This new, second-generation Audi RS5 Coupe doesn’t seem to be what most enthusiasts were hoping for. The first-generation car sported a rip-snorting, naturally-aspirated V8 that screamed to 8,250 rpm and made the most fantastic noise doing it. Its suspension was stiff to the point to being harsh and its grip was tenacious. The first-gen Audi RS5 was not a car bought by customers who were just trying to buy the highest trim level A5. It was a car for the enthusiast that wanted something brutally fast, that compromised everything in the name of speed and performance. The new Audi RS5? Not so much.
While the new RS5 Coupe is faster and more capable than the car it replaces, it’s nowhere near as exciting, nor as engaging. It’s quiet on the inside, comfortable and even has a smooth ride. Despite being punchier, its twin-turbocharged engine is subdued and muted. It’s more of a speedy grand-tourer, rather than an all-out sports car. Which is maybe why a Coupe body style isn’t as fitting to the RS5 as the Sportback body style.
It may sound like we’re being a bit hard on the new Audi RS5. If it seems like we don’t like it, we do. It looks great, if a bit too flashy, has a superb cabin, even if it isn’t any more special than the S5’s, and it’s fast as all hell. Fast grand-touring cars are great, they’re just not really what Audi Sport is all about. Unless, it’s Audi Sport’s way of creating an uber-fast variant of a more practical car.
The new Sportback body style for the A5/S5 is not only killer looking, it’s also more practical than the Coupe. It packs a back seat and increased cargo space, thanks to its liftback-style trunk. So it actually makes a bit more sense to think of it as the grand-touring model in the A5 lineup. Let the Coupe be the sports car and the Sportback can be the GT car. Having said that, the new Audi RS5’s more GT-oriented driving dynamics, wouldn’t it make more sense as a Sportback? We’ll soon find out, as such an RS5 Sportback is currently in development at Audi Sport.
To try and convince you even further, I point you to a car from another brand — the BMW M6 Gran Coupe. Drive the standard BMW M6 and you’ll be disappointed that it isn’t the hardcore sports coupe you thought it might be. It’s a great grand tourer, but that’s disappointing in a coupe as sexy as the M6. However, drive the BMW M6 Gran Coupe and it suddenly starts to make brilliant sense and it became the best BMW M car in a very long time. So I’m thinking that the same logic will apply to a potential Audi RS5 Sportback. Adding two rear seats and more practicality would suddenly make its more subdued nature far more logical and turn the RS5 into a much better overall package.
So we can’t wait for the RS5 Sportback to finally hit American roads. We think it will be the RS5 to have, as it makes more sense as a package.