The driving experience isn’t hugely different from before: The same 2.9-litre biturbo engine, 450hp and all-wheel drive with the Audi Sport Differential to help you go around corners faster, tyres that suck onto the road for maximum grip and a perhaps too well-behaved chassis.
Picking up speed and holding it is almost effortless, but this time round the RS 5 has the optional sport exhaust (S$5,985, black tips to clue you in) and a more aggro shift pattern.
As opposed to just Sport and Manual modes, you now have a Manual-Sport mode, which shows up as ‘MS’ on the dash. Hammer the gas, tug the pedal and the car gives a hilarious lurch and loud ‘bloorp’. Along with the sport exhaust, the car also seems to backfire every chance it gets.
It might sound pointless on paper, and without going into the entire ‘what makes a driver’s car’ debate, but it is good for an extra laugh or two, and gives the RS 5 a little more character to break up its previous overly-sombre presentation.
The latter also means it’s very good at pretending to be a normal A5 Sportback too. Just switch the drive mode to ‘normal’ and the whole car relaxes, only the stiffer suspension giving a clue at the Gs you can pull at a moment’s notice.
There is of course a liftback door, which opens to reveal a large, broad stowage area. The RS 5 SB has 465-litres, expanding to 1,280-litres with the seats down, which is far more than you’d get from a coupe, or even the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S sedan with 435-litres, and a squeezy sedan boot.
You can fit five people onboard, but four is more optimal since the second row’s middle seat straddles the transmission tunnel and is a little squeezy.
The RS 5 SB is a great case study of how the options list can help transform a car, and another bonus is that even if you do go a little wild on the spec sheet, you’re still tens of thousands off from the price of an roughly equivalent AMG. BMW’s new M3 and M4 are still some ways out, having just been announced.
If it was our money? We’d still go Audi, but not the Sportback: The wagon.
For all its visual charms though, the RS 5 still feels less special than the RS 4 Avant, perhaps the Avant’s boot and weight give it a little more wiggle for extra feeling of involvement, there’s also that special aura Audi’s sporty wagons always have. Read our review – and watch the video below – to understand the appeal.
And it can stow more, its upright wagon boot has 495-litres, expanding to 1,495-litres. Still, the coupe-esque shape is probably going to win a lot more fans than the hip-to-be-square Avant, and if you’re in that corner then the Sportback’s the one to get behind.
|Engine||2,894cc, V6, twin-turbo|
|Power||450hp at 5,700-6,700rpm|
|Torque||600Nm at 1,900-5,000rpm|
|Top Speed||250 km/h (limited)|
|Price||S$341,870 without COE|