No matter how long you look at an RS 5, you won't figure it out.
German design dictates a certain amount of simplicity. Super sedans from the Old Continent shall not be festooned with obnoxious wings, super-aggressive splitters, and aerodynamic blades to generate extra Gs for corner-hugging handling. That's presented a challenge to engineers at Audi tasked with the job of generating downforce without ruining the visual balance of cars in its stable. For the RS 5 Sportback (and Coupe), the front airdam inlets hide a secret behind their grilles.
When speaking with Anthony Garbis, product manager for RS 5 at Audi of America, at the 2018 New York Auto Show, he gave us a little bit of insight as to what's happening behind the new RS 5's face. "Packaging wise, this car is very cool, because you can fit this big biturbo and all the tubing and all the cooling system in this engine bay," he said. "We have an oil cooler that's mounted parallel to the ground […] and it actually creates 3 pounds of downforce at 62 mph." The oil cooler is mounted behind one of the air ducts within the front fascia. Furthermore, the part helps channel air beneath the engine as it passes by.
It's all part of the same mission: keep everything cool in the RS 5's engine bay so its 2.9 liter TFSI V6 twin-turbo engine delivers its 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque as promised. But the engineered side effect is getting a little more aero effect from what would typically only be used to cool oil. "The fact that the engineers can get 3 pounds of downforce from the oil cooler is very neat," Garbis said. Without a big wing or massive front splitter, the RS 5 can use all the aero help it can get. So next time you hit that apex a mile an hour quicker than you thought was possible in your RS 5, thank the engineer behind that oil cooler.