In a world where even the BMW M4 is now offered with all-wheel-drive, the likes of the Audi RS5 Coupe no longer have the monopoly on high-performance all-weather grip. But that doesn't mean it's totally irrelevant either. With a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 developing 444 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, the AWD RS5 is still an impressive performer. Thanks to a redesign for the 2021 model year that included wider bodywork and styling mildly reminiscent of the rally heroes of the eighties, the RS5 looks as good as it goes. Is it a true sports car, or is it just a big, heavy, luxurious grand tourer?
Last year's RS5 Coupe saw a refresh that came with styling and specification changes, as well as two expensive limited-run launch editions. This year, Audi has concentrated its efforts on refining the options and packages, with a selection of new ones being available. The Dynamic Plus package comes with carbon-ceramic front brakes and increases the top speed to 174 mph. The Bronze Styling package adds bronze styling accents inside and out. The RS Design package includes floor mats with the RS logo, seat belts with red accents, and imitation suede on the steering wheel, shifter, and center console.
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2.9L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
These days, the modern Audi is generally much more averse to the understeering tendencies of old. Cars like the TT RS handle beautifully, but sadly, even the latest iteration of the RS5 has failed to join the ranks of modern cars with AWD that remain balanced and neutral. It's a lot better than it used to be, but this is still not a precision tool like the BMW M3 or M4. With an electric steering system now the norm, it feels a bit pointless to mention that the wheel is devoid of feel and doesn't communicate what the front tires are doing, but it really makes a big impact on how much you can trust the car. Fortunately, the firm yet supple ride helps make up for these shortcomings, and the RS5 remains quite flat even when you're pushing it. The brakes are also easy to modulate with good pedal feel and do an excellent job of bringing this hulking mass of Audi engineering to a stop. Ultimately, this is very much an Audi that you point and shoot. Go into the corners with caution and exit them with reckless abandon for the best results. Just don't expect a sonorous exhaust note to follow in your wake.
The Audi RS5 Coupe is a sports car conundrum. It provides great performance but doesn't sound that good anymore, and many rivals will outrun it. It comes with quite a few advanced conveniences but expects you to pay more for commonplace items like the navigation package. Furthermore, its AWD system is expected to endow you with more confidence, but the way the car understeers when you're approaching the apex of a corner at high speeds has the converse effect. It also tries to be practical with four seats but has a relatively small trunk. What's more, the options you really want are ridiculously expensive. We quite like the way this car looks and goes, but it just feels like there's something missing. From our point of view, the RS5 Sportback is a more logical choice, and for those who insist on a coupe, we recommend looking at competitors, either the all-new BMW M4 or shopping for a C63. It's not that the RS5 Coupe sucks, it's just too vanilla to be our first choice.
The 2022 BMW M4 gives the 2022 RS5 sports coupe a real run for its money. Starting at $71,800, it's cheaper, and with the availability of RWD and a proper manual gearbox, it's certainly the enthusiast's choice. It also has a bigger trunk with 15.5 cubic feet, and with 473 hp under the hood for the base entrant, it has more power than the Audi, but trails on the 0-60-mph sprint with a 4.1-second effort. Opting for the 503-hp M4 Competition xDrive will see that time drop to 3.4 seconds though - and it's still under $79,000. The M4, polarizing looks aside, is also more practical for rear-seat passengers thanks to more legroom. We also love the way BMW's modern iDrive infotainment system works, and with far more customization options promised, it'll be easy to make the M4 stand out. As we said at the outset, a test drive of the car will shed more light on things, but for now, the specs favor the Bimmer.
The C63 is also due for an overhaul, but it's only coming later in 2021. While it is yet to be seen whether losing the V8 will dramatically alter the way we feel about this car, for now, we can still enjoy a 4.0-liter twin-turbo motor that develops an RS5-pummelling 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic sends power to the rear wheels exclusively in traditional AMG fashion. However, this is one of the few cars in the segment with an even smaller trunk than the RS5, with the Merc's measuring just 10.5 cubes. Still, for luxurious comfort with rip-roaring power, the C63 is a highly attractive offering. Thanks to Merc's MBUX infotainment system, the C63 is a good car to fiddle around with too. For those who don't like the intricacy of Merc's interiors, the Audi is probably a safer bet. But if you like noise, power, and sideways fun, the C63 is the better choice. And what's more, Merc even offers a bonkers C63 S with over 500 horses. Sorry Audi, but you're out of your league.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Audi RS5 Coupe: