Ascari Blue. What a colour.

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The 2021 Audi RS5 Sportback has 444 horsepower, 442 pound-feet of torque and will strike sixty mph in considerably less than 4 seconds. It has Quattro all-wheel generate with a torque-vectoring rear differential, ceramic entrance brakes, adaptive dampers and a activity exhaust. Toss in a ton of tech, comfy lodging and a liftback condition that is both equally trendy and purposeful, and the RS5 positions by itself as one particular hell of a go-fast all-rounder. So why don’t I want one particular?


  • Appears to be terrific
  • Comfy cabin
  • Useful cargo keep
  • Major-notch tech

Don’t Like

  • Numb steering
  • Lacks emotion
  • Ascari Edition is tremendous highly-priced

This car’s greatest dilemma is that it desperately lacks drama. It can be not adequate for the RS5 Sportback to just be brief, fast or agile. It desires to be visceral. It desires to be enjoyable. It desires to make you chuckle. You ought to want to generate it more challenging and more challenging, again and again. Audi definitely nails this unquantifiable emotion with automobiles like the R8, RS6 Avant and even the electrical RS E-Tron GT. The RS5, by comparison, is type of sterile.

The 2.nine-liter twin-turbo V6 has a great deal of shove, but it really is way too quiet — ditto the RS Activity Exhaust. The eight-velocity automatic transmission shifts promptly and seamlessly, but the little, steering wheel-mounted paddles offer no experiential attract. At the very least the RS5 is a lot more gas-economical than other sporty compact luxury automobiles, returning eighteen mpg city, 25 mpg freeway and 21 mpg put together. Typically I’d say very good luck hitting those quantities supplied the RS5’s efficiency stats, but considering that this vehicle genuinely would not eke you into driving it hard, those EPA quantities are pretty location-on.

To its credit history, the RS5’s adaptive dampers make it genuinely comfortable to generate around city, and it will gobble up hundreds of miles on the freeway. But when you contact up Dynamic method and stage the RS5 up a mountain road, it really is like you happen to be forcing it to do anything it really is not up for. There is pronounced system roll in fast corners and audible protesting from the 275/30R20 Pirelli P Zero tires. You’d imagine Audi’s activity steering selection would aid liven items up, but it really is way too light and way too numb, no matter of generate method. The ceramic brakes are a great deal powerful, but the inconsistent pedal feel hampers self esteem. Genuinely, the RS5 is happiest when you happen to be rocking a reasonable rate, which type of defeats the reason. The BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 may not be as effectively-rounded, but holy smokes are they a lot more entertaining. And isn’t really that what produced you want to acquire one particular of these in the very first position?

All the aforementioned efficiency kit can be equipped to any RS5, but it will come standard with my check car’s constrained-run Ascari Start Edition pack. Only one hundred RS5 Sportbacks and 25 RS5 Coupes will be optioned like this, painted in the properly named Ascari blue, which is a hue so pretty it just about tends to make up for some of this car’s shortcomings. Paired with matte aluminum trim, this RS5 appears to be like sizzling as heck, and those 20-inch wheels genuinely fill out the wheel arches for a terrific stance. The distinctive-edition trimline also will come with a 360-diploma camera process, head-up display screen, adaptive cruise manage, lane-maintaining guide, navigation and a bunch of other goodies. Then again, looking at the Ascari Start Edition is a $20,500 selection, it had freaking much better be fully loaded.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The RS5 receives the exact updates as Audi’s other 2021 A5/S5 models. You’ll discover the redesigned headlights, wider grille and greater exhaust pipes, and within, Audi’s up-to-date MIB 3 infotainment interface is displayed on a ten.1-inch touchscreen. This tech is terrific — vibrant, responsive and straightforward to get the job done via, with Google Earth map imagery and a standard Wi-Fi relationship. You can use Apple CarPlay wirelessly or hook up Android Auto with a USB cable. Blended with Audi’s usually-awesome Digital Cockpit digital gauge cluster, the RS5’s tech sport are not able to be defeat.

A further significant earn, the RS5’s Sportback condition provides a heap of functionality. The whole rear hatch opens to expose 21.eight cubic feet of cargo area guiding the rear seats, which is a lot more than double what you get in an RS5 Coupe. You can fold the back bench down to have extended objects, way too, building this one particular of the most purposeful automobiles around that would not get slapped with an SUV or crossover designation.

At the very least the RS5 appears to be like awesome.

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All items considered, the RS5 Sportback would make a terrific day by day driver. But $seventy six,445 (together with $1,045 for place) is a whole ton of money, and if I am shelling out for an RS-badged Audi, I want it to make me feel all the inner thoughts. Oh, and this Ascari Start Edition rings up at $96,945, which would ordinarily make some modicum of feeling supplied its constrained-run status, but not when the RS5 is so inherently meh.

Moreover, if it really is quiet competence you happen to be just after, why not just get an S5 Sportback? It can be each and every little bit as luxurious and purposeful, and you can get a generously geared up one particular for around $65K. The RS5 may have an extra 95 hp, but it just isn’t really truly worth the included cost. Keep in mind, specs don’t usually notify the whole story.