Of the various memorable engine notes all through historical past, Audi has supplied up a few nice bangers. The whoosh and warble of the turbo inline-five from the groundbreaking Quattro conjures up peak rally greatness and is a brand-defining basic. Extra just lately, the first-generation RS5 thrummed to the palpable beat of a 4.2-liter V-8. Able to spinning as much as a dizzying 8250 rpm redline, its baritone scream created a lusty, lasting impression. However when the second-generation RS5 debuted for 2018, it misplaced not solely its V-8 but additionally its attendant sonorous magnificence. Though faster than and technologically superior to the previous 4.2-liter, the twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 delivered its stouter punch with all of the emotional engagement of Mark Zuckerberg testifying earlier than Congress. Somebody at Audi will need to have been listening to this deafening silence as a result of the 2023 Audi RS5 Competitors lastly has one thing attention-grabbing to say.
In its quest to make some noise, Audi began by ditching practically 18 kilos of sound insulation on the firewall to permit extra of the pure engine sound to filter into the cabin. A brand new exhaust system helps to additional uncork some combustive clamor. We suspect Audi has additionally turned up the digital enhancement, however at the very least now it is working with higher supply materials.
Not going about its obligation with bland stoicism, this newly vociferous mill responds with an authoritative growl even at partial throttle. All through the rev vary, the engine is now a way more prepared confederate, speaking its pleasure fairly than concealing it.
Whereas the character of the V-6 is vastly improved, its output scores stay the identical as earlier than: 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, despatched to all 4 wheels. We really feel Audi missed a possibility right here to affix the ranks of Alfa Romeo and BMW, whose blown sixes each push out greater than 500 horsepower from related displacement. Audi claims that revised engine software program will increase responsiveness and trims 0.1 second from the zero-to-60-mph dash. The final RS5 coupe we examined managed 3.5 seconds—faster than the Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio’s 3.6-second run however far shy of the BMW M4 Competitors xDrive’s 2.8-second blitz. The RS5’s prime velocity rises to a lofty 180 mph.
Equally, the chassis additionally advantages from a character makeover. A extremely tunable coil-over suspension provides a wide range of guide changes to journey peak, compression, and rebound. Hunkered down at its most pavement-hugging setting, the RS5 Competitors sits a full 0.8 inch decrease than the inventory RS5. We applaud this intriguingly mechanical flexibility, whilst we query what number of drivers will benefit from its capabilities. Regardless of being decrease and stiffer, this trick suspension sacrifices little in journey high quality, as we found on the twisty and bumpy mountain roads in southern Spain.
This renewed sense of vigor carries over to the observe as nicely. The Ascari raceway exterior of Ronda options an entertaining sequence of downhill bowls, off-camber sweepers, and a few sharp left-handers that at all times arrive before you count on. The RS5 charged by means of the course with a fervent glee. The eight-speed computerized will now maintain shifts at redline in guide mode, however we discovered the programming to be so good we merely let the gearbox do its factor. Upshifts are introduced with a decisive, kinetic shove, as if high-fiving the engine’s friskier demeanor. Dive right into a nook and the transmission holds steadfast onto the right gear for exit, even tickling the rev limiter if essential. Lap after lap, the carbon-ceramic brakes stored their cool, repeatedly erasing two tons of momentum with out fade and drama.
Once we final invited the RS5 to our Lightning Lap, in 2018, we fought to tame its hyperactive torque-vectoring rear differential. Audi appears to have exorcised these tail-happy demons; the RS5 Competitors now rotates predictably, fairly than impulsively, by means of a nook. The fixed-ratio steering additionally made navigating by means of turns extra confidence inspiring, although we felt it might stand to be even a hair faster. Grippy Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber supplies large stick and highlights the directional stability of the stiffer chassis. This RS5 desires to play.
As for its look, the RS5 Competitors shouldn’t be as extroverted as its mechanical aspect. In lieu of particular badging, the Competitors package deal could be recognized by its matte-black tailpipes and 20-inch bicolor wheels. The entrance splitter, rear diffuser, and exterior mirror housings are handled to a matte-carbon end. The Audi four-rings brand joins the blackout. An unique coloration for the Competitors package deal is Sebring Black, although it is extra of a shiny, deep celestial blue in particular person. Apparently unhappy with the quantity of black inside the cabin, Audi has paired it with a fair darker shade known as “tremendous black.” Pink accents present a pop of coloration on the seatbelts and ground mats. Contrasting crimson stitching highlights the steering wheel, shift lever, and heart console.
Alas, this daring newfound character comes at an equally assertive price. The Competitors package deal runs a hefty $16,100, and choosing it additionally triggers a seemingly unrelated $500 side-assist possibility. Collectively they bump the value of the RS5 coupe to $93,595 and the Sportback to $93,895. Whereas that is a big premium over the faster and extra highly effective BMW M3/M4 Competitors xDrive, including carbon-ceramic brakes and carbon bits to the BMW places the 2 Germans on comparatively equal footing. For 2023, the Mercedes-AMG C63 returns, this time sporting a turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid making 671 horsepower. With the Audi’s much-improved engine notice and driving dynamics, although, it isn’t a lot in regards to the numbers. It is extra in regards to the tune you need to sing.
2023 Audi RS5 Competitors
Automobile Sort: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe or 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
Base: Coupe, $93,595; Sportback, $93,895
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct gasoline injection
Displacement: 177 in3, 2894 cm3
Energy: 444 hp @ 6700 rpm
Torque: 443 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm
Wheelbase: 108.9-111.3 in
Size: 185.9-188.3 in
Width: 73.5 in
Peak: 54.0-55.1 in
Passenger Quantity: 84-91 ft3
Trunk/Cargo Quantity: 11-22 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 4000-4100 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 3.4-3.9 sec
100 mph: 8.8-8.9 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.9 sec
High Pace: 180 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 21/18/25-26 mpg
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