Audi RS 5 Sportback

Editors' Review

The 2021 Audi RS5 Sportback has 444 horsepower, 442 pound-feet of torque and will hit 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. It has Quattro all-wheel drive with a torque-vectoring rear differential, ceramic front brakes, adaptive dampers and a sport exhaust. Throw in a ton of tech, comfy accommodations and a liftback shape that's both fashionable and functional, and the RS5 positions itself as one hell of a go-fast all-rounder. So why don't I want one?

This car's biggest problem is that it desperately lacks drama. It's not enough for the RS5 Sportback to just be quick, fast or agile. It needs to be visceral. It needs to be exciting. It needs to make you laugh. You should want to drive it harder and harder, again and again. Audi absolutely nails this unquantifiable feeling with cars like the R8, RS6 Avant and even the electric RS E-Tron GT. The RS5, by comparison, is kind of sterile.

The 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 has plenty of shove, but it's too quiet -- ditto the RS Sport Exhaust. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly and seamlessly, but the small, steering wheel-mounted paddles offer no experiential draw. At least the RS5 is more fuel-efficient than other sporty compact luxury cars, returning 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. Normally I'd say good luck hitting those numbers given the RS5's performance stats, but since this car really doesn't eke you into driving it hard, those EPA numbers are pretty spot-on.

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The Good ~ Looks great ~ Comfy cabin ~ Functional cargo hold ~ Top-notch tech

The Bad ~ Numb steering ~ Lacks emotion ~ Ascari Edition is super expensive

The Bottom Line The Audi RS5 Sportback looks great on paper, but its less-expensive siblings are better buys.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 8.5
  • Media 9

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