It doesn’t happen everyday that you drive a car which makes an angry, howling sound when you step on the gas; it doesn’t happen everyday that the faster you drive, the effortless the experience becomes; it doesn’t happen everyday that you actually celebrate driving.
Agreed, we don’t have muscle cars in India, but we do have high performance versions of some sedans, sedans are that powerful in their own right. What comes to mind are the ‘AMG’ editions of Mercedes-Benz, the ‘M’ models of BMW, and the ‘S’ and the ‘RS’ series of Audi.
The Ingolstadt, Germany-based company makes two kinds of performance cars—the ‘S’ and the ‘RS’. The difference is that while the S-branded cars—S4, S6, S8—have powerful engines but retain all the comfort features and can be used for daily driving conditions; the RS-branded cars focus chiefly on performance and less on comfort. Technically, while the ‘S’ stands for ‘Sport’; the ‘RS’ initials are taken from the German RennSport, translated as ‘racing sport’. Today we review the Audi RS 5.
Few cars boast of a sight that sports car fans cannot get enough of. The front end is clearly characterised as an Audi RS model by the Audi single-frame radiator grille. Then there are big air intakes that not only guarantee a supply of cool air into the engine but also look good. Accentuated wheel arches and large wheels define the muscular side contour of the RS 5. The rear has clear lines into which the bumper blends harmoniously. In fact, the car perhaps looks the best from the rear with the twin-exhaust giving it a mean character. The spoiler, which automatically extends out of the tailgate at speeds in excess of 120 kmph to increase downforce, completes the striking look.
Step inside and the first impression you get is of a tastefully done and impeccably executed cabin. What will catch your eye is the shaped sports seats in Alcantara-leather combination or Silk Nappa leather (depending on which model you buy). Then there are sporty controls such as the RS 5 multifunction leather sports steering wheel, the RS 5 selector lever knob and aluminium look pedals.
You just need to fire the engine to feel the power under the hood. That power is generated by the 4.2-litre V8 FSI engine that generates a whopping torque of 430 Nm between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm.
Adjust your sitting position, wear the seatbelt, fire the engine, put the RS 5 gearbox into the Dynamic mode, hear the twin exhausts crackle, find a long straight road, and step on the gas. The throttle response is instantaneous—almost like an on-off switch. But the exhilaration doesn’t end here. Put the gearbox in the Sport mode, and the throttle response is not instantaneous, it is absolute insanity! The car is so fast that you won’t even have time to look at the speedometer. In fact, you shouldn’t. But if you really need figures, here they are: the RS 5 sprints from 0 to 100 kmph in a blink-and-you-miss 4.6 seconds, and onwards to the 200 kmph mark in a further 10.9 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 280 kmph.
But the RS 5 is not just about speed. It’s more about control. What if you suddenly see a blockade on the road? Just step on the brake pedal as hard as you possibly can. You may feel your heartbeat, you may get sweaty palms, but from 100 kmph the RS 5 will come to a standstill in lesser time than taken to reach there. Then, features such as electronic differential lock, anti-lock braking system and anti-slip regulation ensure the car doesn’t skid.
Driving around Delhi, which boasts of the country’s finest roads, we did find a blooper. Because of the RS 5’s low ground clearance, it scraped a few ‘tall’ speed-breakers—it may not have damaged the car’s underbody, but will surely scratch the owner’s heart. Also, one must keep in mind that after a long drive, the owner will be substantially poorer—the RS 5, clearly, is not a fuel-efficient car in the true sense of the word. In the Sport mode, the car will return you 6-7 kmpl and in the Dynamic mode you may get a maximum of 10 kmpl.
For R98.3 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), what you get is a high performance car that can also be used for the daily office commute—but only if you drive since the RS 5 is a two-door, four-seater car and getting in the rear seating area is an arduous task. It has a huge boot and all the creature comforts you will expect in a car this price, minus the soft suspension. We don’t have muscle cars in India. The concept, in fact, is American. The two that immediately come to mind are Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. The Audi RS 5 may not be a muscle car, but it is no less either.