Drop-top fans will have to stick with the less powerful S5.
Audi's RS range of pumped-up performance models includes the RS3 with its characterful five-cylinder turbocharged engine and the comically powerful RS7 which makes nearly 600 horsepower. Slotting between these models is the RS5, available as both a coupe and a more practical sportback. You'd think that the RS5 is the ideal balance of RS attributes, but curiously, we've been a bit underwhelmed by this model. So, news of an updated 2021 RS5 naturally piqued our interest.
Autoblog recently caught up with Rolf Michl, the head of sales and marketing for Audi Sport, to find out more about the freshened up RS5 models and what the various styling and tech upgrades will entail (pictures haven't been released just yet). The 2021 update is perhaps a bit surprising considering that late last year, the RS5 gained a number of styling tweaks. We'll get the bad news out of the way first, then: don't expect an RS5 convertible anytime soon. Plus, the powerful but rather passionless V6 engine remains as is.
It's a pity, because Audi's chief rivals both offer fast, charismatic convertibles at this price point in the shape of the BMW M4 and the Mercedes-AMG C63. What changes are on the cards, then? Well, the existing coupe and sportback have revised styling cues.
"The main thing we did was to sharpen the lines and the design," explains Michl. "We gave it a totally new front bumper, for example, with a wider and flatter grille." Michl goes on to say that three vents have been added which hark back to the original Audi Quattro.
The carbon-fiber roof remains an option (shedding 6.6 pounds from the RS5 Coupe's weight), but it's still not available for the sportback, which Michl says is more of a daily driver. Power is unchanged, with the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 making 444 hp and 442 lb-ft - although this engine provides brilliant acceleration, it's just not as evocative as the previous large-capacity V8.
In the classy cabin, another update is the new MMI infotainment system which gains a 10.1-inch touchscreen. The use of haptic and acoustic feedback improves usability, as in other new Audis.
Elaborating on why a convertible RS5 hasn't been considered, Michl said: "At the moment, we see that with the RS4 Avant, the RS5, and the RS5 Sportback, we are matching absolutely every wish, so a convertible is not under discussion right now." Of course, you can still get an S5 Convertible with a solid 349 hp - considering that the RS5 isn't quite as exciting to drive as the badge would have you believe, maybe it's not too disappointing that a drop-top RS5 doesn't form part of Audi's plans.
Audi's updates to the 2021 RS5 should see it emerge as an even more competitive product when it goes on sale, even though we would have loved to see a drop-top and, beyond this, a more exciting engine. Audi is yet to confirm details of the range's pricing.