SOLDEU, Andorra – It's all the rage. After the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C 63, it's the Audi RS 5's turn to have its engine resized. So long, naturally aspirated V8, hello, 2.9-litre V6 with two turbochargers. Output at 444 horsepower is unchanged, but torque makes a prodigious leap from 317 to 442 lb.-ft. This is an authentic GT equipped with a high-performance all-wheel drive system for a ride that is as smooth as it is fast, regardless of weather conditions.
On the mountain roads of the Pyrenees, the RS 5 Coupé was up to the challenge, the turbochargers helping nullify the altitude effect that often afflicts naturally aspirated engines. Compared to the previous version’s V8, this twin-turbo V6 delivers maximum power at lower revs and maximum torque between 1900 and 5000 rpm, making the ride simultaneously smoother and more urgent. The 2018 Audi RS 5 Coupé owes its 3.9-second 0-100 km/h time to its all-wheel drive system, which guarantees optimal actuation as soon as you press the accelerator. But much more than its blistering time, it’s the way the car expresses itself that impresses, delivering a sustained forward surge that is characteristic of supercharged engines. The only drawback is that the sound is now more muffled than before.
Since the previous version’s seven-speed S tronic gearbox was incapable of dealing with the twin-turbo V6’s superior torque, it has been replaced by an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox. However, the RS 5 Coupé is keeping the full-time all-wheel drivetrain that sends 40% of torque to the front end and 60% to the back under normal circumstances. This ratio can climb up to 85% to the front end, if required.
The RS 5 Coupé’s style combines sportiness and performance, while demonstrating a certain degree of restraint. The wider black beehive grille and larger front air intakes are immediately noticeable, as are the fenders that are 15 millimetres wider than on the A5. In back, two large, oval tailpipes shape the diffuser and a discreet spoiler overhangs the trunk lid.
The cabin is proof positive that Audi is still the master of assembly and coordinating materials. The attention to detail is particularly striking when you notice the green stitching in the RS 5 Coupé’s Sonoma Green seats to mirror the vehicle’s unique body colour. Obviously, the Audi virtual cockpit is present and accounted for and includes a Dynamic mode that places the tach dead centre, flanked on the left by a G-force indicator and on the right by two indicators displaying power and torque as a percentage.
The 2018 Audi RS 5 Coupé will arrive in Canadian dealerships in the first quarter of next year, and its price should come in around the $87,000 mark, like the previous version.