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  • Brilliant V8 revs and revs; quick-shifting dual-clutch gearbox; superb agility and precision in corners; sharper looks and improved ergonomics
  • Harsher ride than its rivals; V8 lacks the full-fat torque of the C63 AMG; prioritises corner speed over involvement

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review

The updated Audi RS5 has seen its price cut by $13,900 to $161,400 but it still carries enormous weight on its shoulders. It sits just one level below the mighty Audi R8 supercar and competes head to head with the iconic BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupes. But is it a match for its direct rivals?

The answer to that question is an absolute ‘yes’. Nonetheless, it’s hard to imagine another segment where the three main choices are all so good. But in the case of the premium coupe sports segment, the RS5, M3 and C63 AMG all represent the near-apex of German engineering (maybe with Porsche the pinnacle…). So why pick the Audi over the rest?

For a start, it’s the only car in its segment that is all-wheel drive, meaning it sends drive to every tyre as part of Audi’s Quattro system. This changes the entire dynamics of the RS5 compared to the M and AMG, both of which direct drive only the rear wheels. Arguably, the average driver can go faster in the RS5 than they could in its two main rivals, given it tends to do a lot of the hard work for you. The flipside is the M and AMG demand more input for a similar result and hence provide greater driver engagement. The Audi simply digs in and does.

Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review

The Audi RS5 is powered by a 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8, which produces 331kW of power and 430Nm of torque. Power is transmitted to the backs and fronts via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Recent updates to the RS5 have seen its fuel efficiency improve by 0.3L/100km to 10.5 litres of 98RON per 100km; better than both the M3 at 11.2L/100km and C63 at 12.1L/100km.

The all-important 0-100km/h figure has also improved by one tenth to 4.5 seconds. This is still 0.1 slower than the standard C63 AMG, which makes a full 170Nm more from its 2.0L-larger engine, but faster than the soon to be replaced BMW M3; its 4.0-litre V8 reaches triple digits in 4.6 seconds.

From the outside the 2013 Audi RS5 is the ultimate portrayal of the A5 range, with a sharp and athletic stance now sporting wedge-shaped headlights that incorporate xenon lamps and gorgeous thin strips of LED daytime running lights – a fad that Audi is largely credited for starting and evolving. The grille has also been updated while the taillights and rear bumpers have been mildly reconfigured.

Our test car came coloured in Sepang Blue with pearl effects on the outside and black Nappa leather with contrasting stitching in rock grey for the inside. Optional 20” alloy wheels (5-arm rotor design) put the price up an additional $3,900 while dynamic steering ($2,400), sports exhaust system ($2,400) and aluminium style package ($1,400) brought the total price to $171,500 plus on roads.

The mostly black interior with chrome and carbon fibre highlights is very much a typical-Audi interior, with high quality materials and a pervasive sense of refinement all over. The recent updates have introduced a new flat-bottom steering wheel and minor updates to the infotainment system.

Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review

Beyond the cabin class, the Audi RS5 is an absolute joy to drive. Apart from the sensation of being in control of one of the fastest point-to-point cars around, the roar of the engine is a constant reminder of what lurks beneath the bonnet.

The seven-speed gearbox works harmoniously with the V8 in nearly all situations, including in traffic, but in dynamic mode with manual gear control using the paddles, the whole package is absolutely manic. The rapid-fire gearshifts, both up and down, are Formula One-like in their urgency, showcasing just how far everyday road cars have come. The high-tech V8 engine revs freely to more than 8250rpm, screaming an orchestra-worthy soundtrack as it extracts maximum power.

The Audi RS5 is by no means conservative in its power delivery and overall demeanour. But it’s certainly more methodical in its approach to cornering than its key competitors. There’s none of the brutish character that you get from a C63 AMG, which can at times be like a soccer hooligan after a home-team loss, or the – admittedly brilliant – balance and finesse that is prioritised over outright corner-exit speed in the M3.

It also rides very firmly, which can be a deterrent to driver enjoyment, particularly when the BMW rides superbly across all surfaces.  But what the RS5 lacks in comfort, it makes up in cornering ability. Pushed hard into a corner the RS5 grips on without much regard for the laws of physics. Mid corner you’d expect that at any moment life will flash before your eyes with the end in sight, but instead, the RS5 continues on unfazed.

Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review

Through our usual testing roads of Brisbane’s Mount Glorious and Nebo, the RS5 felt like a much faster version of a Mitsubishi Evolution, go-kart-like in its precision and agility. There’s a sense of invincibility that comes with driving this Audi, which is certainly not there with the rear happy C63, particularly, which always keeps you on edge.

During our week with the RS5 in Brisbane, we had tremendous amounts of rain that helped further justify why the Quattro system is ideal for a car with this much power. As with most rear-wheel drive muscle cars, trying to extract any ounce of performance in the wet is generally a time-wasting exercise, but the RS5’s AWD system makes it look easy. Be it out of corner or off-the-line acceleration, the Audi’s Quattro system minds not if it’s dry or wet; it just gets the job done.

The steering feel is much improved compared with other Audis, but up against the brilliant systems in the C63 and M3, it’s a sore point that highlights the lack of dynamic involvement compared with those rear drive rivals. The steering is quick and accurate, but also unremarkable and too heavy in dynamic mode.

When it comes to just regular driving, the RS5 can be put into auto mode, which eases the aggression of the transmission and lightens the steering. Comfort mode goes to an economy-focused extreme, slinking into tall gears at every opportunity and making the steering far too light.

If you must justify the purchase to the other half, you can argue that the RS5 has a decent sized cabin that can actually accommodate four adults for short trips. There’s heaps of room in the boot and the front seats are comfortable and supportive around corners.

Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review
Audi RS5 Review

The rear seats are also useful and not just a gimmick. They can actually be used if needed – though they’re perhaps best kept for short adults or children when undertaking long journeys.

The few things that did present some challenges with the RS5 were lack of a reversing camera, even as an option. The low front nose, which can be hard to accommodate in car parks and tight spaces and the multimedia system which, like most current model Audis, is unnecessarily complicated to perform simple task – an area where BMW’s iDrive shines. On a more personal front, the large exhaust tips seemed like a step down from the quad-exhaust pipes on the S5.

When it comes to purchase time, the choice between an Audi RS5, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe and BMW M3 Coupe is incredibly difficult, but here are some facts to consider. Firstly, the RS5 is currently the newest, with the M3 soon to be replaced and the C63 AMG coupe around halfway through its life.

The RS5 suits a certain driving style that values precision and pinpoint accuracy over engagement and then there’s the fact that there are far more Ms and AMGs floating around than RS5s.

All three are equally incredible cars and if money was no object, you should buy them all. But what Audi should be credited for is creating a first iteration car that has managed to match its iconic Germans rivals in nearly every respect.


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AUDI RS5 BREAKDOWN

Audi RS5 Review
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  • Tex

    Why oh why does it need to be automatic only?! I’d go the M3 everyday solely for the purpose of ordering a Manual.

    My current line of work allows me to drive some pretty capable machines, all automatics… and I’m currently itching to buy myself a cheaper manual toy to enjoy on weekends.

    Come on Audi – give us another manual!! Your last RS4 is becoming a halo (has anyone seen the used prices?!), which gives you an indication that people are still happy to buy a capable machine in manual…

    • Amlohac

      Try and hold onto manuals Tex, but you might be pushing a the crap cart uphill. Unfortunatley everyones trending away from them, you might even find that the new M3 will be an auto only soon.

  • Oliver Cromwell

    I think you will find the C63 has a 6.2l V8 which is 2l more than the 4.2 in the RS5 not 1.8l as stated.

  • Exar Kun

    Audi stuffed up somewhere with the RS5.  It’s almost forgotten about when compared to the M3 & C63.  The B7 RS4 was widely lauded yet the RS5 failed to build on that momentum.  In isolation it is a glorious car yet when you bring its two competitors into the mix it seems to fade into the background.  A shame really.  They look great and sound amazing but in the end I’d take an M3… or a C63 if I needed a wagon (and not the B8 RS4).

  • Guest12

    My favourite Audi & better looking than the other two, imo.

  • Warboyrb

    If you CA guys really want to talk about this segment – then why do you constantly ignore the R35 GT-R – price, performance and 4 seats – it has it all. don’t simply ignore the king of the segment because Euro’s can’t compete in performance.

    • Oliver Cromwell

      Because people who buy these cars are looking for more than just performance for price, they are looking fro luxury and brand awareness, GT-Rs are not luxurious because if you wanted luxury and that performance you would need to buy a Porsche.

      • Amlohac

        I dunno about that. Same price bracket, the GTR is a very possible choice, and probably more exclusive than anything zee germans have on offer.

        • Oliver Cromwell

          But factor in the comfort of a GT-R, they are not road vehicles (in comparison). I understand the performance is blistering, but people buy these Germans because they are everyday cars which can be thrashed around a track. This isnt the same as the Nissan, and the experience the same you need to go to Germany again for the Porsche 911 Turbo. 

          • reg

             Whilst none of these cars would be cheap to run, i hear the GTR is astronomically high

          • Warboyrb

             But this is not a luxo barges segment – this segment is 180K – coupe – 2+2′s – high performance sports cars. Anybody looking at this segment would also consider R35, not just the three Europeans. also, plenty of R35′s are daily drivers – and if you want exclusivity R35 is IT. You would never confuse R35 with a Tiida, but you can very easily confuse M3 with 320.

          • Oliver Cromwell

            You see that is the flaw with your argument, nobody would confuse an R8 with an A1. But the R8 isnt based off the A1. In the beemer’s case, the M3 IS based off the 3 Series, you buy it knowing that you are buying the pinnacle of what the 3 series has to offer; so you know you are getting luxury and the practicality of the 3 series along with excellent performance. As goes with the A5-RS5. The GT-R does in no way compete with this car because they are in a very different class, for starters the 350 GT barely sells and the R35 isnt a comfortable daily drive, just like the GT3. These cars are designed for the track, unlike the RS5, M3 and C63 which have track pedigree but ultimately luxury performance coupes. Your principle is flawed because what you are saying is that the CL500 should compete with a GT-R because they are both 2 doors and 4 seats and over 180k (well over in the case of the merc). 

          • $29896495

            M4 will fix that similarity Oliver.

          • JJ

            You fanboys always say ANYBODY looking at this price bracket… that’s way off. I certainly wouldn’t even consider a GT-R. Why? Because they are a fast track car and that’s it. The everyday value, the quality, the design and the look and feel are no where near a European rival. RS5, M3, C63 and lots of others anyday over a GT-R.

            You’re just one step up from all the P-Plater ricers who drive their 30 year old GT-Rs and think they are the best thing in the world.

            FYI, they aren’t, just like the new GT-R.

    • Jake11

      They ignore it because away from the track it’s a dud.
      Heavy steering, harsh ride and noisy.
      Not a daily driver.
      Drove one 280km round trip to the track in California last year.
      Great on the track but tiresome on the road.
      As an all rounder it just can’t compete with the TTRS, M3, 911 etc.

      • Peter

        different kinds of cars, though.  You can actually fit people into the back of the AMG/M3/RS5.  The TT has no back seat, the GTR/911/XK have no real ability to have people in the back.

        • Jake11

          Yeah, not the TTRS, meant the RS5.

  • nugsdad

    my local taxi wants it seats back – could the drab grey look any more boring?

    • Rjhj

      Audi offer interiors in a range of different colors and trims.

  • Al Tungupon

    When the M3 and C63 finally go AWD, this is toast.

  • $29896495

    I’ll have the M4 thanks very much. A bit more flare and I think it’ll be a better car. In reference to the M4. This is the first test I’ve seen which seems to think the Audi could have an advantage in some areas. But each to their own.

  • The Real Wile E

    For me the looks shout BORING in comparison to BMW and Merc.
    And I would never have it because it is AWD .
    But yep would be great for the ski slopes and when parked does not scream “steal me I am a weapon”.
    Whoever chose the grey interior for the promo car should be shown the door.

    • Guest12

      If you think this looks boring you better check your pulse.

      • The Real Wile E

        I checked my pulse and I did not move.

        But when I checked the price my pulse started racing.

        Outrageous.

  • Hung Low

    One of the nicest designs to ever come out of Germany IMO

    • Daz

       Ironic that it was designed by an Italian (Walter de Silva), but yes it is a very, very nice looker.

  • super_hans

    The M3 Pure Edition announced a few days ago seems like better value, even if its the last of the run

  • RecursiveLoop

    Why are the Germans so overpriced? $170k?! It will barely outrun a Lexus ISF which is $50k cheaper, and that’s already overpriced as it is.

    • Devil666

      Because no one wants a toyota with a V8?

      • Gazza

        SAYS WHO?  I would rather a ISF anyday over this, 170k for a AUDI it will be worth $60k in 12months! AUDI are by far the worst resale out of all the luxury brands. 

        • Daz

          Look on carsales, they’re definitely not $60k in 12 months, try $140-150k. But if you can tell me where to find a 12 month old RS5 for $60k, please tell me!

      • RecursiveLoop

        Just like no one wants a VW with a V8

        • Kristiancoleiro

          I do and cannot wait for the touareg R release next month!!

      • super_hans

        The Lexus would be the pick on the second hand market..

  • Sam

    Such a great car but 170k? The depreciation would make me cry myself to sleep every night.  Then again, these cars arent pitched at people like me who cant even afford them in my dreams.

  • Devil666

    I’d have this over an M3. Sounds better, moar powerrrrr, looks better, heaps nicer inside.

  • Anthony

    Can anyone on this forum actually afford this car?

    • RecursiveLoop

      I can, but $170k after tax is around $238k after tax. We all love our cars, but seriously dumb to pay that kind of money on something that will cost $80k in 12 months time. I’d rather buy an investment property.

      • RecursiveLoop

        Bah sorry I meant to say $238k before tax. Imagine putting that money into super and using that to invest.

        • Peter

          Well I spend a little too much on cars (though $150K was the most) but what you have missed is that (first) you cant actually just put $238K into Super in any year, it would take years to do that, and second, you generally lease a car like this or do a chattel mortgage facility (which are running at rates around 5.6% at the moment for 4 years 30% balloon) so you are paying probably $3K per month tops, also get the GST back upfront (if chattel mortgage) to a limit.  So your cash is still sitting there to put into super or invest, then you have the deductible lease payment/interest + depreciation.  All of which simply makes the pain a little less and can be used to justify doing what your heart is for and your head is against.  And even though I’m no great audi fan - I think that the interiors are awful but I love the exteriors in charcoal or black – the A5s actually hold their value OK, I’d have thought it would be worth $120K after a year, maybe $80K after 3.

          • Sam

            Actually, you are allowed to put up to 150k per year as non-concessional contributions if oyu are working and under 65 years of age. (i.e from your own money that you have already paid tax on) Additionally there is a bring forward rule which lets you put two more years worth in, in one go, so you can put up to 450k in, in one year.  This is in addition to the 25k limit on the 9% SCG your employer can put in before extra penalty.

            PS I am studying Superannuation at the moment so its my business to know!

          • Golfmother

            Well explained  peter .

          • PM14

            My God, that wouldn’t be Peter Spann would it?

        • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

          The price is inclusive of Luxury Car Tax. The 170k is simply missing on roads, not tax. We never quote prices without luxury car tax.

          • RecursiveLoop

            Ahh sorry I meant to say to get $170k, you need to earn $230k (income tax).

          • $29896495

            Gee, you can include the tax but you can’t get the retail price? That’s a worry. Let me suggest something, seeing sellers have to display an all inclusive price, if it’s to much trouble to cover the majority of states, pick the most expensive state and put a disclaimer. At least then people would have some idea before they head to the show room. It would educate people too.

    • Sam

       Depends what you call afford I guess. I thought Kyle Sandilands could afford to drive a Rolls Royce until I leaned that he had a massive loan on it and it was sending him broke.  People like to keep up with the Joneses but what they dont realise is,most of the time, the Joneses are broke and are drowning in debt.

  • Prospector

    Car is not worth 160k, + with 20k on the clock will have dropped 60k plus. 

  • gtr11

    I felt nervous in an M3 knowing someone with a modded WRX/EVO etc. can beat me at the lights. When I’m in the GTR I felt invincible :)  

    • JJ

      Stick to your Commodore.

      Discussing “at the lights” and mentioning a GT-R proves you will never “fit” with this car.

      • gtr11

        What car do you drive JJ? Guess you never know what it like to own one of these?. I’m talking “at the lights” looser.

    • Oliver Cromwell

      how did you feel on the speedhump? did you hit the roof? the centre console looks all nice and plastic too! I bet you felt great knowing that straight line speed is everything and that those modded WRXs belong to people who cant afford to buy an M3 

      • Prospector

         Ridiculous comment, a WRX will beat an M3 around any corner, all day, any day, thanks to it’s drive system and balance. Stick to looking at expensive badges if you don’t have anything sensible to say, Beemer’s are built to an excellent finish standard, engineering is superb mostly, except for a few brain farts here and there (ask X3 owners about Siemen’s shift solenoids), but there are japanese cars that are brilliant when measured against the criteria of handling, speed, etc. The nissan GTR comes to mind here. I personally love mercs/beemers etc, but also respect cars that out perform others, irrespective of badge.

        • The Real Wile E

          Around a track the closer price comparison would be the 135i not the M3.
          Unless it’s wet the 135i would win.
          The GTR is in another stratosphere… and so is the price.

  • Luke Brinsmead

    Is that passenger seat all the way back because that ain’t much legroom.

  • Shimmy

    The exhaust tips are what makes this car look good. Quad tips on audis don’t look great. The refresh looks perfect.

  • Realist

    Looks like a good car, and of course has its down sides like any other in its class, but $60k or $80k after a year?

    Obviously its too hard for people using this site to open another window and do a search. Why do they just make figures up? Perhaps to back their blind love for the M3 or AMG (both excellent cars by the way)!

    There are RS5′s from 2010 going for around $120k in recent months, So it’s not all bad it seems on the depreciation, but many of us will not be able to afford this car even when employing mortgaging tricks and tax offsets.

    We can dream though…

  • LoveMine

    Have one. Love it in a most guttural way. And it DOES have a rear view camera…

  • Max

    Would LOVE one of these. If I could afford it I’d take it the Audi over rivals. For me the car MUST have AWD system. I like to have my acceleration and cornering any time anywhere in any weather. After driving high-powered RWD and FWD cars and then comparing them with an AWD car I can’t go back to 2WD. Its very consistent. There is a reason that the fastest accelerating cars on the road. R-35, Veyron, Aventador.

    Regarding the lack of manual transmission. Yes its more involving. However the dual-clutch transmission has proven to be a faster gear-changer. As for jerkiness – This can also be due to the clutch type used. Paddles virtually eliminate missed gears.

Audi Rs5 Specs

4.2 FSI QUATTRO : 4.2L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 7 SP AUTO DIRECT SHIFT - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 2D COUPE
Car Details
Make
AUDI
Model
RS5
Variant
4.2 FSI QUATTRO
Series
8T MY12 UPGRADE
Year
2013
Body Type
2D COUPE
Seats
4
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
4.2L
Cylinders
V8
Max. Torque
430Nm @  4000rpm
Max. Power
331kW @  8250rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
191.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
84.5x92.8mm
Compression Ratio
12.3
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
7 SP AUTO DIRECT SHIFT
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.375
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
64
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
10.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1725
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1366mm
Length
4649mm
Width
1860mm
Ground Clearance
110mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.6
Front Rim Size
9x19
Rear Rim Size
9x19
Front Tyres
265/35 R19
Rear Tyres
265/35 R19
Wheel Base
2751
Front Track
1586
Rear Track
1582
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Con + Climate Control Multi Zone, Power front seats
Control & Handling
Active Steering, 19 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Exterior
Metallic Paint, Power Mirrors
Interior
Leather Upholstery
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Optional Features
Comfort
Power front seats with memory, Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
20 Inch Alloy Wheels, Performance Brake Package
Driver
Reversing Camera
Entertainment
CD with 6 CD Stacker
Exterior
Metallic Paint Special
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
28-D-10
Country of Origin
GERMANY