2019 Audi RS 5 Expert Review

4.8 Overall Score
Performance 4.8 Comfort 4.7 Styling 4.7 Value 4.6

Editor's Overview

The 2019 Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback are two impressive midsize-performance machines. As if the 444-horsepower biturbo V6 engine wasn’t enough to win us over, Audi has equipped the RS 5 twins with seductive styling, a plethora of high-tech features and a suspension so well tuned even the most novice driver will be able to tackle twisting turns like a pro.

You'll Like The 2019 Audi RS 5 If...

If you’re looking for a highly refined European sports sedan that knows how to pamper its occupants while simultaneously winning over tech-savvy family members, the 2019 Audi RS 5 is going to make you a very happy shopper. While some may prefer the coupe’s cozy design, the Sportback is far more practical yet no less thrilling.

You May Not Like The 2019 Audi RS 5 If...

If you’re looking for a car you can take to competitive events and leave all others eating your dust, you might be better off in one of the RS 5’s track-honed competitors. Those seeking much of the style and features of the RS 5, but not its lofty price, should look to the 2019 Audi A5.

What's New

The 2019 Audi RS 5 adds a 5-door Sportback model to the lineup. New standard features this year include Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, MMI Navigation Plus, Audi Connect Prime and Plus, Audi Phone Box and, on the Sportback, rear-seat USB charging ports.

Interior Features

Few will find fault with the beautiful passenger cabin within the 2019 Audi RS 5. A hallmark wraparound dashboard, near-impeccable ergonomics, and brilliantly illuminated high-resolution screens simplify vehicle operation. Materials fit and finish is first-class, too, an accolade that Audi has earned over the past decade. Differentiating the RS 5 Coupe and Sportback interior from its standard Audi A5 siblings are the contoured bucket seats, with RS embossing, a fat -- flat-bottom -- steering wheel with paddle shifters, and stainless-steel pedals. The Coupe’s rear seats are cramped and uncomfortable. If you need more space, the Sportback adds about 2.5 inches more rear legroom and about an inch more headroom.

Exterior Features

While the Audi RS 5 is a high-performance derivative of the standard S5, there is no mistaking its high-performance mission. With heavy design influence from Audi’s racing 90 quattro IMSA GTO, the RS 5 Coupe features a wider and flatter Singleframe signature grille, wider front and rear quarter panels (note the gray extension on the outboard side of the headlights -- that accommodates the flare), a lowered ride height, and wider wheels. There is a discreet rear spoiler on the back decklid, and the rear valance has been re-sculpted to accommodate signature oval “RS” exhaust pipes. The Sportback is no less attractive, but adds 2.3 inches to the wheelbase and length.

Driving Impressions

Where some performance cars ask you to sacrifice comfort for flat-out performance, the 2019 Audi RS 5 makes no such demand. In fact, we think most drivers will be more than satisfied with the RS 5’s balance of a comfortable ride, sophisticated cabin and exhilarating straight-line performance. With a push of a button, the turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 roars to life, and once the accelerator is depressed, the engine exhibits minimal throttle lag resulting in instantaneous acceleration.


On the road, the 4-mode Drive Select system allows the driver to tailor the RS 5’s ride and handling to suit the situation. Comfort delivers a relaxed drive, with a less firm ride but still sharp handling perfect for highway driving. Dynamic mode activates the optional electronic dampers and, in our option, makes the ride much too firm, bordering on jarring. The remaining settings include Auto and Individual, the latter allowing for driver customization. Beyond the suspension, the RS 5’s steering is spot-on, its brakes confident even after repeated hard braking and its body roll kept to a minimum. The turbocharged V6 feels like it could run at top speed all day long and never break a sweat, yet considering its immense output, fuel economy is really quite good.

Pricing Notes

Base price of the 2019 Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback is $75,195 (which includes a $995 destination fee). As expected, the price is slightly higher than the $70,145 base price of the BMW M4, and the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe at nearly $70,000. Nearly all buyers in this premium segment will add about $10,000 (or more) in options, raising the average purchase price to about $80,000. Keep in mind that most shoppers aren’t seeking the least expensive in this segment -- this is an emotional purchase, based on visual impact, perceived cachet, luxury, and even the sound of the exhaust note. However, to make your best deal on a new Audi RS 5, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their cars. We expect the 2019 RS 5 to hold its value on par with its primary rivals the BMW M4/M5, Cadillac CTS-V and Mercedes-AMG C63, and better than the Lexus GS-F and Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe.

Notable Equipment

Unlike standard A5 models, which are offered in several trim levels, the 2019 Audi RS 5 is all-encompassing -- there is just one premium trim, which is very well configured. The extensive list of standard equipment includes perforated leather upholstery with diamond stitching, smartphone integration, RS sport suspension, 19-inch wheels with performance tires, 3-zone automatic climate control, Audi Virtual cockpit, MMI Navigation Plus, Audi Connect Prime and Plus, direct tire-pressure monitor, a panoramic sunroof, and Audi Pre Sense Basic, which is a suite of safety-related driver-assistance systems.

Notable Options

Like many premium automakers, Audi offers RS 5 buyers a rainbow of choices in terms of an exterior color -- far beyond the standard palette -- with its Audi Exclusive program. Vivid exterior colors may be matched with carbon-fiber cabin inlays, and optional wheels. Enthusiasts will want the Dynamic Package, with red-painted brake calipers, upgraded suspension, and sport exhaust, while those seeking the ultimate in cabin appointments will want the Fine Nappa leather package with contrasting stitching, LED interior lighting, and leather on the center console and armrests.

Favorite Features

2.9-LITER BITURBO V6 ENGINE

Borrowed from the Porsche Panamera 4S engine bay, the RS 5’s 2.9-liter biturbo V6 delivers impressive performance without much penalty in the areas of fuel consumption. The copious low-end torque is neck-snapping, and the sound emitted from the exhaust is music to an enthusiast’s ears.


AUDI VIRTUAL COCKPIT

Audi’s Virtual Cockpit might be the coolest thing since navigation was introduced to the cockpit. The virtual gauges, driving information and navigation are contained in a brilliantly clear 12.3-inch digital display backed by a lightning-fast Nvidia quad core processor.


Under the Hood

The 2.9-liter biturbo V6 in the RS 5 is a masterpiece of engineering. Power is ample regardless of where the tachometer needle is pointing, and ample low-end torque all but guarantees neck-snapping performance in the blink of an eye. All that power is routed through an 8-speed automatic transmission well versed in how to handle it. From there, power runs out to the quattro all-wheel-drive system with a self-locking center differential that distributes it to the front and rear axles in a 40/60 split.


2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6

444 horsepower @ 5,700-6,700 rpm

443 lb-ft of torque @ 1,900-5,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg

Editors' Notes

Hot on the heels of its newest sports coupe, Audi adds a 5-door Sportback model to the 2019 RS 5 lineup, bringing a bit more practicality to this impressive midsize-performance machine. As if the 444-horsepower biturbo V6 engine wasn’t enough to win us over, Audi has equipped the RS 5 twins with seductive styling, a plethora of high-tech features and a suspension so well tuned even the most novice driver will be able to tackle twisting turns like a pro. Ready to challenge the likes of the BMW M4/M5 and Mercedes-AMG C63, the RS 5 does impress. For those loving the new 5-door’s look, the A5 Sportback offers the same styling and creature comforts, only minus the power, for a lot less money.

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