Quattro all-wheel-drive, sleeper-status styling, luxurious and comfortable at speed. But a twin-turbo V6 instead of the iconic inline 5-cylinder? That’s not part of the classic Audi formula! Trust me, this car pulls it off extremely well, but let me explain how.
From the factory, the Audi RS5, (our test car was in ‘Sportback’ trim, so that means 4 doors and a hatchback!) is a pretty serious performance car as it is, with almost 450 horsepower going to all four wheels and an impressive transmission that flicks off shifts with chainsaw “brrrrap’s” every gear change. The owner of this 2019 RS5, Mike, who you can follow on Instagram @mike_maniscalco, decided he wanted to squeeze a little more performance out of his car. So what better to do than to tune the car with APR? This simple but crucial mod, along with a custom carbon fiber intake from @roc_euro on Instagram, increased power up to 500 horsepower and a similar number for the torque figure.
What really surprised me with this car was how much different it was from its 5-cylinder little brother that is the RS3. How so? Not only is it larger and less “race car” than the RS3, but the RS5 Sportback is also much more refined and comfortable, with more than usable back seats, massaging seats like the even larger RS7, and just much more refinement overall than the pocket-rocket RS3. On that note, the interior is stellar.
In my opinion, 2019 was the best year for Audi interiors, with the incredible first-generation digital dash, but the final rendition of the touchscreen sat on the dash as well. A perfect mix of peak Audi tech. There is, however, only one complaint I have with the interior on this RS5, the seats. Although supportive, heated, and equipped with a massage feature, they left me thinking that they were a little much considering what this car is. Almost too sporty for the likes of the RS5, but great seats nonetheless.
Now, onto the drive. As we pulled out of the lot, Mike dropped the car into Dynamic Mode, moved the shifter into manual, and floored it. This car pulls hard, way too hard for what it is, I was in awe. The boost is near-instant and the car didn’t stop pulling for the duration of the first few gears.
Mike took the car to some backroads so I could get an idea of how it handled, and if anything, this car feels much smaller than it's appearance and almost real-wheel drive. The car took every corner Mike threw at it with ease and incredible speed, slamming us into the bolsters of the seats.
Let me remind you, this car is only beastly when it’s called upon, other than that, your drive is relaxed and comfortable.
More importantly, this car lacks the cruising drone that haunts the 5 banger RS3. Mike told us on the drive, “I considered an RS3 for all the mods you can do, but the back seat was unusable and the interior quality of that car was far below this one.” So to conclude, if you’re considering a daily-driveable performance car that’ll look great at car shows but stealthy when you pull up to work, the RS5 is the one. Understated yet face-ripping. Worth every penny.
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The photographs used in this article were not taken by the SFCN Team. All image credit goes to @hilltopphotography_ on Instagram