Audi RS5 coupe

Price  £59,870 - £68,870

Audi RS5 coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Comfortable front seats
  • Impressive performance
  • Good build quality
  • Expensive to buy
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Not much fun to drive

At a glance

The greenest
4.2 quattro 2dr £59,870
The cheapest
4.2 quattro 2dr £59,870
The fastest
4.2 quattro Limited Edition 2dr £68,870
Top of the range
4.2 quattro Limited Edition 2dr £68,870

"Rapid acceleration and a quality interior balance out the Audi RS5's slightly mundane feel."

The Audi RS5 was launched in the 2010 to mark the 30th anniversary of the classic Audi Quattro, and honoured it well by adding more power and introducing a new level of technological innovation.

Easily rivalling the likes of the Mercedes C63 AMG and BMW M4, the RS5 has a powerful 4.2-litre V8 engine – the same one used in the Audi R8 supercar. The car has four-wheel drive and a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox that makes it very easy to drive, but it always hints at what it can really do if you put your foot down.

The RS5 is based on the Audi A5 Coupe, but has beefed-up looks, with a mesh grille up front and larger wheels and wheelarches all round. Inside, four occupants should be able to fit comfortably, while the cabin is well constructed from high-quality materials. There are some model-specific touches designed to really make the RS5 stand out from the rest of the A5 range. The main caveat is that it's not quite as involving to drive as Audi suggests.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2 / 5

Not quite as efficient as main rival the BMW M4

With claimed fuel economy of 26.9mpg, the Audi RS5 will certainly set you back a bit at the pumps, especially if you like to drive it to its full potential. CO2 emissions of 246g/km mean it'll cost £490 a year to tax. Also, servicing, tyres, replacement parts and insurance will expensive, so, whichever way you look at it, the RS5 is going to cost a lot to run.

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

The RS5 has massive amounts of grip in any weather

Here’s where we get to the heart of the matter – all of the RS5's power is channelled through the car's four-wheel drive system and tamed by sophisticated stability and traction control. This makes it a highly competent car, but it's not exciting enough. The 444bhp V8 petrol engine launches the RS5 from 0-62mph in only 4.5 seconds. but you never feel as involved with the RS5 as you should and it definitely isn’t as much fun to drive as the BMW M4. Four-wheel drive does mean it deals well with any weather conditions, so it’s easy to drive fast, even in the wet. You can also tweak the acceleration and steering to suit your needs using the Drive Select system.

Interior & comfort

3 / 5

The interior feels upmarket, but rear space is tight

The RS5 is comfortable enough, but it's not about sheer driving luxury. It’s fitted with automatic adaptive suspension, which means it can deal well with most surfaces at any speed. Thanks to some suitably padded front seats, long-distance driving is fairly easy, even with some road noise intruding due to the low-profile tyres. Rear-seat passengers will be less happy, however, as there's only really enough space back there for children.

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

The RS5 is only available as two-door and the seats are tight

Back seats that are really only suitable for children doesn't do the RS5 any favours in this category. Once you've actually managed to clamber back there, the seats themselves are comfortable enough, but access is extremely tricky, even compared to the RS5’s main competitors. Plus, there isn’t much head or legroom. Fortunately, the 455-litre boot expands to 829 litres when the standard split-folding rear seats are folded flat. Up front, the dashboard and controls are clearly laid-out and built from decent-quality materials. There are also lots of storage cubbies and handy nooks dotted around for stashing your bits and pieces in.

Reliability & safety

3.5 / 5

Audi has a good reputation for reliability and safety

Audi has a reliability record in line with that of the rest of the Volkswagen Group, but even so, it only managed a mid-table 13th-place finish out of 32 brands in the 2015 edition of our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. The RS5 itself didn't feature in the survey, but the A5 on which it's based finished an impressive 26th of the top 200 cars.

It does feels very well made, with an interior constructed of high-quality materials and doors that close with a satisfying thud. The V8 petrol engine has been tried and tested in a number of other Audi models, so has a proven track record, while the RS5 also comes with plenty of safety equipment, including six airbags, electronic stability control (ESP), ISOFIX child-seat anchor points and massive brakes. You can also add optional extras such as adaptive xenon headlights, lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring.

Price, value for money & options

2.5 / 5

This top-of-the-range model isn't cheap

As the top-of-the-range Audi A5 model, the RS5 costs quite a bit. The sheer power of the engine and decent standard kit serve to sweeten the pill, but it still costs twice as much as the entry-level A5. All RS5s are fitted with leather upholstery, a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox and adaptive suspension. Resale values are strong, in part because of the RS5's relative rarity.

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"The Audi RS5 offers masses of performance and four-wheel drive, but the BMW M3 is more fun in corners."
4 / 5
"It's nothing like as characterful as the last Audi RS4 and for all its technical brilliance it lacks roll-on performance – ironically just the type that the turbocharged Audi S4 offers. It's a fine car, but a long way from perfect."
8 / 10
"Overall, the Audi RS5 will be exactly what most people want most of the time. It goes faster than anyone will ever need, pootles around town brilliantly, is comfortable, well made and exclusive, looks good and grips well. But I still wouldn't buy one."
Last updated 
24 Jan 2014
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