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Audi RS 5 Sportback debuts in New York

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The first Sportback version of the Audi RS 5 performance model has been unveiled at the New York Auto Show.

The five-door model will sit alongside the existing RS 5 Coupe, and employ the same mechanical specification including the 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine. This boasts two turbochargers mounted between the banks of cylinders.

Peak power of the unit is rated at 450hp, alongside 600Nm of torque produced between 1900 and 5000rpm. This results in a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds and the potential for a terminal speed of up to 174mph.

All-wheel-drive standard

An eight-speed automatic transmission is mounted as standard, its shift times tuned for more rapid response, and combined with the permanent all-wheel-drive. As standard, the power is split 40:60 front to rear, though when conditions require up to 85% can be sent to the front axle or 70% to the rear.

UK-spec RS5s also gain a sport differential on the rear axle. The cockpit-operated drive select control allows various aspects of the quattro all-wheel drive system and several other elements of the driving experience to be tailored to the driver’s individual preferences.

The car’s five-link suspension is also specifically modified to RS specification, while a sport variant on the options list includes Dynamic Ride Control – this offers adjustable, electronically controlled damping, along with ceramic brakes and RS-specific steering.

Exterior styling upgrades include extended wheel arches and a wide, flat single-frame grille, solid air intakes with a honeycomb structure typical of an RS, gloss black design elements and a front spoiler with matte aluminium quattro lettering.

The rear end gains an RS-specific diffuser insert, RS exhaust system with oval tailpipes and a spoiler lip. The RS 5 Sportback sits on 19-inch wheels as standard, while a range of 20-inch designs is on the options list.

Audi RS5 Sportback The Car ExpertInside are sport seats in Nappa leather with honeycomb stitching, a flat-bottomed multifunction sports leather steering wheel and RS-specific information displays in the ‘virtual cockpit’ digital display providing information on tyre pressure, torque and G forces.

The RS 5 Sportback will also be a practical performance car. Its boot offers a 480-litre capacity extending to 1300 litres when the rear seats are fully folded. Alternatively, these can be folded in a 40:20:40 split ratio.

Audi is targeting the RS 5 Sportback initially at the North American market, targeting the likes of the BMW M3 – a UK on-sale date is yet to be announced but industry observers predict it will be around the end of 2018.

Audi RS5 Sportback The Car Expert

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.