Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 Audi RS5How do you say "Ay, Caramba!" in German?
Audi's RS car, that's their answer to AMG and M, and if you need to ask me, if you need one, the answer is no. For the rest of you, let's go for a ride in the 2013 Audi RS5. It's finally here in Check the Tech. Spotting an RS is not difficult. Go to the grill, when you see that chainmail ripped off the bosom of King Arthur, you know you found one. Need more convincing, go around the stern, look for that little power lift on the trunk, and optionally, those big old, kind of black finished exhaust tips. They're optional, but they sound as big as they look. Now, first of all, because this car is really a road story, I'm not gonna kill you with the usual tour of the cabin tech. Look at any of our other 2013 Audi videos and you'll get a deep dive on this, but I'll give you the top line. We have the optional nav system, not standard even in this rather pricey RS5, but once you get that, you've got some of the best navigation and media tech in the business, 2 key reasons: Google Earth is your mapping interface. That's outstanding, and Google Search Live through a built-in SIM card and 3G connection right there in the dash. Now, let's get this some electromechanical tech. This shift right here indicates the only transmission available in the RS5, and that is a 7-speed, dual-clutch, automated manual, a DCT. As you see, you've got a pull back to drive mode. Another kick to automated sport mode right drops you into manual mode where it'll hold whatever gear you're choosing, and that can be selected either by the shift lever or with the singular paddles on the wheel. By that I mean, one is for downshift; one is for upshift, and as an overarching principle, this is where Audi's basic design language today really shines in a car like this. Every Audi kind of seems to be designed in a techno performance manner. So this car really leverages that. Everywhere you look is kind of a technical, comfortable raised cabins sort of language. Also optional here is this little button which unlocks a whirlwind of stuff. That's the Drive Select button. When you press that, you can go through several modes, either a comfortable Ride and Steering mode as well as different auto response and shift points. You can go to what they call Dynamic. That's sporty. You can go to Auto where it kind of finds its own way, or you can go to Individual where you set the parameters yourself of how the car behaves, but note, RS5s in this country do not come with an adaptive suspension. The European ones do. The upfront in the RS5 is a V8, but kind of a pocket V8, not by today's standards, but back in the old days, we used to call this thing a rat motor, a little small block. It's a 4.2 liter, naturally aspirated, no turbos or superchargers here. Although Audi does use those in some cases, not on this guy, and that makes it kind of an honest motor at 450 horsepower, but note the torque, 317 foot-pounds. I don't think I can recall a bigger delta between those two in any car we've reviewed lately, so I'm gonna be intrigued to see if it's gutless in any part of the rev range, 0 to 60 on this 4000-pound car, takes only 4.5 seconds. So, clearly something is working down here. Now, as I've mentioned, this power only goes out through 1 transmission, a 7-speed, dual clutch and only through quattro all-wheel drive, which in this case is kind of sport tune to put 60 percent of the power down to the rear wheels by default as sporting choice, and it's also got some cornering logics and torque victory. As you're going around the corner hard, it's gonna put more power to the outside rear to kind of wheel you around and counteract this car's tendency toward understeer. You've got the three phases to be with this car. First of all, in the Standard Drive mode and maybe you've got the Drive Select, that optional personality selector, and Auto, for example. This is a really nice every day driving car, obviously, with a lot of skills, but then you could drop this guy in the spur. With one more kickback on the wheel, lots of things change. Everything sharpens up. Gears get held longer. It's very noticeable, but it's not nuts. You also get your throttle, blipping logic now, so as you come down in speed, the car will rev and blip and grab the next gear that way. It's all very cool stuff and it sounds great and all that. Put it over here in Manual now and get on these paddles that I so wish were on the column, and this is where this car obviously really shines. The grip and the neutrality of it are so nice. They've really dialed in this quattro system; I think my favorite of any of the Audis, and there's no drama. That's what's interesting about this car. You know a lot of cars that have this kind of pretention, they're very high-strung. This car is not, and that I think is part of the interesting balance between horsepower and torque. This is not a car that is so twitchy that when you get on the throttle, you've suddenly gone to some places you didn't wanna get. You can mash and go there, but you can also fetter it in. It's a real driver's car. Nuance is spoken here, and that's what I like about this versus some of its more testosterone-laden competitors. A couple other thoughts, this DCT gearbox, can you hear that? That's a great sounding exhaust. This sport exhaust has a real throat to it when you step on it. That's got some valving technology built in. It really opens it up and starts to bark when you get in it and then backs it off a little when you're not, and it's got a base note to it that you don't normally associate with German cars. It's more of an American muscle thing. God, this car is fun to toss. Okay, let's price this 2013 Audi RS5. It starts off almost exactly at 70 grand delivered. We don't even have nav or CNET toys in there yet, so add $3500 or so for the nav package. That's navigation with the Google stuff, B&O audio, rear camera, HD radio, and that Wi-Fi hotspot you don't care about. Now, $3250 more gets you a driver assistance package, and it's actually kind of cool. It gets you adaptive cruise control. You also get dynamic steering. So the ratio changes as the driving conditions do, and you're also going to get the Audi Drive Select. That button that gets you four personalities. Now, add the sport exhaust for a $1000 more. No brainer to me, and you're at about 766 done CNET style and also basically loaded with the exception of a couple of wheel options. This is an interesting car. It's kind of a summer car for all seasons because they've softened the ride enough to make it a good daily driver, and they've ended up doing pretty good on the MPG, given its performance profile.