by Michael Butler
Talk fast Audis, and the first words that usually come to mind are quattro and turbo. The German marque has been building some of the most capable all-wheel-drive sports cars over the past four decades, and the Audi RS5 Coupe is one of them. For a long while, it was untouched in this segment of the market, but with all of its main rivals now offering AWD, Audi has had to adapt to the times and become more competitive in other areas. The RS5 is powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 444 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. While it's quick, the RS5 has suffered from a muted soundtrack, although it has gained a sportier edge with the new Competition Package that will allow it to more closely match the superb BMW M4. Unlike the M4, there is no rear-wheel-drive or manual RS5, but if you want a comfortable, easygoing daily driver with heaps of performance when you're in the mood, the Audi is tough to beat.
Customers in the USA can now expect to find the comprehensive Competition Package as a $16,100 option on the 2023 Audi RS5 Coupe. That's a lot of money, but it adds a host of racy features that enhance the cars appearance and dynamic capabilities. That includes front ceramic brakes, a coilover suspension system, Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, and a top speed raised to 180 mph.
For the color palette, Sonoma Green and Turbo Blue have been deleted, but Ascari Blue is a new addition.
The Audi RS5 comes with a base price of $77,900 before a destination charge of $1,095. There are many ways to raise the price of the RS5, and the main one is by adding the Competition Package - it costs a whopping $16,100.
See trim levels and configurations:
2.9L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
Cars that wear the RS badge represent the pinnacle of Audi performance and tend to be equipped with Audi's famous quattro AWD system. This system has been refined to the point where it offers beautifully balanced and neutral-feeling handling, but as we found in our Audi RS5 Coupe review, understeer still creeps in more than we'd like. Additionally, the electronic steering provides little to no feedback, which makes trusting the car difficult, especially at the limit. The good news is that there is plenty of mechanical grip right up to the understeering edge, and the RS5 loves to rocket out of corners thanks to all that torque on offer from the twin-turbocharged V6. With the latest Competition model, Audi has also removed some of the car's sound deadening which has a noticeable and welcome effect on the engine note. The braking is also a strong point and feels easy to modulate. The BMW M3 and M4 are much sharper tools, but the new Audi RS5 Coupe feels like the more accomplished cruiser and is deadly as a point-and-shoot machine.
On paper, the RS5 sounds great: turbocharged V6 power, AWD traction, coupe styling, and Audi build quality on the inside, but in reality, it falls short. Some other Audi RS5 Coupe competitors are sharper in the corners, and the RS5 also isn't as quick as them. Tie that in with an uninspiring engine note and a car that understeers at the limit, and you're left wanting more. Fortunately, you can now improve the experience by opting for the new Competition Package with its RS Sport exhaust system and sharper dynamics. On the downside, this raises the price to well over $90,000, or around $10k more than the well-sorted BMW M4 Competition xDrive. In terms of quality, comfort, and showroom appeal, this remains a fantastic car. But you have to pay too much to make it the engaging and entertaining sports coupe it should've been from the start.
This section presents a bit of a quandary as we believe the base RS5 is all you need, especially since this is more of a GT than an all-out sports car. We'd add the $3,000 RS Driver Assistance Package, though.
However, the base version isn't the best RS5. That honor goes to the Competition Package, but at $94,000 in total, it's very difficult to justify when a new BMW M4 Competition xDrive retails for over $10,000 less. If you must have the best RS5, however, then we happily recommend the $16,100 Competition Package.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Audi RS5 Coupe: