Back when Audi was planning the RS5 , they promised us a convertible model. Now that the RS5 is alive, well, and leading the British cops on its fastest chase ever, we are anxiously awaiting the RS5 Cabriolet. While there is some time to wait, Audi is at least gracing us with all of the RS5 Cabriolet’s ins and outs.
As you can expect, the Cabriolet takes most of its queues from the hardtop model, but is does have its own little styling differences – besides the rag top, of course. With fierce competition coming from BMW and Mercedes , how well can this newcomer in the performance convertible realm really do? We’re going to into all of the specifications and features that Audi has graced us with and give you a full review of what to expect from this new model.
UPDATE 06/05/2013: Audi unveiled a new video showing the RS5 Cabriolet in action through the impressive landscape of Mallorca. Enjoy!
Click past the jump to read the full review and see how it stacks up to the competition.
On the outside, the RS5 is nearly the identical twin of its hardtop sibling from the top of the door down. It features the hexagon-shaped grille with a honeycomb-style insert with the ominous “RS5” badge to the right side of the grille. Its shapely headlights boast an LED strip around their border, which act as the daytime running lights – something Audi has become known for doing.
A front fascia boasts a lower lip that would only look right on this car and accents the wide-mouth air intake holes on the lower edges of the fascia. Within these intakes are a pair of vertical louvers and one horizontal louver to add even more style to an already-impressive front end.
Around the windshield and down the door sill are where you’re going to see the exterior of the Cabriolet model set itself apart. You’ll notice that around the windshield, down the door sills, and around the rear of the top it is not the same color as the rest of the body. Rather, it is the same matte silver color that the sideview mirrors feature. This draw more attention to the fact that this model is a drop top.
Speaking of the drop top, it is a lightweight textile construction that closely mimics the same shape as the hardtop model. The only place that it really differs from the hardtop is its final descent toward the trunk, which is at a steeper rake. The top boasts a foam to help cancel out noise from the outside – a common deterrent to convertible models – and it opens 15 seconds and closes in 17 seconds.
As you swoop toward the rear end of this elegant drop top, observe the sharp swooping shoulder line and graceful body line near the lower-third of the door, which ties together the RS5’s elegant cabriolet and in-your-face performance car sides together nicely.
Around the back end, you’ll find a set of sleek taillights carried over from the RS5 coupe. Much like the RS5, these taillights do not use a single incandescent bulb. They feature full LED lighting. That is great for bulb longevity, but it can become very expensive when a bulb fails – ask any early-2000s Cadillac owner.
On the underside of the rear fascia, you get a much higher diffuser than you see on the current A5 Cabriolet, giving that back end a sportier look. Incorporated with the diffuser is a honeycomb insert and large oblong tailpipes, unlike the quad pipes you find in the 2012 A5 model. Pop back up toward the top of the trunk and you’ll spot a matte-colored carbon-fiber spoiler to help add a little downforce to the rear end.
The RS5 Cabriolet measures in at 4,649 mm (183 inches) long, 1,860 mm (73.2 inches) wide, 1,380 mm (54.36 inches) tall, and has a 2,751 (108.36-inch) wheelbase. We love that nice and wide 73.2-inch width, which gives it a stout look, but that 74.64 extra inches of body (combined) hanging outside of the center of the wheelbase is a little much for this size of a car.
The beauty that is the Audi RS5 Cabriolet continues to the inside. In front of the driver you’ll find the typical 3-spoke steering wheel with a flat bottom and several neatly positioned controls on the two upper spokes. The steering wheel is wrapped in a perforated leather to help keep your hands from getting sweaty, keeping your grip firm and secure.
Interior cleanliness was pinnacle for the RS5 convertible, as even the high-tech MMI Navigation System Plus requires only six keys to operate it and the Audi drive select only needs one button to control it. Audi has proven that you can have all of the upgraded features while still retaining that sleek look that an interior needs to have.
For drivers that are looking for a little sporting fun, Audi has included a lap timer and an oil temperature gauge in its driver information system. Oil temperature is an often-overlooked performance item, but oil that is too cold can decrease performance and oil that is too hot can lead to engine damage under heavy load. This helps you assure that the car is track ready, should you opt to run it on a circuit.
The RS5 continues to show off its sporting nature, by offering up a set of heated sports seats with large side panels to keep you planted in place and integrated head restraints. But it’s not all about sporting, as the RS5’s seats come wrapped in a combination of high-end leather and alcantara. For the more discerning customer, you can opt for black or lunar silver fine Nappa leather to grace your backside. The seats come standard with power operation, but you can opt for manual, if you like, and you can also get climate controlled seats to make those long drives a little more comfortable. Audi also took great care in selecting only seat colors that will inhibit heat absorption from the sunlight, so you’ll never get burned as you slide into your RS5 in shorts or a skirt.
The RS5’s interior dons a deep shade of black from the factory, but you can opt for a little extra flare by adding in the silver star soft top liner. Strewn throughout the interior are chrome accents, high-gloss black trim, and carbon inserts to add a little extra character. For an added touch of your own character, you can opt to replace the carbon inserts with Aluminum race, piano black, matte brushed aluminum, or stainless steel mesh inserts for free.
As expected, you also get a smattering of “RS” logos throughout the cabin. You get one emblem on the steering wheel, one on the aluminum inlays on the door scuff plates, one in the tachometer, and finally one on top of the gear shifter.
Above and beyond all of these high-end features, you can also contract the Audi exclusive program to customize your RS5’s interior to your liking.
- Parking system plus
- Driver and front passenger seat heating, automatic belt feeder
- Wind deflector
- Lighting package
- Driver information system with rest recommendation and a comprehensive package of restraint systems
- Strong aluminum plates
- Three-stage head-level heating
- Convenience key
- High-beam assistant
- Adaptive light
- Three-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning
- MMI navigation plus which includes a large hard drive, DVD drive and seven-inch color monitor
Engine and Drivetrain
With all of the RS5’s beauty, it still has the “RS” name to live up to. It does so by featuring a beast under the hood to complement this drop top’s beauty in the form of a hand-assembled 4,163 cc V-8 engine boasting fuel stratified injection (FSI) direct injection. Audi pumped this V-8 to 450 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 317.15 pound-feet of torque from 4,000 to 6,000 rpm. To add a little extra flare to the engine compartment, Audi draped a coat of bright-red paint over the cylinder head covers. Inside the engine the cylinder sleeves and timing chain are manufacture to close tolerances to minimize friction and the oil pump remains idle until it is needed, which helps squeeze a few extra ponies from this V-8.
The engine exhales through a throaty exhaust system straight from the factory. If that isn’t enough for you, Audi will special fit the RS5 with a sports exhaust system to make a noise that’s more suited for your ears.
Power heads to the wheels via a 4-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. You can choose between slapping through the gears manually, via the paddle shifters, or allowing this 7-speed trans to automatically shift through the gears by selecting either the “S” or “D” mode, respectively. The RS5 also boasts a popular feature as of late, launch control. This positions the engine speed at a perfect level for clutch release prior to launching the car out of a complete stop.
No Audi performance car is complete without its maker’s signature Quattro all-wheel-drive system. This lightweight system transfers 40 percent of the engine power to the front wheels and 60 percent to the rear under normal operation. When the wheels start to slip, the Quattro system can transfer up to 70 percent of its power to the front wheels and 85 percent to the rear, via its torque vectoring computer system.
It also helps slow a slipping wheel when cornering too, giving the RS5 a significant advantage in the twist. For extreme driving, you can opt for the sport differential, which actively distributes power between the rear wheels, giving you perfect tail response – no over- or under-steer.
this is one impressive setup on this luxury rag top.
All of this technology and muscle launches the 2013 Audi RS5 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 4.9 seconds, which would put us at 60 mph in about 4.85 seconds – about 0.25 seconds slower than the hardtop RS5. Audi limits the top speed to 155.34 mph straight from the factory, but at your request Audi will lift this limit to 173.98 mph. Regardless of the top speed you choose, this is one impressive setup on this luxury rag top.
Handling and Braking
The RS5 sits atop a chassis that boasts a 5-link front suspension and self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension, both of which are made mostly from aluminum. The body of the RS5 sits a full 20 mm (0.79 inches) lower than the already stout A5 that it’s based on, bringing its center of gravity down and keeping the car better grounded. You also get stiffer suspension mounts, and larger and more rigid anti-roll bars that all keep the RS5’s body from leaning too far to one side.
At the corners, you get a set of 10-spoke machined, machine-polished, forged rims measuring in at 9J x 19 embraced by 265/35R19 tires. For some additional scratch, you can get a set of 9J x 20 in three different designs all wrapped up snug with 275/30R20 rubber.
Sitting behind the front rims are a set of cross-drilled rotors in the wave design, which helps save some unsprung – weight not supported by the car’s springs – weight by 6.61 lbs. The front rotors measure in at 365 mm (14.37 inches) and are squeezed by a set of black-painted 8-piston calipers. For some extra braking effectiveness, you can opt for a set of carbon-ceramic front disc and 6-pot calipers. Audi provided us with no rear brake information, so we can only assume they are a carryover from the A5.
The steering system is speed-dependent and uses an electromagnetic drive instead of a traditional hydraulic pump. According to Audi, the steering feedback is excellent and response is efficient, but we have our doubt with electric power steering.
Audi drive select is standard on the RS5 and it allows you to adjust the characteristics of the steering system, S tronic transmission, throttle valves and exhaust system. The exhaust system controls open and close flaps to increase and decrease sound emission. If you opt for the MMI Navigation System you also get an “individual” mode, which gives you some added personalization.
Dynamic ride control (DRC) is an optional feature on the RS5 and it connects the each shock to its diagonal counterpart using a hydraulic line and a central proportioning valve. As you corner, this system increases the support of the spring on the front, outside wheel in the curve, preventing that corner from diving downward, causing severe understeer.
Audi went to some serious lengths to assure us that the RS5 would handle and brake like an dream, and we are certainly impressed... on paper.
Audi certainly did not skimp out on the safety features either, as there are plenty of them on the RS5. You get standard parking system plus, automatic belt feeder, comprehensive package of restraint systems, aluminum rollover plates the shoot upward in the event of an anticipated rollover, adaptive cruise control, fully automatic braking at speeds under 18 mph, and side assist monitors to check your blind spots.
As with all modern cars, technology is a big deal and Audi delivers here with its optional MMI navigation system, which includes a hard drive, DVD player and 7-inch color monitor. Also optional is Audi Connect with car phone, which hooks up the RS5 to a mobile Internet connection, allows its passengers to surf the web via an integrated WLAN hotspot. You can also get Audi Traffic, and Google Earth with Street View integration into the navi system.
Pricing and Release Date
In the U.S., the new Audi RS5 Convertible will be available starting spring of 2013. Prices will start from $77,900.
|Audi MMI® Navigation package||$3,550|
|Driver Assist package||$3,250|
|Ceramic front brakes||$6,000|
|Sports exhaust system with black finishers||$1,000|
As it sits right now, the RS5 is positioned between the BMW M3 and M6 , so there is no direct competitor to speak of, per se. However, with BMW working on the all-new M4, which is slightly larger than the M3, that will be its closest competitor. The M4 is rumored to come with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine, but no power estimates are available yet. We can safely assume that this 3.0-liter engine should pump out somewhere in the 420-horsepower range, falling 30-horsepower short of the RS5. However, the 3.0-liter would likely get somewhere in the range of 24 mpg combined, putting it well ahead of the RS5’s V-8 powerplant.
In Mercedes-Benz’s corner you have the 2013 E550 convertible that is going to come in at $66,220 and boast a 5.5-liter V-8 with a pair of turbochargers feeding it. This convertible is bound to feature more that 500 horsepower and about the same packaging that the Audi boasts. So our question is, why would you blow $112,000 (at least) on an RS5 Cabriolet when you can get a fully loaded 2013 E550 for less money? For that matter, you can nearly reach an SL63 AMG for the same price as the RS5. Audi better be making the pot pretty sweet to pull people away from that sexy, sexy Benz.
In all honesty, we love the look, power, speed, and features of the RS5. The price, however, is a gigantic sticking point. Look at all of the other cars you have on your plate when you expand your budget to meet the RS5, then ask yourself “is this Audi really better than an E550, M4, M6, Jaguar F-Type Convertible, and a Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Convertible?” We have a hard time saying that it is, on paper at least...
- Awesome performance
- Very sharp looking
- Ton of technology available
- Very, very expensive
- More expensive than most cars in its class
- Audi has to pull off a miracle to keep buyers from heading to Mercedes or BMW
Gallery Audi RS5 Cabriolet
Photo Credits: Paris Auto Show - Thomas Mintz
Dynamic performance where the sky’s the limit – The Audi RS 5 Cabriolet
- Audi extends its model series with a high-end convertible
- 4.2 FSI engine with 331 kW (450 hp), zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.9 seconds
- Elegant and spacious body with lightweight cloth soft top
Dynamic performance where the sky’s the limit – Audi introduces the RS 5 Cabriolet. The four-seat convertible with a cloth soft top entices with a unique combination of elegance and power. Its 4.2 FSI, a high-revving naturally aspirated V8 engine, outputs 331 kW (450 hp). It accelerates the high-performance sports car from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.9 seconds.
In the RS 5 Cabriolet, Audi dynamics takes on an especially beautiful form in the car’s flowing side profile with perfectly balanced proportions and sharp details. A frame in matt aluminum look surrounds the hexagonal single-frame grille; its honeycomb grille insert that sports an RS 5 logo shines in anthracite. Wedge-shaped headlights with wave-like lower edges illuminate with xenon plus lamps and LED strips that form the daytime running lights. Large air intakes are embedded in the distinctively shaped front apron whose ends run out into splitter edges.
Sill add-ons and wheel housing extensions dominate the car’s appearance in side profile; the tornado line that defines the shoulder of the RS 5 Cabriolet was drawn to look especially sharp. The door mirror housings have an aluminum look, while the surface of the windshield frame and the decorative trim strips of the window channels and the soft top box cover are made of matt anodized aluminum.
The lightweight textile roof of the RS 5 Cabriolet spans over the generously proportioned interior space like a low curved dome; a special foam layer in the roof delivers high acoustic comfort. At the press of a button, the soft top opens and closes fully automatically in 15 seconds and 17 seconds respectively – even when driving at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31.07 mph).
When open, it hardly affects the size of the spacious luggage compartment – it only requires 60 liters (2.12 cu ft) of its 380 liters (13.42 cu ft) total volume. The split rear seatbacks can be folded over individually, and a load-through hatch from the trunk to the rear seating area improves variability. Special reinforcements contribute to the convertible body’s high rigidity, and aluminum front fenders compensate for some of the added weight of the reinforcements.
Elegant LED light strips illuminate in the taillights, which operate without any conventional incandescent lamps. Like the lights, the rear bumper was also redesigned; its diffuser is now much higher, and a honeycomb screen insert encloses the two large elliptical tailpipes of the exhaust system. On the trunk lid there is a subtle matt carbon spoiler lip for more downforce; it may be painted in the exterior color as an option.
The Audi RS 5 Cabriolet measures 4,649 mm (15.25 ft) long, 1,860 mm (6.10 ft) wide and 1,380 mm (4.53 ft) high, and its wheelbase is 2,751 mm (9.03 ft). Eight exterior colors are available – a monochrome color, four metallic and pearl effect colors and three crystal effect paints. The soft top is available in black, gray, red or brown. As options, Audi can install a styling package in matt aluminum as well as an engine compartment design package that uses carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) materials. The car’s drag coefficient is 0.34; underbody panels make a significant contribution towards aerodynamic refinement.
A typical RS 5 highlight is its three-spoke steering wheel with flat-bottomed rim that is trimmed in perforated leather. The multifunction keys are intuitive, as are all other controls in the RS 5 Cabriolet. The terminal of the optional MMI navigation plus system, for example, only requires six permanent keys for the main menus, and just a single button control suffices for Audi drive select. White numerals on black dials provide a strong contrast and are easy to read. Sport-oriented drivers will find a lap timer for lap times and an oil temperature gauge in the driver information system.
The sport seats have power adjustments, high side panels for optimal lateral support, integrated head restraints, a lumbar support and a pull-out thigh support. They are upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara or in the optional black or lunar silver Fine Nappa leather. All leather types are pigmented to inhibit heating by sunlight. Seat alternatives are manually adjustable bucket seats or climate-controlled comfort seats with a ventilation feature.
The interior of the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet is styled in black, and the inner soft top liner can be ordered in the optional color star silver. Fine chrome highlights, understated high-gloss black trim and carbon inlays underscore the car’s dynamic appearance. Upon request, Audi can deliver the inlays in Aluminum Race, piano finish black, matt brushed aluminum or stainless steel mesh at no additional cost.
There are RS logos on the backs of the seats, the aluminum inlays in the door sill plates, the steering wheel, the tachometer and the gear selector grip of the seven-speed S tronic. The inside door handles consist of two slender ribs, and the pedals and many other controls glisten in aluminum look. The Audi exclusive program offers many other customizing options.
Propulsive power for the RS 5 Cabriolet is supplied by a high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 engine with FSI direct injection. From its 4,163 cc of engine displacement, it outputs 331 kW (450 hp) at 8,250 rpm and produces a maximum torque of 430 Nm (317.15 lb-ft) between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. The 4.2 FSI with red painted cylinder head covers that is manually assembled in the Hungarian plant in Győr achieves a specific power output of 79.5 kW (108.1 hp) per liter engine displacement; each hp only needs to move 4.267 kg (9.41 lb) of vehicle weight. The long-stroke engine with its aluminum crankcase breathes freely; flaps in the exhaust tailpipes vary the sonorous acoustic backdrop. As an option, Audi can deliver a sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trim.
The Audi RS 5 Cabriolet rockets from a standstill to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.9 seconds. The car’s top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155.34 mph); at customer request, Audi can boost this to 280 km/h (173.98 mph). The powerful V8 has a combined fuel consumption of 10.9 l/100 km (21.58 US mpg). Its cylinder liners and chain drive are optimized for minimal friction, and the oil pump is only driven as needed.
Dual-clutch transmissions like the seven-speed S tronic of the RS 5 Cabriolet are distinguished by a high level of efficiency, which is further improved in this model by the long ratio of the highest gear. Shifts are performed so quickly and smoothly by alternating the clutches that they are hardly perceptible. The driver can have the seven-speed S tronic shift automatically in the D or S program, or he/she can manually shift with the gearshift lever or the paddles on the steering wheel. The Launch Control function is a useful drive-off assistant for the race course. It enables an optimal start by letting out the clutch at an ideal drive-off engine speed.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system gives the RS 5 Cabriolet a decisive advantage in traction and stability. Its technological centerpiece, the crown-gear center differential, is lightweight and compact. In normal driving operation, it distributes torque between the front and rear axles at a 40:60 ratio; if necessary, it can direct up to 70 percent to the front or a maximum of 85 percent to the rear. Torque vectoring – an intelligent software solution – completes the center differential’s work tasks.
If a wheel at the inside of a curve begins to lose its grip when cornering at speed, it is braked slightly before any slip occurs – this keeps the RS 5 Cabriolet neutral for an exceptionally long time in extreme driving conditions.
As an option, Audi can install a sport differential that actively distributes power between the rear wheels via two superposition gears. A perfect supplement to the quattro drivetrain, it presses the RS 5 Cabriolet into the curve at the handling limits, counteracting any tendency to oversteer or understeer right from the outset.
The chassis of the four-seat convertible exhibits a high level of technical complexity. Many components of the five-link front suspension and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension are made of aluminum. The speed-dependent power steering system utilizes an electromechanical drive unit; it provides direct and sensitive steering feedback and is highly efficient. The body is 20 mm (0.79 in) lower than that of the Audi A5 Cabriolet; its mounts are stiffer, and its anti-roll bars are larger and stronger. The standard wheels are forged aluminum wheels in machine-polished ten-spoke design, size 9 J x 19 with 265/35 tires; 20-inch wheels in three attractive designs with tires in 275/30 format are available as options.
The brake system employs internally ventilated and perforated discs in a weight-saving wave design; the front discs are 365 mm (14.37 in) in diameter. The wave-shaped outer contour of the friction rings reduces unsprung mass by a total of about three kilograms (6.61 lb). Pins are used to join the discs to the aluminum brake pots – a concept adopted from motorsport. The brake calipers are painted black; the front brakes operate with eight pistons each. The ESC stabilization system has a Sport mode and can also be completely deactivated. Audi can deliver the car with carbon fiber-reinforced ceramic front discs and six-piston calipers as an option.
Audi drive select is a standard feature in the RS 5 Cabriolet. The driver can use this function to vary the characteristics of the steering system, seven-speed S tronic, throttle valves and exhaust system sound flaps to one of the modes comfort, auto or dynamic; if an MMI navigation system is installed, the ‘individual’ mode is also offered.
The sport differential, adaptive cruise control and dynamic steering – whose gear ratio can be varied by nearly 100 percent as a function of vehicle speed – can also be incorporated into the system.
Another option that is controlled by Audi drive select is sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) – a purely mechanical system that operates without any delays. Each pair of diagonally opposing shock absorbers is interconnected via hydraulic oil lines and a central valve; when cornering at speed, the system increases support of the spring-deflected front wheel at the outside of the curve. The shock absorber characteristic can be adjusted over three levels.
The Audi RS 5 Cabriolet is delivered with an extensive set of standard features. They include the parking system plus, driver and front passenger seat heating, automatic belt feeder, wind deflector, lighting package, driver information system with rest recommendation and a comprehensive package of restraint systems. In case of an impending roll-over accident, strong aluminum plates deploy upwards behind the rear head restraints. Sporty and luxurious options include three-stage head-level heating, convenience key, high-beam assistant, adaptive light and three-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning.
All assistance systems offered in the A5 model lineup are available as options in the RS 5 Cabriolet as well. Adaptive cruise control maintains the four-seat convertible at the desired distance to a vehicle driving ahead in traffic and supports the driver in braking. At speeds below 30 km/h (18.64 mph), it initiates a full brake application in an emergency situation. Audi side assist monitors the space behind the vehicle, which helps to ensure safe lane changes. Audi active lane assist makes it easier to stay in a driving lane. The parking system plus can be extended to include a reversing camera.
In the multimedia field, Audi is offering a comprehensive modular component system; at the very top there is MMI navigation plus which includes a large hard drive, DVD drive and seven-inch color monitor. An ideal complement is Audi connect with car phone, which connects the RS 5 Cabriolet to the Internet. Audi connect lets passengers freely surf the web with their mobile end devices via an integrated WLAN hotspot. Customized online services from Audi connect are also available to the driver – they range from Audi traffic information online to navigation with Google Earth images and Street View.
Customer deliveries of the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet begin in early 2013 in Germany. The base price in the home market will be 88,500 euros.