2019 Audi RS5 Sportback initial expostulate review: Performance but compromise

Fun fact: The RS5 Sportback is a initial automobile in Audi’s story to launch in a United States before any other market. That’s partially given a automaker sees a US as a tip priority for new Audi Sport models, generally given we don’t get a sweet, honeyed RS4 and RS6 cars sole abroad. But really, a biggest pushing force behind this US-focused launch is that Audi’s A5 and S5 Sportback models handily outsell their coupe and automobile counterparts in a States, and a association expects a same to be loyal with a new RS5.

The earlier those hatchbacks get here, a better. Because usually like with A5 and S5, a RS5 Sportback is positively a one to get.

No opening detriment

Okay, that’s not technically true. Audi quotes a RS5 Sportback as carrying a 3.8-second 0-60 acceleration time, while a RS5 Coupe hits 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, mostly due to a five-door’s 89-pound weight chastisement and somewhat increasing fellow of drag. That said, carrying launched a ruin out of both models, we assure we this one-tenth-of-a-second inequality is totally inaudible from behind a wheel.

The mass starts underneath a hood, where you’ll find Audi’s 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6. No, it’s not as enchanting and smashing and ideal as a naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V8 of Audi’s before RS5 models — not to discuss a 4.0-liter V8 Mercedes uses in a AMG C63. But with 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque on offer, a latter of that comes on clever during 1,900 rpm, it’s positively no weakling. In fact, during 3.8 seconds to 60 mph, a all-wheel-drive RS5 Sportback is quicker than a four-door Mercedes-AMG C63 S and BMW M3 rivals.

An eight-speed involuntary handles changeable duties, and while you’d consider a dual-clutch gearbox would be usually a sheet for an RS model, we have no complaints about this ZF-sourced Tiptronic transmission. A required torque converter means off-the-line starts are as well-spoken as they are powerful, and when left to a possess devices, a Tiptronic executes buttery shifts in Comfort mode and crisp, manageable cog-swaps when you’re giving it a beans in Dynamic. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters offer discerning up- and downshifts for folks who’d rather select their possess adventure, yet a cosmetic pieces themselves don’t offer any genuine pleasing satisfaction.

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Everything a Coupe can do, a Sportback can do — and maybe better.


Every RS5 Sportback comes customary with 19-inch wheels wrapped in 265/35-series summer tires, yet Audi says it expects many people to step adult to 20-inch rollers, with their grippier 275/30-series rubber. The incomparable rolling batch doesn’t noticeably boost rudeness over tiny cement imperfections — of course, a RS5’s cessation is flattering unbending to start with. The Quattro all-wheel-drive complement defaults to a 30:70 front/rear energy split, and can send as many as 85 percent of a accessible bearing rearward, where a customary competition differential can route torque side to side as needed.

You’ll wish a discretionary Dynamic Package for a RS competition cessation with Dynamic Ride Control, that allows we to tailor a float peculiarity to opposite levels of firmness. But you’ll unequivocally wish it so we can clear a Dynamic Steering option, that offers non-static support and ratios in Comfort and Auto modes, yet uses a bound 13.5:1 ratio in Dynamic mode, for confident, predicted response — yet it still lacks genuine communication by a wheel. The Dynamic Package also gets we a competition exhaust, that sounds killer, yet we wish Audi let a bit some-more of that honeyed rear-end bark interfuse a cabin. You get a lot of “enhanced” engine sound inside a cockpit, yet during slightest passers-by can suffer a soundtrack.

A Dynamic Plus Package ups a punch with CO ceramic front brakes and an increasing 174-mph tip end, both of that are flattering many nonessential unless you’re frequently holding your RS5 Sportback to line days. Of course, while using during 165 mph on an open widen of unlimited German autobahn, I’m forever grateful for a impressive, surefooted energy of those ceramic stoppers when a slow-moving Peugeot people inciter suddenly moves into a distant left lane.

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The Sportback figure improved suits a RS5’s quick grand-tourer ethos.


That said, this arrange of high-speed grand furloughed is unequivocally where a RS5 Sportback is many during home. Enjoyable as it is on circuitous roads by a Bavarian Black Forest, we find a knowledge a small too buttoned-up for a possess good. Sure, a behind finish simply rotates with a fortitude control set to ESC Sport, yet given 60 percent of a Sportback’s weight is situated over a car’s nose, a RS5 has a bent to dive underneath braking, changeable weight off a behind spindle notwithstanding a infancy of a car’s energy being sent to a back. A small some-more balance, a small some-more steering feel and a small reduction practical engine sound would do wonders.

As a sporty GT automobile and glorious daily driver, we could positively do worse than an RS5 Sportback — I’ll take this Audi over a too-numb BMW M3 any day. But if it’s thrills and chills we seek, a Mercedes-AMG C63 will expected offer some-more smiles per mile.

Form and duty

The Audi’s biggest advantage over a German rivals, and indeed, a reason we competence buy one instead of an RS5 Coupe, is a combined flexibility afforded by that Sportback shape. Raise a energy liftback and you’ll find 21.8 cubic feet of space — double that of a two-door RS5 — that simply swallows a integrate of vast suitcases and backpacks. Fold a behind seats prosaic and load volume increases to a severely useful 35 cubic feet.

Beyond a increasing cargo-carrying abilities, let’s not forget, a Sportback is improved matched to lift people. Rear-seat passengers get an additional in. of headroom and an additional 2.4 inches of legroom compared with a coupe, and a second set of doors means they don’t have to do a ungraceful seat-tilt shimmy in sequence to entrance those behind seats. Sportback models also supplement a span of USB ports so behind riders can keep smartphones and tablets good and charged.

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The RS5 Sportback’s interior is mostly a same as a Coupe counterpart, yet Virtual Cockpit and embedded navigation are now customary features.


Your eyes competence cite two-door shapes, yet we indeed consider a RS5 Sportback is a better-looking car, full stop. we can’t get adequate of that courteously tilted roofline and brief behind deck, punctuated by a subtle, RS5-specific mouth spoiler. Dimensionally speaking, a Sportback is 2.3 inches longer than an RS5 Coupe, and is usually an in. taller overall.

You can sequence a Sportback with all a same coming packages as a RS5 Coupe, including a Black Optic Package, Black Optic Carbon Package or Matte Alu Optic Carbon Package, all of that supplement singular 20-inch wheels and offer their possess touches to extraneous pieces like a front lip, side sills and decklid spoiler. You can get black Audi rings and extraneous badges, too — something new for a Sportback, yet don’t be astounded if this choice also shows adult on a 2019 indication year RS5 Coupe.

Same comfort, some-more customary tech

Aside from a behind compartment, a RS5 Sportback’s cabin is no opposite from a coupe kin. You get a same RS competition seats (with feverishness and massage), carbon-look inlays, aluminum trim and a breathtaking sunroof, standard. In customary Audi fashion, a cockpit has a generally purify design, with a elementary quarrel of meridian controls next a executive 8.3-inch screen. Audi’s MMI infotainment complement is tranquil by a vast dial with by-pass buttons in a core console, and bundles Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Audi says a infancy of RS5 Coupe buyers are going all in on tech options, so it usually motionless to make things like a glorious 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display, embedded navigation and a internet-enabled Connect services customary on a Sportback. Wireless smartphone charging and approach tire vigour monitoring are also combined to a list of 2019 RS5 Sportback customary equipment.

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The RS5 Sportback is some-more functional, usually as good to expostulate and, arguably, a bit better-looking than a RS5 Coupe. This is a one to get.


A no-compromise charity

The combined tech apparatus means a 2019 Audi RS5 Sportback will lift a $74,200 bottom cost when it arrives in US showrooms after this year, not including $995 for destination. Yes, that’s a $4,300 boost over a $69,900 RS5 Coupe, but, again, roughly no one is shopping a coupe but these options. I’ll gamble dollars to doughnuts a identical price/equipment boost is in store for 2019 indication year RS5 Coupes, too.

Really, Audi’s goal is to offer a same good RS5 package opposite dual physique styles; a Sportback adds a acquire store of daily usability with no discernible opening trade-offs. Plus, it’s arrange of in a category of one — BMW doesn’t do an M4 Gran Coupe, and a Mercedes-AMG C63 sticks to normal sedan and coupe shapes. That means a Sportback competence interest to some-more than usually would-be RS5 Coupe buyers. And for Audi, that’s a sum win-win.

Editors’ note: Roadshow accepts multiday automobile loans from manufacturers in sequence to yield scored editorial reviews. All scored automobile reviews are finished on a territory and on a terms. However, for this feature, a manufacturer lonesome transport costs. This is common in a automobile industry, as it’s distant some-more careful to boat reporters to cars than to boat cars to journalists.

The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial group are a possess and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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