2020 Audi RS 5 Sportback Review: Back Attack

The Audi RS 5 Sportback facelift is in Singapore, and it gets a bit more attack to go with its strangely impeccable manners this time around


The Audi RS 5 Sportback has, like the rest of Audi’s A5 family, been facelifted for 2020. A very fast and rather practical five-door, high-performance fastback, the update makes the biggest progress by boosting the driving experience.  

We’ve tested the new A4 sedan, as well as the closely-related A5 Sportback, both cars receiving similar mid-lifecycle facelifts.

Like the A4 sedan, the A5 receives a nip-tuck for visuals, and an interior that migrates to touchscreen-only. 

Audi RS5 Sportback review Singapore
The pre-facelift RS 5 Sportback in Sonoma Green

We tested the pre-facelift model just a year ago, and Ju-Len concluded that the RS 5 SB is ‘more angel than demon’ and less feisty than cars from BMW M or Mercedes-AMG, something that seems to have been engineered entirely on purpose.

What the RS 5 needs, and that could extend to the RS 5 Coupe as well, is more drama to go with its significant speed. This car does that, with the help of the options list, and the facelift improvements. 

Subtle enhancements to the nose make the car look even more aggressive than before. The usual longer, lower, wider changes apply – in contrast to the regular A5 – but notice now how the bonnet stretches a little more over the nose, around the grille. Also tucked between the bonnet and grille is the triple-vent homage to the Audi Sport Quattro.  

Top that off with the grey paint and you have a distinctly sharklike appearance as the focused front end gradually tapers over the muscular bodywork and bulged fenders. A5 Sportbacks have always been handsome cars, and the RS treatment suits it.

But ‘RS’ also where you can employ catalogue choices to make a big difference in looks. 

Contrast this car’s Nardo Grey non-metallic paintwork with the Sonoma Green of the RS 4 Avant, or the previous RS 5 SB. The 20-inch wheels are the same size as standard issue items but these particular wheels are also the most expensive: Bronzed Audi Sport items that are milled from aluminium, probably the costliest way of making wheels but also creating light and strong ones. They cost S$9,584.

While the exterior form is quite different, inside the RS 5 is almost identical to the RS 4: A quality-feeling cabin with a clean layout uplifted with perforated leather, sport seats, faux carbon inlays, made even cleaner by the removal of the Audi MMI controller, with infotainment functions going to the 10.1-inch touchscreen. 

The same 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit greets the driver’s eyes, but new to the game is an ‘RS’ button on the steering wheel.

Unlike M’s dramatic red mini-paddle, it’s really just a button, clicking it activates one of two sub-presets for go-faster driving.

At the same time, the Virtual Cockpit morphs to a bar-style rev counter, and displays G-force or even a drag-time recorder. 

Continue to Page 2: Driving experience, practicality – and the RS 5’s biggest problem.

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong