2021 Audi RS5 Sportback review: Where’s the drama?

Ascari Blue. What a colour.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The 2021 Audi RS5 Sportback has 444 horsepower, 442 pound-toes of torque and will hit 60 mph in considerably less than 4 seconds. It has Quattro all-wheel drive with a torque-vectoring rear differential, ceramic front brakes, adaptive dampers and a activity exhaust. Toss in a ton of tech, comfy lodging and a liftback condition which is both stylish and functional, and the RS5 positions alone as 1 hell of a go-speedy all-rounder. So why don’t I want 1?


  • Appears terrific
  • Comfy cabin
  • Functional cargo hold
  • Top-notch tech

You should not Like

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

This car’s biggest challenge is that it desperately lacks drama. It’s not more than enough for the RS5 Sportback to just be fast, speedy or agile. It needs to be visceral. It needs to be remarkable. It needs to make you chortle. You must want to drive it more challenging and more challenging, once more and once more. Audi completely nails this unquantifiable experience with autos like the R8, RS6 Avant and even the electric powered RS E-Tron GT. The RS5, by comparison, is variety of sterile.

The 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 has a good deal of shove, but it really is way too peaceful — ditto the RS Activity Exhaust. The 8-velocity automatic transmission shifts speedily and seamlessly, but the small, steering wheel-mounted paddles offer no experiential attract. At the very least the RS5 is much more gas-economical than other sporty compact luxury autos, returning eighteen mpg town, twenty five mpg highway and 21 mpg put together. Normally I’d say very good luck hitting those people numbers provided the RS5’s functionality stats, but since this auto definitely will not eke you into driving it tough, those people EPA numbers are really spot-on.

To its credit history, the RS5’s adaptive dampers make it definitely relaxed to drive about city, and it’s going to gobble up hundreds of miles on the highway. But when you connect with up Dynamic method and place the RS5 up a mountain street, it really is like you might be forcing it to do something it really is not up for. You can find pronounced entire body roll in speedy corners and audible protesting from the 275/30R20 Pirelli P Zero tires. You’d think Audi’s activity steering alternative would assist liven things up, but it really is way too gentle and way too numb, irrespective of drive method. The ceramic brakes are a good deal effective, but the inconsistent pedal experience hampers self esteem. Truly, the RS5 is happiest when you might be rocking a moderate rate, which form of defeats the intent. The BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 may possibly not be as perfectly-rounded, but holy smokes are they much more entertaining. And is just not that what created you want to purchase 1 of these in the initial area?

All the aforementioned functionality package can be fitted to any RS5, but it comes common with my test car’s restricted-operate Ascari Launch Edition pack. Only 100 RS5 Sportbacks and twenty five RS5 Coupes will be optioned like this, painted in the correctly named Ascari blue, which is a hue so attractive it virtually helps make up for some of this car’s shortcomings. Paired with matte aluminum trim, this RS5 seems very hot as heck, and those people twenty-inch wheels definitely fill out the wheel arches for a terrific stance. The special-edition trimline also comes with a 360-diploma camera technique, head-up display, adaptive cruise regulate, lane-preserving support, navigation and a bunch of other goodies. Then once more, taking into consideration the Ascari Launch Edition is a $twenty,five hundred alternative, it experienced freaking far better be totally loaded.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The RS5 receives the exact same updates as Audi’s other 2021 A5/S5 types. You are going to see the redesigned headlights, wider grille and larger exhaust pipes, and within, Audi’s current MIB three infotainment interface is displayed on a ten.one-inch touchscreen. This tech is terrific — colorful, responsive and simple to work via, with Google Earth map imagery and a common Wi-Fi link. You can use Apple CarPlay wirelessly or hook up Android Auto with a USB cable. Mixed with Audi’s constantly-great Digital Cockpit electronic gauge cluster, the RS5’s tech match can not be conquer.

One more significant get, the RS5’s Sportback condition provides a heap of operation. The complete rear hatch opens to expose 21.8 cubic toes of cargo house driving the rear seats, which is much more than double what you get in an RS5 Coupe. You can fold the again bench down to have for a longer period items, way too, earning this 1 of the most functional motor vehicles about that will not get slapped with an SUV or crossover designation.

At the very least the RS5 seems great.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

All things viewed as, the RS5 Sportback would make a terrific each day driver. But $76,445 (together with $one,045 for spot) is a complete whole lot of funds, and if I am shelling out for an RS-badged Audi, I want it to make me experience all the thoughts. Oh, and this Ascari Launch Edition rings up at $96,945, which would generally make some modicum of perception provided its restricted-operate standing, but not when the RS5 is so inherently meh.

In addition to, if it really is peaceful competence you might be after, why not just get an S5 Sportback? It’s every single bit as deluxe and functional, and you can get a generously outfitted 1 for about $65K. The RS5 may possibly have an added ninety five hp, but it just is just not well worth the additional value. Bear in mind, specs don’t constantly tell the complete tale. 

Rosa G. Rose

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