Some cars can feel hard to really pin down.
You digest the spec sheets and read the reviews.
Yet still it feels like you're only getting a glimpses of what the car is all about.
The new Audi RS 5 is just such a car.
Some seem to like it.
Some seem to loathe it.
Others don't care to feel anything at all about it.
So we thought we should spend some time with this elusive car and try to bring everything into focus.
I can completely understand why this car confuses people.
Is it an RS.
Isn't an RS.
Driving along normally like this in comfort mode, it really doesn't feel very RS at all.
But let's take the individual components in order.
[SOUND] Let's start with the engine.
Despite being wonderfully smooth and eager to rev, there's been much chatter about the fact it is a turbocharged V6, not a naturally aspirated V8.
Admittedly, it doesn't have a spine tingling [INAUDIBLE].
[SOUND] But it doesn't sound unpleasant like a [INAUDIBLE] teenager.
Reductions in this also means the V6 weighs 31 kilos less than the old V8.
And as we'll see later, that's important when the engine's the thing leading the charge into corners.
Some people have also gripped that it's remarkably similar to the V6 and it's little brother the S5, albeit with two turbos instead of one.
And despite the added refinement, and impressively swift shifts.
Something and eight speed auto, has no place in an RS.
With 444 brake horse power, and 442 pounds for the torque, what is not in doubt, is the performance of this.
Which I shall now demonstrate.
Now foot on the break.
Naught to 60 miles an hour in about 3.5 seconds.
Add a claim to that 3.9 but everybody seems to have done this [UNKNOWN] it will do it in much less than that.
Next up the looks which are very RS.
The stance, the wheels, the aggressive lines.
It's all a big step on from the rest of the rather dull 85 range.
You gaze upon it and thin it's a triumph for the rs starling department.
But then they go and do things like this.
Which are fake and serve no useful purpose.
No holes in there.
How about the interior.
Well it's very nicely appointed.
You'd be happy to spend many hours in here.
Comfortably crossing continents, or just sitting in traffic wondering whether the other lane's moving faster than you.
But while it's lovely, it's not particularly RS.
Yes, there are badges here, here, here, and here.
But the actual things you want, like this, the drive select.
That should be up here on the wheel like in an R8, not sort of shoved away over there apologetically and inconvenient.
And another thing.
What is this?
What beautifully tactile.
Cheap and plastic?
It's an RS.
The money should be spent on this, not this.
So what about the handling?
Is that RS enough?
Well, the suspension hardware is a five link setup at each corner.
This Quattro, as you'd expect, with a rear bias torque splitting 40 to 60.
A standard in the UK, the RS5 gets Audi's torque vectoring sport differential on the rear axil.
While this car also has the optional RS sport suspension, with dynamic ride control.
But what does all this equate to on the road?
There's a temptation to approach this car, again, with a baggage of old Audi RS' and think that it's just going to be a fairly under steering, uninspired lump.
And initially, because the steering is not that quick and the ride is actually ver subtle and all.
You sort of think, yeah it's just going to be pretty middle of the road.
Lots of grip no dire, but very good But when you push this car harder, you can feel how much lighter the nose is now.
And with the tour vectoring sport differential at the back, you get a lot of power really early on the corner.
You can feel it accelerating that outside wheel.
It also rides the bumps really well.
I found that in dynamic mode for the suspension, it's just a little bit too fun, but if you notch it back in the individual mode to auto, that really helps.
Comfort is you get too little body control.
But auto just worked perfect.
It's a really impressive car actually this.
When you take your time to get to now it.
It can dissect a good bit of road in surprising fashion.
I think the reason that the RS-5 can be confusing is that it doesn't cover the middle ground very well.
It can play the big, quiet, soothing, every day car extreme well.
It can tackle a challenging road with real pace and poise if you push it hard.
Just as a n RS should.
But you're only at about six tenths it doesn't really engage and excite and it can feel just a bit insipid.
Once you know that it can do the really quick stuff well, you're not so bothered that it doesn't shout and wriggle and writhe the rest of the time.
You don't mind that it generally feels more S than RS because you know that it can perform when required.
But on initial acquaintance, until you know its hidden talents, it can feel like a bit of a letdown.
So what do we conclude about this car?
Is it a RS?
Yes, yes I think it is, because do you know what, the RS4, the RS2 The RS-6.
they've never been the most dynamically competent cars compared to their rivals.
But we love them.
I think the fact that this is a coup type body it's what's always kind of got in the way of people judging it on its own terms.
Audi now says it's a GT and I think that's how it always should have been perceived really.
Think of an economy GT Wonderful car.
Dynamically, not the best.
But, you love it because it's a brilliant GT car.
I think the RS5 needs to be cut a bit of slack.
This is a very good GT car, that's surprisingly capable.