In Audi nomenclature, A designates a standard model in its line of cars. S replaces the A for sport-tuned versions of its models. But there is a higher level. RS indicates sport-tuning that borders on madness. At the 2010 Geneva auto show, Audi showed off the all-new RS5, based on the A5 Coupe.
Audi released the A5 and its sport-tuned sibling, the S5, in 2007. The coupe showed remarkable styling and the S5 offered excellent performance. But now Audi ups the stakes with the RS5. Both S5 and RS5 use a 4.2-liter V-8, but the RS5 is tuned for 101 more horsepower, up to 450 over the S5. Audi also claims 22 mpg for the RS5, although that is not an EPA-tested number.
As Audi models go from A to S to RS, the grille styling becomes more aggressive. The same happens with the RS5, its grille a chain-link-covered maw covering the front of the car, with two lower air-intake bookends featuring similar styling. The RS5 features Audi's signature LED running lights for a unique look at night.
Being an Audi, the RS5 comes standard with Quattro all-wheel-drive, which biases torque 40 percent to the front and 60 percent to the rear, shifting up to 85 percent to the rear as needed. Audi only offers its sport rear differential, which vectors torque between the rear wheels, as an option. That differential should be standard.
Driving enthusiasts might decry the absence of a manual transmission, but this stick controls Audi's latest seven-speed dual clutch automated manual. It can be sequentially shifted, or put in automatic mode. As there is no torque converter, it does not have the slushiness of a standard automatic transmission.