2013 RS5 Coupe
Really Spectacular Coupe
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD – When you have a 450 horsepower V8 under the hood, a dash to 60 in 4.5 seconds, and all the important elements set on “Dynamic” you are set for a wonderful ride.
But don’t think this a rude, crude coupe. The wizards at Audi’s Quattro GMBH also factored in a nice helping of refinement in the RS5 coupe that sets it apart from the much loved TT RS that we tested earlier.
There is an impeccably finished interior, Nappa leather bucket sets, a Bang & Olufsen Sound System mixed with the delightful sounds that emanate from the sport exhaust system as the tach easily spins to 8,000 rpm.
Audi’s drive select system adjusts the transmission shift characteristics, throttle response, steering and differential when the operator selects Auto, Comfort, Dynamic or Individual settings. Set it all up correctly, and the RS5 sticks to the road like a Chicago Cubs fan sticks to his gum and Wrigley Field.
Adding to the fun is the RS5’s rev matching on down shifts that sends a nice little blat back through the interior. While drivers can shift the seven-speed transmission for themselves via large paddles on the steering wheel, I found it just as easy to let the car do its thing.
The self-locking differential can vary the distribution of power between front and back with up to 70 percent flow to the front axle or as much as 85 percent to the rear. Fitted to the test car were optional 275/30 Pirelli P Zero summer tires mounted on just plain gorgeous 20” 5-arm Rotor Wheels.
Should you ever get the chance to take one to a nearby track don’t pass up the opportunity to see how this autobahn inspired coupe can feel so solid and stuck to the road on its way to the electronically governed top speed of 174 miles per hour. One could also then fully try out the standard Launch Control system.
As I enjoyed the twisting West Virginia pavement at its finest, (at speeds well under the car’s max,) the satellite channel pounded the “Ritual Fire Dance” which seemed ever so appropriate. The car simply hugged the road and was not flapped by a bumpy reverse elevation right turn that can upset lesser models.
Yet out on the interstates, and dialed back to the auto setting, the RS5 was simply perfect for long drives and I longed for some of those western interstates with their 80 mph speed limits.
The black gauges with white lettering extended the sporty feel of the car along with the small and flat bottomed steering wheel. Audio controls and ventilation were easy to figure out. But I wondered why Audi placed the music interface with iPod cable in the rather small glove box.
Very annoying was the so called Parking Assist that beeped incessantly even when there was no danger of hitting something when backing out of a parking space. It should be pointed out that this is not exclusive to the Audi brand. Disable it, and the rear view camera also exits from the color screen atop the center stack.
A better idea was the blind spot detection lights in each of the outside rear view mirrors.
The navi system features Google Earth, a 3D satellite and aerial imagery that features a camera zoom feature that allows closer views of surroundings or destinations. Real time traffic info is also part of the plan with a four year subscription standard. Perhaps longer exposure to Google maps would change my mind, but I found myself going back to the more old-fashioned navi map because I was able to grab a quicker read while driving.
By the way, this high performance coupe carries no gas guzzler tax, with an EPA rating of 16/23 mpg on premium fuel. I would image that most drivers would come in on the low end of that scale, closer to my 19 mpg.
Audi’s somewhat conservative exterior design still managed to turn heads wherever it went. Two men approached in a shopping center parking lot and said, “We just wanted to look at your car.” They gave it two thumbs up as they climbed back into their pickup.
There is nothing easy about balancing high performance and sports car handling with the refinement expected in high priced coupes. The engineers in Ingolstadt produced one that in German is very schon, pronounced shurn, which translates in my dictionary to beautiful, fine and nice.
With the $3,500 MMI Navigation system, $2,500 Titanium package and $1,000 Sports exhaust system, (don’t pass this one up,) the test car sold for $77,320 with delivery.
The downside is that Audi will import the RS5 only in limited quantities.