Audi RS 5 Coupe launched: V6 twin-turbo replaces V8

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All-new Audi RS 5 revealed The Car Expert)

The all-new Audi RS 5 Coupe made its debut at the Geneva motor show last week, representing the apex of the new A5 range that has rolled out over the last six months.

The second-generation Audi RS 5 has a new 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine to replace the old model’s 4.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8 unit. The new engine, which has already been seen in sister brand Porsche’s Panamera, produces the same 450hp as the previous model, but with an increase in torque – now at 60Nm – across a wider range. The new engine is almost certain to be fitted into the new Audi R8 at some stage soon as well.

As well as improved output from the engine, the new RS 5 has been on a diet, weight has reduced by 60kg over the previous model. As a result, Audi claims that the 0-62mph time has reduced to 3.9 seconds, half a second quicker than its predecessor. The lower kerb weight should also result in improved handling, something the original RS 5 was heavily criticised for.

The quattro all-wheel drive system distributes drive to the front and rear axles in a 40:60 ratio, giving the new RS 5 a slight rear-wheel-drive bias. A torque vectoring sports differential will be available at additional cost.

Interestingly, Audi has replaced the old car’s double-clutch automatic gearbox with an old-school torque converter automatic transmission, although it has eight ratios compared to seven previously. This is presumably an attempt to improve emissions and fuel consumption on the official test cycle, rather than a decision to improve the driving experience.

The weight of the RS 5 has been reduced by 60kg. An optional carbon roof and ceramic brakes offer scope to reduce this further at extra cost.

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The new Audi RS 5 is allegedly the first car to benefit from Audi Sport’s new design philosophy, though as with any Audi design evolution, it is an extremely subtle shift in direction. Inspiration has been drawn from the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO racing car from the 1990s, though you would need to be a bit of an Audi fanatic to spot that.

Audi Sport claims that the koala-nose radiator grille (not an official term…) is wider and flatter than the regular A5, and the front and rear wheel arches have been pumped out in the usual RS style.

The new RS 5 comes with 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, with 20-inch wheels available. Customers can choose from the usual gloss black, carbon and matt aluminium packages, whilst Audi Sport offers an exclusive metallic Sonoma green paint finish.

Inside, the cabin gets the traditional RS treatment, with red highlights and stitching on the steering wheel, selector lever, seats and seat belts. The leather sports seats are available with diamond stitching, and RS logos are splashed across the cabin to remind your passengers that this is not a regular A5 diesel. The virtual cockpit display has been upgraded to provide information on tyre pressure, torque and g-forces.

The interior follows the layout established by the rest of the A5 range, and although UK specification has not yet been announced, it is reasonable to expect that the RS 5 will be equipped with a high level of comfort and safety equipment.

Order books for the Audi RS 5 Coupe are due to open in May, and the first customers can expect to take delivery of their cars in the Summer. If you like the sound of the RS 5 Coupe but would prefer it to be a bit more wobbly and blustery, a Cabriolet version is almost certain to be announced in coming months.

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Stuart Masson

Stuart is the Editor of The Car Expert, which he founded in 2011, and our new sister site The Van Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the car industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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