The all-conquering Audi RS5 storms into 2014 with a few detail tweaks that enhance what is already the most extreme four-seat performance car the brand makes. The car packs some changes to the honeycomb grille’s color options and a handful of other refinements like redesigned LED optics out back and adaptive cruise inside.
The RS5 is so hardcore macho that it makes the R8 4.2 seem like a posh cruiser. The engine literally thunder-claps up its rev range in seconds with a bassy baritone from the front and a bellowing growl from the giant exhaust out back.
Audi’s two layers of performance upgrades mean that RS5 can be laser focused on delivering crushing acceleration and track performance at the expense of touring comfort. The increase in drama from the Audi S5 to the RS5 is akin to the C63 AMG versus the C63 AMG Black Series .
Next summer’s new M4 coupe will likely pack all the visual drama and matte paint options of the latest M6 GranCoupe and possibly even run a tri-turbo six-cylinder engine design for the first time. So, the RS6 may find itself fending off a new competitor in about a year’s time.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Audi RS5 coupe with highlights on cool performance options and the new-for-2014 features.
The exterior of the RS5 makes it clear that this is no sports cruiser. As quick as the S5 is, it struggles to look nearly as expensive or purpose-driven as the RS model. Despite big wheels, the S5 shares all its looks closely with the base A5.
The RS5 looks unique from all angles, especially up front. The RS5 replaces the S5’s horizontal grille slats for a deep, 3D honeycomb finish for the whole frame. There is no visible bumper element under the grille. The deep front air dam is finished in contrasting silver and extends further under the grille, as well as all the way to the wings of the car.
Just above the air dam beside the grille are two huge air intakes finished with dark horizontal slats ahead of a similar honeycomb in the grille. The side-most air vents feature visible air channels that push a huge volume of air past the car’s additional cooling radiators and the front brakes.
Clever ductwork for brake cooling has been a part of German cars for decades. Rarely are the vents as overt and prominent as on the latest RS Audi’s, however. The RS6 Avant and forthcoming 189 mph RS7 take the design highlight to a new level with aluminum shrouds marking out the key side ducts.
Despite the fenders looking incredible and giving the RS5 a squat, low stance on the road, they only marginally widen the car and the tracks are virtually unchanged versus the S5 . What they do provide is a larger wheelhouse that increases the maximum wheel and brake package sizes up to 20 inches versus the max 19 inches on the S5 .
The RS5 is available with optional 15-inch front carbon-ceramic brakes for an extra $6,000. Keen eyes may also note the new circular radar array in the lower bumper of the 2014 RS5.
None of the wheels or paint colors are too exciting, but the base 10-spoke RS rims are just too subtle. The optional five-spoke rotor design in dark-grey-titanium finish is the best of the lot.
Out back, the new LED taillight designs are far tougher to notice than the newer headlamps out front. The new taillight graphic basically replaces the old bulb blinker with an LED, gives the LED bulbs larger lenses and adds a crisp, dot-free LED strip along the bottom of the lights.
The trunk-lid spoiler is well integrated and deploys automatically at 75 mph but also offers a manual up or down selection from inside the cabin.
Down below is where the real action lives. The lower rear bumper shows where the hundreds of hours of wind tunnel tweaking really become visible. The functional diffuser lives between two 5-inch oval exhaust pipes and is topped by a body-color strip that recalls some racing aero mods. Just above the painted strip is a matching honeycomb mesh to flush any trapped air from the wheel wells or underbody out the back. Things like this are critical at the RS5’s 174 mph top speed.
2014 Audi RS5 Exterior Dimensions:
|Overall length||183.0 in.|
|Overall width||73.2 in.|
|Overall height||53.8 in.|
|Track (front/rear)||62.3/ 62 in.|
2014 Audi RS5 Exterior Features:
- RS5-exclusive honeycomb grille insert
- RS5-exclusive speed-deployed electric rear spoiler, with manual override (deploys at 75 mph, retracts at 50 mph) 2.5 mph
- Redesigned LED taillights
- RS5-exclusive oval exhaust tips
- RS5-exclusive rear-diffuser
- RS5-exclusive lower air inlet without fog lights
- RS5-exclusive wide-body design
- Audi Singleframe grille in high-gloss Anthracite diamond mesh design, with matte alu-optic surround with/without license plate
- Adaptive Audi xenon plus headlights with self-leveling, LED daytime running lights and static cornering lights Automatic self-leveling for xenon plus headlights
- Rain/light sensors for automatic windshield wipers and headlights
- Headlight washing system
- LED taillight technology with rear fog lights
- Daytime running lights, user programmable
- Three blink touch-to-pass lane change feature in turn signal
- Automatic light switch controlled by light sensor, coming home/leaving home function
- Power-adjustable, auto-dimming, heated side mirrors with memory
- Alu-optic side mirrors; heated with LED turn signal repeaters with fiber optic technology
- LED indicator light technology integrated in the side mirrors with fiber optic technology
- Anodized aluminum window surround (or windshield surround on Cabriolet models)
- Heated windshield washer nozzles
- Dual oval exhaust, finished tips (one on each side)
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio antenna, (roof-mounted)
2014 Audi RS5 Exterior Options:
- Metallic/pearl/crystal effect paint (varies: $475 up to $1,075)
- Sport exhaust with retuned acoustics and black oval finishers ($1,000)
- Comfort Seats
- Titanium package with body-color door mirrors, gloss black grille and matte black window surround ($2,500)
- Ceramic front brakes ($6,000)
- Matte finish aluminum trim ($750)
- New-for-2014 Black optics pack (RS5 Cabriolet only)
The interior of the RS5 is able to successfully recreate some of the exterior’s brutal style, via carbon-fiber inlays that replace the aluminum or wood in lesser Audis . It’s a nice-looking weave with low-gloss sheen, but is purely decorative. The car is also offered with a matte painted finishes that match the color of the carbon seatbacks.
These seats are simply gorgeous and have a high-back design with integrated headrest for maximum support. Overall, they offer a level of adjustability and comfort that most racing seats can’t achieve.
In addition, their huge base design means all drivers will sink right in. They maintain the 12-way power operation with memory functions and a four-way power-adjustable lumbar support. Traditional three-point seatbelts make driving the RS5 easier on a daily basis but there’s room to thread a racing harness through the standard buckets.
A new-for-2014 featured option is a vented comfort seat pack that is less hardcore.
The rest of the interior is simply loaded with most of the S5 options included as standard. Some highlights include the dark headliner and the five leather themes available.
The only interior options you really need are the MMI Nav setup and the driver assistance pack that includes adaptive cruise and blind-spot assist.
2014 Audi RS5 Interior Dimensions:
|Headroom With Sunroof (Front/Rear)||39.1/36.0 in.|
|Headroom With Sun Shade (Front/Rear)||37.9/36.0 in.|
|Legroom (Front/Rear)||41.3/31.7 in.|
|Shoulder Room (Front/Rear)||54.3/52.8 in.|
|EPA Cargo Volume||12.2 cubic-feet|
2014 Audi RS5 Interior Features:
- RS-design Carbon Fiber inlays on door panel interior beltline and center console with piano black console and instrument panel surround
- Full Fine Nappa leather interior and armrests
- Twelve-way power front RS5 ‘S sport-contoured seats’ including four-way power lumbar adjustment, thigh support and RS5 embossing
- Two-position driver side memory for seat and mirror adjustments (located on driver’s door)
- 40:60 split folding rear seat
- Three-step heated front seats
- Front and rear reading lights (two in front / two in rear headliner)
- Red ambient LED lighting in overhead console for front center console illumination
- Illumination for interior door release handles and air vent controls
- Front and rear foot-well lighting using LED technology
- Auto dimming interior mirror with digital compass
- Front sliding sun visors with illuminated vanity mirror for driver and front passenger
- Front and rear floor mats with fastening mechanism for front mats
- Velour carpeting
- Power central locking system with radio-operated key fob remote control for doors, trunk and fuel door
- Power windows with master switch, one-touch up and one-touch down with pinch protection
- Trunk release with soft touch and remote key fob; Coupe only: interior release button on driver’s door
- Panoramic tilting glass sunroof panel
- Retained accessory power – allows use of various electronic features (radio / CD / windows / etc.) after key is removed from ignition.
- Fully automatic tri zone climate control with separate air distribution controls for driver and front passenger, combined pollutant and pollen filter, automatic recirculated-air functions; air quality, humidity and sun angle sensors
- Rear seat HVAC vents in rear of front center console and under each front seat and temperature variation dial Electric rear window defogger with automatic timed shut off feature
- Three 12V power outlets
- Smoker package (ashtray and power outlet in front of shifter)
- One rear ashtray, located in rear of front center console, beneath power outlet
- Four cup holders (two front/two rear)
- Folding and sliding front center armrest with adjustable height and storage underneath
- Illuminated locking glovebox
- Tilt and telescopic manually adjustable steering column
- Three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom steering wheel
- Shift paddles, in alu-optic
- Electromechanical power steering
- Dynamic steering (Audi drive select)
- Anti-theft vehicle alarm system and immobilizer with blinking theft deterrent light in driver’s door
- Audi advanced keyless start, stop and entry
- Homelink with three programmable buttons
- Rain/light sensor for automatic windshield wipers and headlights
- Windshield wipers with four-position adjustable rain sensor rate
- Backlit instrument cluster with automatic brightness control:
- Audi MMI Radio plus system for controlling Infotainment / Climate / Car Setup (with 6.5” color screen)
- Audi music interface with iPod integration includes one cable for iPod connection
- Audi six-channel DSP extended sound system with ten speakers including subwoofer, 180W sound system
- Bluetooth voice calls
- HD radio
- SiriusXM with 90-day free trial subscription
- Audi concert radio with ten speakers and single CD player with MP3 playback capability
- Color driver information system
- Parking system with front and rear sensors
- Audi drive select
2014 Audi RS5 Interior Options:
- Power rear sunshade ($350)
- Driver Assistance pack: Adaptive cruise control, Blind Spot assist and Audi dynamic steering ($3,250)
- Audi Connect with six-month trial subscription
- MMI Nav ($3,550) includes Bang & Olufsen 505-watt audio
- Bluetooth audio streaming (available with MMI Nav only)
- Comfort seats with heating and ventilation
The RS5 is powered by the R8 ’s 4.2-liter aluminum V-8 producing 450 horsepower and 316 pound-feet of torque. The official 0-to-60 mph time is 4.5 seconds, but times as low as 4 seconds have been recorded in ideal conditions. Power is channeled through a seven-speed, twin-clutch transmission and to all four wheels at a ratio of 40:60 front to rear.
Out back, the RS5 comes as standard with the Quattro sport rear diff that provides mechanical limited-slip and torque vectoring to overdrive the outside rear wheel around corners. This addition always enhances the sense of speed and can dramatically increase the car’s turn-in responsiveness in extreme conditions.
Replacing the chrome exhausts for a black finish is a recommended option with a sport pack that also adds some beautiful noise from the back. With an engine so vocal, it takes a loud exhaust to be heard over the racket from the front.
The engine is hugely powerful but offers a slight throwback versus the latest turbocharged engines in the RS6 and RS7. As a naturally aspirated unit, the horsepower peak is at an uneasy 8,250 rpm and the (relatively modest) torque peak doesn’t happen until 4,000 rpm.
Therefore, this is an engine that likes to rev. Ultra-lightweight internal components help the big V-8 rev like a racecar engine. The responsive S-tronic gearbox ensures the engine is never bogged down and can drop multiple gears rapidly for passing.
|Engine Size and Type||4.2-liter 32-valve V-8 with TFSI Direct Injection and Chain-driven DOHC|
|Peak power||450 horsepower|
|Peak torque||317 pound-feet|
|Transmission||7-Speed S-tronic Automatic With Paddle Shift|
|0-to-60 mph||4.2, est.|
|Top Speed||174 mph|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||16/23/18|
Suspension and Brakes
The stability control offers varying degrees of assistance and includes Sport and Off settings that don’t require any pulled fuses like some of the faster Mercedes-Benz models.
The optional carbon-ceramic brakes are a new design and pack new-for-2014 eight-piston calipers painted gloss black and labeled “Audisport Carbon Ceramic.” Their 15-inch size is a 0.6-inch jump up from the S5, but still 1.5-inches smaller than the largest brakes on the heavier RS6 Avant .
The steel brakes come standard and have a new wave design at the edge of the disc for better heat dissipation.
The RS5 gets unique suspension settings that are far harder than even the S5 in the name of ultimate track performance. The car would benefit from the magneto-rheological dampers Audi uses for the TT and R8 to enhance the ride quality. Audi’s Quattro tuning division has yet to implement the tech with the same verve as its parent brand.
Overall, the RS5 is very safe and packs all the advanced safety kit needed to keep occupants from harm. On the active safety front, the RS5’s nimble nature means avoiding a crash will be easy.
Neither the RS5 nor its siblings, the A5 and S5, have been crash tested by the NHTSA or IIHS. The V-8-powered 2011 Audi S4 sedan is the closest Audi on the market that has been crash tested. The 2011 S4 was a four-star car from the NHTSA with slight gaps in the scores for driver protection in a frontal collision.
The current A4 is a five-star car from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick from IIHS. It scored a “Poor” rating on the IIHS small-overlap test when equipped with the smaller 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Unfortunately the RS5 would likely be more dangerous than the A4 in the new test due to the much larger engine in the same size hood area.
2014 Audi RS5 Safety Features:
- Driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags, thorax side airbags, knee airbags, and Sideguard head curtain airbags
- Front passenger occupant detection—for airbags
- Power central locking system with safety unlock feature if airbags deploy
- Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD) and brake assist
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with traction control (ASR)
- Anti-theft alarm system with panic function
- Tire-pressure monitoring system
- Safety belt reminder for driver and front passenger
- Electromechanical parking brake
- New-for-2014 Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
The RS5 is actually great value at its $70,000 base price. Even with all the options on the list the car only just cracks $80,000. This is impressive compared with the GT-R and M6 that are the RS5’s primary target rivals.
The RS5 closely follows the GT-R formula for crushing AWD super-coupe performance. As the GT-R’s U.S. price has crept above $100,000 this year, some holes start appearing in the GT-R’s defenses. Yes, it is more than a second faster to 60 than the Audi and it offers a more technically sophisticated, computer-managed AWD system with rear-wheel steering in the mix.
The two are closely matched for road presence, but the Audi stomps the GT-R in drivetrain refinement, cruising NVH ratings and interior prestige. The RS5 will require no explanations to female passengers. The Nissan might.
Gallery Nissan GT-R
The M6 is just a lardy hot rod in this latest generation. Despite BMW ’s quest to bring some joy back to the somber package, the M6’s main claim to fame remains straight-line pace. This is a trouble-prone strategy for the rear-drive BMW . Even in its strongest areas, like passing power and pace above 100 mph, the Audi trumps it with more sure-footed manners and at price that’s $40,000 less than the base M6.
From ultimate driving machine to just a poseur’s delight, the M6 desperately needs to recover its lost mojo.
Gallery BMW M6 Coupe
The RS5 coupe is the ultimate four-seat Audi in more ways than sheer speed and gut-wrenching handling. It brings a cannon to the swordfight with its exterior styling and represents a great daily driver for people with a garage full of supercars.
Audi does not break out RS5 sales in the U.S., but it is safe to say there are fewer than 300 RS5’s on U.S. roads since the supercoupe’s arrival as a late 2012 model. This makes it more exclusive than even the R8 .
To see one is to instantly want one.
The RS7 will soon be joining the RS5 in America for 2014 with the monster turbo V-8 that launches the S8 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.
Problems? The color and wheel choices are pretty boring. The interior is fantastic and luxurious but very similar to lesser A5 coupes. This is a model that would also benefit from a super-premium full-LED headlight design such as the optional systems on the new A6.
Also, fuel economy is not terrific, plus the car is all engine noise and no bellow without the sport exhaust.
Overall, this is a fantastic performance bargain and a true future classic.
|Driving||A||Incredible Cornering Speeds, Great Gearbox|
|Performance||A-||Huge Acceleration At All Speeds; Quicker Than GT-R Above 40-mph|
|Look||B||Subtle Luxury Coupe To Most People, Supercar Killer Among Car Fans|
|Value||B||Seems Like Great Value Versus GT-R And M6 But Less So Versus M3 and C63 AMG|
|Overall||A||A Racecar Mechanical Package That Can Also Cruise In Silence And Comfort|
- Meaningful style improvements via new grille and wheel finishes
- Exhaust could be louder than even the sport option
- Very effective launch control will scare the **** out of you the first time
- Big back seat
- Needs some louder colors that are RS5 exclusives; current colors too mainstream
- Still not as quick off the line as many turbo cars like the GT-R
- High top speed largely irrelevant in U.S.; Shorter gears would be more appreciated
Gallery Audi RS5
In Model Year 2014, both the RS5 Coupe and the newly-added open-air RS5 Cabriolet continue to represent maximum performance in the A5 model line and feature the unfiltered exhaust note of the high revving 450 horsepower naturally aspirated V8.
The Audi advanced key start button features a red ring surround, and Audi side assist is part of the Audi MMI Navigation plus package. The Comfort seat package with ventilated seats is now also available on the RS5 Coupe, while the Cabriolet offers the Black Optic package.