seven/forty-three. The discern is still now not ideal, however, it’s absolutely a step in the proper route.

The RS five’s 2.9-liter V-6 — also determined within the Porsche Panamera — produces the same 450 horsepower as its predecessor, however, profits a substantial a hundred twenty-five lb-feet of torque, for a complete of 442 lb-feet. Impressively, that figure plateaus from 1,900 rpm to 5,000 rpm and bests the R8’s base V-10 through a splendid forty-four lb-feet. Audi’s familiar DSG transmission has been swapped for a ZF-sourced 8-pace with a traditional torque converter due to the fact a dual-snatch unit couldn’t manage the motor’s prodigious twist, in keeping with Audi Sports development boss Stephan Reil. Fuel performance improves by means of 17 percent over the outgoing V-8, with the U.S. Equal of the New European Cycle equating to someplace within the neighborhood of 19/27 mpg town/toll road.

Power is shipped via a Torsen differential, which employs a 40/60 the front-to-rear split and might route as a whole lot as 85 percentage to the rear or sixty-five percentage to the the front. A mechanical torque vectoring device uses two clutches at the rear axle to overdrive the outside wheel, with additional brake vectoring at all 4 wheels.

Though it grows in length by means of 2.Nine inches, the RS 5 loses 132 pounds thanks to aluminum components like an tool panel substructure shaped from extruded move individuals, bringing diminish weight to 3,648 pounds. Front strut domes now use forged aluminum production in place of welded sheet metal, aiding structural stiffness and guidance response. An optionally available carbon-fiber roof shaves an extra 6.6 pounds however is unavailable on U.S.-bound automobiles.

The cabin additionally feels incrementally roomier thanks to a zero.6 inch growth in wheelbase, which provides almost an inch of rear legroom, supporting make the again seats sense nearly liveable for average-sized adults. Luggage area increases by using zero.Four cubic feet, offering a high-quality-in-elegance general of 16.Four cubic feet.

Cockpit Action

Climb into the RS 5, and a few competitive information quietly clamor for interest, especially the flat-bottomed guidance wheel, paddle shifters, and to be had comparison-stitched leather or Alcantara trim on key controls just like the shifter and wheel. Unlike in advance Audi models, the 8.Three-inch navigation display screen is sadly fixed in the area. At least the MMI wheel, touchpad, and tough buttons play well collectively. Also available is Audi’s slick Virtual Cockpit, which transforms the distance previously referred to as the analog dashboard into a customizable, 12.3-inch TFT display screen. Unique to the RS software are displays that make the tachometer trade to yellow or crimson while approaching redline, as well as engine output gauges, tire stress and temperature, and g-forces.

Our test power took us from the flatlands of Toulouse, France, to the sci-fi-ish principality of Andorra, a tiny nook nestled within the switchback-encumbered peaks among France and Spain. Unlike the outgoing RS 5, which howled its manner to an eight,500 rpm redline, the new version’s punchier personality is exceptional tapped at low- and mid-variety rpm, wherein the center of its sonic soul additionally happens to are living. At mellower engine speeds (and in the quick space between shifts), a low-frequency hum fills the cabin. It’s diffused and almost soothing but now not totally actual thanks to a tiny shaker on a metal flap that permits a number of the engine sounds to resonate off the windshield.

Regardless of its authenticity (or lack thereof), the deep frequency sounds are discreet enough to add some plenty-wished character to the V-6’s repertoire, assisting an otherwise highly quiet powerplant via lending it an air of persona. It’s no unfastened-respiration, excessive-screaming V-8 — indeed, it gives a wholly more tender-spoken fine — but at the least the V-6 produces subtle audio and, in sportier modes a huskier track and a fulfilling off-throttle crackle uncorked via an exhaust valve.

While the V-6 isn’t as gloriously long-winded because the high-revving V-8 changed into, it does % an intense punch. Drop the hammer at low rpms, watch the thin-line digital boost gauge increase, and feel the whoosh of electricity because the engine winds up, urgent you firmly into your stitched leather-based seat. Shifts all through mellow driving can be a tad jerky (even in milder using modes) however turn out to be mockingly more comfortable when the going receives faster. There’s a certain understated first-class to driving the RS five quickly, due in part to its quite subdued engine sounds. Squeeze the throttle, and the automobile’s raison d’être instantly alters; when driven, the RS five can launch to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, removing any suspicions of its moderate-mannered pretenses. Keep the shifter in its standard mode, and there’s sufficient torque accessible to deliver robust acceleration. Tap it down for S mode, and energy turns into greater with ease available. Use the Drive mode pick out toggle for a greater aggressive setting, and the revs stay high with quicker upshifts and less difficult downshifts.

The RS 5 felt accurately agile at the frantic switchbacks of the jagged Andorran countryside, thanks in part to a new hydraulically linked shock device inherited from the S8 version that’s a part of the Dynamic bundle (together with sport exhaust and purple brake calipers). The machine makes use of valve-adjustable shocks interconnected with hydraulic traces for greater body control, and the gadget can pay off through feeling poised and responsive. Though steering is typically inoffensive, the dynamic steerage alternative does deliver some synthetic feeling remarks at some stage in certain mid-nook maneuvers. Our tester become prepared with the Dynamic Plus package deal, which provides ceramic the front brakes with massive 15.7-inch rotors, a tire temperature and stress show, a carbon engine cover, and a top pace limiter that lifts from one hundred fifty five mph to 174 mph. The brakes, which are large than the R8’s, deliver convenient stops at breathtaking speeds.

In the case of the 2018 Audi RS 5, does development equate to pleasure? We can’t assist however admire the concept of a lighter, nimbler, and considerably quicker vehicle that propels its gadget and instrumentation firmly into the twenty-first century. Does it sacrifice the (semi) analog joy of an evidently aspirated V-8 in the manner? Most truly, sure. But the tradeoffs, at least when accomplished with an eager eye towards electricity and managing as they have been with the RS five, cross a protracted manner closer to giving drivers something to stay up for within the courageous new turbocharged world.

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