What Does The 2018 Audi RS5 Mule We Spied Testing Say About The Future Of German Muscle?

Spy Shots

My my, Mr. Audi...what big wheel arches you have.

America isn’t the only place with muscle car wars. The big three German automakers also enjoy stuffing high-output engines under the hoods of two-door luxury cruisers. Usually Audi is the last of the three to the refresh party. BMW has had the new M4 out since 2014 and Mercedes is on the verge of starting to sell the C63 AMG coupe. Audi is just about ready to release the new A5 coupe on June 2nd and that should be followed by the mid-range S5 next year.

What we see here is the red-hot and top-trim RS5 mule, making its rounds at the Nurburgring and possibly practicing for a rematch with the M4. This version probably won’t make it to dealerships until 2018 as a 2019 model, but it will be worth the wait. The car should feature Volkswagen’s MLB platform which will drop some weight off of the current RS5’s bulky 4,000-pound (and up) frame. These spy shots show extended wheel arches, which are in place to enable a wider track and wheels but which will disappear before production. Rather than extensions the finished car should have flared wheel arches that will be integrated into the fender as well as a new front bumper, oval exhaust tips, and large cross-drilled rotors to stop the car.

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Like its fellow German racers the RS5 will be subject to stringent fuel economy regulations, meaning that the 4.2-liter V8 that lives under the hood of the current model will vanish in favor of a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine. It may actually be the same engine that's featured in the Porsche Panamera S. Like the current RS5, Quattro all-wheel drive will be standard and no manual shifter will be present to liven up the experience. Instead, either a seven-speed dual-clutch or an eight-speed box will mediate the experience and help the turbo V6 get better gas mileage. We can’t wait until the next gen RS5 hits the market to see how it stacks up against the other two Germans, or even the best-selling Ford Mustang.