Audi RS5 Sportback – exec' cruiser gets arches, attitude and power
From the people who know a thing or two about combining lots of performance with lots of practicality – the first Audi RS in 1994 was an estate remember – comes the new RS5 Sportback, unveiled at the New York Auto Show this week.
While the RS5 is already familiar from the coupe launched last year, this is the first time the evocative initials have been attached to the five-door Sportback body. Think of it as poor man’s Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo.
The addition is not entirely unexpected; there is already an RS3 Sportback and an RS7 Sportback (as well as RS4 and RS6 estates). It’s a nifty bit of range in-filling then, though in a market niche where Audi is adamant there are no direct rivals for it.
And it does make for an obvious mash-up. Potent 444bhp drivetrain, practical five-door, five-seat body (480-litre boot seats up, 1300 litres seats down), distinctly un-boxy profile and of course quattro all-wheel drive will ensure this is a car likely to tick plenty of boxes for many people.
The RS5 Sportback gets the latest wider single-frame Audi grille up front, as well as the expected body-building RS trademarks, but otherwise is familiar. It’s got the same footprint as the RS5 two-door and shares its running gear and 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6. The 444bhp and 443lb ft of torque on offer are said to be enough for 0-62mph in a brisk 3.9 seconds, matching the coupe’s time. 174mph is the top speed if you ask for the car to be de-restricted.
RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control electronically-controlled damping, ceramic brakes and RS-tuned steering are among options.
It’s up against BMW M models and the new Mercedes-AMG C63, but neither of them is available in five-door fastback style. Yes it’s a niche, but a nice one. No word yet on UK deliveries but it should be here by year’s end at not much more than the mid £60k of the two-door.