• 2018 Audi RS5

The RS5 snarls at the competition

LISTEN 24:58

The second-generation Audi A5 was introduced in June of 2016 as a 2017 model with a fresh look and updated technology. As the cards usually play over at Audi, it didn’t take long for the brand to finish updating the high-performance RS5, and we got to see it in all its glory at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show. It boasts an all-new look that is more aggressive than ever with more defined lines, wider flaring of the fenders and rear quarters, updated technology, new materials inside, and – more important to most – an all new 2.9-liter, Biturbo, V-6 that delivers a cool 450 horsepower and 442.5 pound-feet of payment decimating torque that’s sure to make your inner manhood squeal like a little girl on Christmas. Of course, that’s the same horsepower figure of the outgoing model, but a serious increase of torque to the tune of 125.5 pound-feet.

So, what does all that mean for performance? Well, the new RS5 can hit the 62 mph sprint in as little as 3.9 seconds – an improvement of 0.3 seconds over the outgoing model – and it breaks even in top speed at 174 mph. That’s not bad, but if you want to feel upset about no increase in horsepower, you might want to take into consideration that this RS5 has a much smaller engine compared to the 4.2-liter V-8 that was found in the last-gen model. But, the RS5 really is about more than just engine specs and performance numbers, so let’s dive on in and take a look at the whole picture before this bad boy makes it into dealer showrooms later this year.

Update 03/12/2018: Audi has decided to sell the RS5 in the United States, and it has a significantly lower price than expected. Check out the details in the “Pricing” section below.


2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 708151

As I mentioned before, the new RS5 had a serious influx in aggressiveness injected into its DNA. Up front, Audi’s latest grille design that is shorter and wider (and more geometrically sound) defines the nose. The headlights have grown a bit in width and height, and now feature a bright LED strip that dominates the top of the lens. Down below, the fake corner inlets have been redesigned as smaller units that are more recessed than before, while the central insert that runs along the bottom of the grill encompasses the bottom of the corners before shooting upward at a 90-degree angle to add more character. There’s still some silver trim up front around the grille and below the air dam, but it’s much smaller and less gaudy than before. Finally, the hood ties the whole front end together with sharper lines that help to accentuate the stout curve of the hood itself.

2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
- image 709103
The new RS5 had a serious influx in aggressiveness injected into its DNA.

Moving over to the side profile, and it’s more of the same story. The same bodyline that resides below the waist carries over from the last-gen model, but it too is sharper and has a mild bend at the flares of the rear quarters. The lower body line has been dropped down to the side skirt and is closer to parallel with the waistline than before. A trim insert at the bottom of this bodyline matches the trim from the front fascia and adds a bit of contrast to the sides. The rear wheel arches are more muscular than ever, thanks to the flaring effect that helps remind you that the new RS5 is just a bit wider.

To the rear, Audi paid a lot of attention to what it was doing, and the design back here is clear proof of exactly that. The new taillights are sleeker but aggressive at the same time, protruding from the rear just a bit. The rear deck has been redesigned with more rounded edges while the rear fascia now has a lot more character than before. The little fin on top of the rear deck is finished in black like the trim on the sides and up front, giving the car as a whole just the right amount of contrast. Down below, a new diffuser unit is in place with an all-new look and repositioned silver trim. The exhaust outlets are almost identical in size and shape, but now sit a little lower, and protrude from the rear a bit – a completely different look from before.

Competing Designs

2018 BMW M4
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As you would expect when we talk about a new ride from Audi, it’s going to be an all-out battle royal among the German three when it comes to competing models. As such, the new RS5 will go toe-to-toe with the BMW M4 (above) and the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe (below) in what will be a fight to the death for supremacy in looks, comfort, and performance. When it comes to the M4, BMW updated it for the 2018 model year, but it was a light update that some would even consider obnoxiously lazy. Be that as it may, the M4 is still an aggressive competitor that will give the RS5 a run for its money. Its hood isn’t quite as muscular, but its front fascia makes up for that with the wide air dam and large corner air intakes. LED headlamps come standard, but if you want the hexagonal LED strips as shown off above, you’ll need to check at least one option box. The side profile consists of two sharp body lines and flared wheel arches that make the car more menacing overall. Around back, the rear fascia mimics the front in design, with the exhaust outlets being integrated into the corners of the rear fascia. The rear taillights are also LED units. If you opt for the competition package, you’ll get some exterior trim elements in black, which include the front grille surround, window trim, fender vent logo, the M4 logo, and the exhaust outlets. A pair of 20-inch, Star-Spoke 666 M styled wheels that are finished in black are also available as an option.

2016 - 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 641175

When it comes to the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe, you’ll find that it’s more of a modern day muscle car than anything. The headlights are worked into the front corners and feature a long LED strip that puts on emphasis on length. The hood gets a few distinct body lines similar to those found on the RS5 but toned down a bit in comparison. The front fascia isn’t quite as aggressive as that of the M4 or the RS5, featuring a wide opening that makes up both the air dam and the corner air intakes, but it split by an insert that adds a significant amount of character. The side profile is defined by two very sharp lines below the waistline and the muscular rear haunches that reside well below the waistline. Around back, the C63 has a look all its own with a small but noticeable fin on the rear deck and somewhat large taillights. The rear fascia has a recessed area that serves as home for the rear reflectors and an air vent in each corner. Down below a small diffuser makes all the difference as far as style goes, and looks great sitting between the dual exhaust outlet in each corner. All told, it’s a spicy proposition, that can certainly hold its own in a battle among German manufacturers.

Exterior Dimensions

Mercedes-AMG C63 BMW M4 Audi RS5
Wheelbase (Inches) 111.8 110.7 108.89
Overall length (Inches) 187.0 184.5 185.9
Overall height (Inches) 55.1 54.4 53.54
Overall width (Inches) 73.6 73.6 73.26
Track front/rear (Inches) 64.4/62.7 62.2/63.1 62.91/62.51


2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Interior
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You didn’t expect Audi to hold back when it came to the interior, did you? Well, if you did, you might want to familiarize yourself with Audi and its RS line, because it pulled out all the stops when it comes to materials, design, style, and technology. For starters, you’ll find healthy doses of carbon fiber on the door trim panels, center console, and dash face thanks to new inserts. Black leather upholstery is found just about everywhere else, including the armrests on the door panels, most of the center console, and the seats. All leather is double stitched with a contrasting red thread to added a little visual stimulation and the center of the seats even get a hexagonal stitching pattern that oddly looks really good here.

2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Interior AutoShow
- image 709113
You might want to familiarize yourself with Audi and its RS line, because it pulled out all the stops when it comes to materials, design, style, and technology.

Ahead of the driver sits a redesigned flat-bottom steering wheel with a rim that’s wrapped in Alcantara with red stitching, a smaller hub, and redesigned spokes that are more recessed than before. The end result is a wheel that’s not only comfortable but about as sporty as you can really get. The instrument cluster has been replaced by the latest iteration of Audi’s virtual cockpit, which is able to display not only pertinent vehicle information but navigation and guidance information as well. Audi says that there is a “comprehensive range of infotainment choices,” but only mentions the option MMI navigation plus with MMI touch system that you see here. It comes with Audi connect (meaning a 4G LTE connection) that is supplied via a flat-rate data package with free roaming throughout all of Europe. Phone connectivity is available via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The touchpad controller on the center console is used to control the infotainment display and functions similar to that of a smartphone in that it allows you to zoom in and out, scroll, and enter characters. Other optional technology includes a head-up display and as many as 30 driver assistance features.

2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Interior
- image 710983

Finally, down to the little details, there are RS emblems found on the seats, steering wheel, door sill trims, and the gear selector. With the RS Design Package, you’ll also get red seatbelts, and floor mats with the RS emblem. All told, it’s a pretty comprehensive setup for a coupe, but as the range-topping model, would you really accept any less?

Competing Comfort and Technology

2018 BMW M4
- image 710981

When it comes to sport and functional interiors, BMW really has it nailed down with the M4 (above.) What you get is the same general design as that of the standard 4 series, but you’ll find healthy doses of leather upholstery everywhere, including the dash. All leather is held together by contrasting double stitching for added flair. The Sports seats now have illuminated M4 logos in the seatbacks while most of the interior trim pieces have been electroplated to give a black-ish appearance throughout the cabin. The big news here is the infotainment system, which has the same OS as that found in the 5 Series. The professional navigation system is phenomenal, providing 3D maps on demand. Phone connectivity is made via Bluetooth, while an inductive charging pad will keep your device charging on the go. Finally, BMW’s ConnectedDrive suite of services comes standard, as does a WiFi hotspot. Options include a Carbon Interior Pack that gives you an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and carbon fiber inlays throughout the cabin. The gear selector also gets a carbon fiber finish if you go for this package. Needless to say, it’s a nice place to spend time, even when equipped as standard.

2016 - 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe High Resolution Interior
- image 641176

When it comes to the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe, you’ll find that the interior is uniquely inviting thanks to its sporty nature and design. To start things off, you get a flat-bottom steering wheel with an AMG logo on the bottom spoke. It also gets a dose of Alcantara at the 3 O’clock and 9 O’clock positions, and a white stripe at 12 O’clock. It gets an AMG-specific instrument cluster with carbon-looking dials and a massive carbon fiber inlay that covers the entire face of the center console. The standard AMG seats are wrapped in Dinamica man-made leather and microfiber, the AMG Dynamic Select system, and an AMG-exclusive analog clock. If you opt for the performance seats, you’ll get a lower seating position and a near-excessive amount of lateral support to keep you firmly planted during those extreme maneuvers. Other options include a touchpad controller for the infotainment system, a COMAND hard-drive navigation system with an 8.4-inch display, three years of navigation updates, AMG’s head-up display, TuneIn world radio, iHeart Radio, Wi-Fi hotspot, and voice control.

Interior Dimensions

Mercedes-AMG C63 BMW M4 Audi RS5
Headroom front/rear (Inches) 38.8/35.6 39.8/36.1 TBA
Legroom front/rear (Inches) 42.0/32.0 42.2/33.7 TBA
Shoulder room front/rear (Inches) 54.8/51.7 55.3/51.7 TBA
Trunk Volume (cu ft.) 10.5 11.0 TBA


2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 708142

Almost every manufacturer under the sun has adopted the “small engine, big turbos” approach to meeting increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy standards, and the new Audi RS5 is no exception to this rule. That’s right; there’s no V-8 stashed under the hood of this RS5. Instead, Audi went with what seems to be the German norm, a 2.9-liter, Biturbo, V-6 that has an equal 450 horsepower on tap but delivers as much as 442.5 pound-feet of torque – an increase of 124.4 pound-feet over the last-gen model. And, to make it even better, that torque is available from as low as 1,900 rpm and remains maxed out until 5,000 rpm. Power is routed from the engine through an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic that has been “sportily tuned.” Power is then transmitted to all four wheels via Audi’s Quattro AWD system with a 40:60 bias toward the rear to maintain an intense driving dynamic and optimal traction. A rear sport differential can be had if you’re willing to check an extra option box at the time of ordering.

2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Drivetrain AutoShow
- image 709123
Audi went with what seems to be the German norm, a 2.9-liter, Biturbo, V-6 that has an equal 450 horsepower on tap but delivers as much as 442.5 pound-feet of torque – an increase of 124.4 pound-feet over the last-gen model.

So, how did Audi manage to squeeze the same amount of horsepower and an insanely large amount of torque out of a 2.9-liter V-6? Well, things start off with the two turbos which have been positioned in the V, between the cylinder banks. This cuts down on the time it takes the air to get from the turbos to the intake manifold. The engine uses a B-cycle combustion process, and central direct injection, two things that Audi says represents “a new level of efficiency among the RS models” The compression stroke for each cylinder has also been shortened, ultimately creating a high compression ratio. The power stroke is “normal” in most regards, but longer than the compressions stroke, which should help increase efficiency as well. On the NEDC cycle, the new RS5 consumes 8.7-liters per 100km, which translates to about 27 mpg here in the U.S. It should also be noted that the new RS5 weighs in at 3,648 pounds, which represents a weight loss of 132 pounds over the last-gen model.

All told, the RS5 is good for a 3.9-second sprint to 62 mph and a top speed of 174 mph. That’s the same top speed as the outgoing model, but an improvement of 0.3 seconds for the sprint to 62 mph. As they say, you can’t always have your cake and eat it too, so no 200 mph top speeds here, but you’ll probably get to that 174 mph a bit quicker thanks to the drop in weight and that new 2.9-liter that Audi says was developed from the ground up.

Competing Performance

So exterior looks and interior amenities are nice and all, but I know why you’re really here. You want to see how the new RS5 stacks up against the competition on the performance front. And, who could blame you? With competition this stiff, you really have to look at the things that really matter. When it comes to the BMW M4, you’ll get a 3.0-liter inline-six that delivers a cool 431 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is offered as standard equipment, but you can opt for a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission if you prefer not to row your own. Of course, if 431 ponies aren’t enough for you, you could opt for the Competition Package. It gives you a special ECU tune that ups output to 450 horsepower while keeping fuel economy at a respectable 32.1 mpg. All told, the standard M4 can hit the 60 mph sprint in 4.1 seconds with a manual transmission or 3.9 seconds with that DCT transmission. Top speed, on the other hand, is limited to 155 mph, so the RS5 will take you, in the long run, all day long.

Opting for the Mercedes C63 Coupe will get you the most out of the three, with the 4.0-liter V-8 delivering a total output of 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Maximum horsepower becomes available at 5,500 rpm, but all that torque? You can get that pavement mulching goodness at just 1,750 rpm. Shifting duties for this beast of an engine is handled by AMG’s Speedshift, seven-speed automatic, so don’t be expecting to row your own in the Merc. On the plus side, there are four different drive modes that help change shifting patterns as you see fit. Selections include Comfort, Individual, Sport +, and Race. Individual, by the way, is used when you want to set up your own profile outside of the AMG presets available with the other driving modes. Even with all of that extra power over the competition, you’ll still find that the C63 breaks even, needing 3.9 seconds to hit the 62 mph sprint. It also tops out at an electronically limited 155 mph – again, the Audi RS5 wins in the long run.

Drivetrain Specifications

Mercedes-AMG C63 BMW M4 Audi RS5
Engine 4.0-liter V8 biturbo 3.0-liter Twin-turbocharged inline-6 2.9-liter Biturbo, V-6
Horsepower 469 HP @ 5,500- 6250 RPM 431 HP @ 5,500-7,300 RPM 450 HP
Torque 479 LB-FT @ 1,750-4,500 RPM 406 LB-FT @ 1,850-5,500 RPM 442.5 LB-FT
Transmission 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 6-speed manual eight-speed Tiptronic automatic
0 to 60 mph 3.9 seconds 4.1 seconds 3.9 seconds
Top Speed 180 mph 155 mph 174 mph
Curb weight 4,074 Lbs 3,530 Lbs 3,648 Lbs
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 17/23/19 17/26/20 TBA
Turning Circle (curb to curb) 37.1 ft. 40.0 TBA


Supporting the body and keeping the ride smooth is an updated suspension system that includes a revised five-link setup up front and a new five-link system in the rear. For those of you who were sleeping in 2015, the old RS5 used a trapezoidal-link suspension, which didn’t cripple the RS5 by any means by doesn’t offer the same dynamic afforded by a five-link system. The RS sport suspension system as a whole drops the ride height of the RS% by about an inch compared to the standard A5. Options include the RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (think adjustable suspension via drive modes,) ceramic brakes, and dynamic steering with RS-specific tuning. These options are available via Audi Sport and will drive up the price a bit but are well worth it. If you don’t opt for any of the extras, you’ll still get the Audi Drive Select system with its various drive modes – you just won’t get quite as much adjustability when it comes to overall ride quality.


2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Exterior
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The chances are that we won’t get the new RS5 here in the U.S., but it is set to hit dealerships in Europe in June of 2017 and will be priced from €80,900. That computes to about $87,405 at current exchange rates and accounts for a premium of $46,566 over the standard A5 and $19,880 over the Audi S5.

U.S. Pricing

The Audi RS5 is on sale now and starts out at $69,900, about $18,000 less than its European equivalent. That price includes the base model and also excludes things like taxes, titling, and dealer prices. Of course, you may not find one at this price as dealers are responsible for setting their own pricing and a model like this is bound to take at least a small uptick in the price department.

Competitive Pricing

So, we know that the RS5 will start out at €80,900 (about $87,400,) but is that really competitive with the M4 and C63? Well, the M4 starts out in Germany at €76,700 while the C63 starts out at €76,398. That computes to $82,867 and $82,541, respectively. So, as you can see, pricing is still fairly competitive, but the RS5 is the newest of the bunch and is the most expensive by about $5,000 or so. It’s not too bad of a premium to pay for a fresh design and new engine, but we’ll leave that decision up to you.

Other Options

Lexus RC F

2015 Lexus RC F High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 567560

While it’s not typically a car you would compare to the Audi RS5 or the BMW M4, for that matter, the LC F is indeed a competitor in this segment. The exterior falls into that “love it or hate it” category, with Lexus’ massive spindle grille up front to go with an aggressive hood and stout body lines that demand respect. It’s gorgeous and comfortable on the inside but doesn’t offer quite as much support for front passengers. And, when compared to models from Mercedes, BMW, or Audi, the interior actually looks quite dated for a car that made it into dealerships for the 2015 model year. Under the hood, it rocks a 5.0-liter, naturally aspirated, V-8 that delivers 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. That horsepower figure is higher than what the M4 or RS5 offer, but the RC F is actually slower to the 60 mph benchmark, making the sprint in 4.4 seconds. It can run the quarter mile in 12.5 seconds, though, and it tops out at 170 mph, which puts it just below the RS5 in the long haul, but well above the Merc and Bimmer in this segment. Then again, the RC F starts at just $62,400 here in the States, so it’s really quite a bargain compared to the other three models we’ve discussed here. It’s not quite as fast, but you’ll have an extra $20,000 to make the modifications need to decimate anything else in this niche if you really wish to do so.

Read our full review on the Lexus RC F here.

Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe
- image 710977

A Cadillac? Yes; I’m throwing a Cadillac into the mix. But, this isn’t your grandmothers Caddy, and truth be told, it’s actually faster than anything we’ve spoken of so far today. First off, the exterior package is aggressive in all the right ways and muscular like an American sports car should be. The interior is sporty but works hard at defining American styling with the infotainment display recessed into the center stack and the center console blending into the dash like it’s all one piece. The seats are as supportive as necessary and comfortable – both of which are very important when you consider what lurks under the hood. The engine in question is a 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers 455 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. And, that’s enough power to get the ATS-V to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of more than 185 mph – a figure that Audi, Mercedes, or BMW can’t beat with their competitors in this segment. Shifting duties are handled by six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. As of the time of this writing, the ATS-V starts out at $62,895, putting it well below offerings from the German trio.

Read our full review on the Cadillac ATS-V Coupe here.


2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 708163

Needless to say, Audi isn’t playing around in the looks, comfort, or performance department. But, when you have a whole handful of high-performance coupes ripe for the taking, it makes it difficult to choose just which one you want to greet you every morning when you step into your garage. The new RS5 is definitely a looker, and it has the performance credentials to make any man happy, but it’s hard to look past models like the M4, C63, or event the significantly cheaper CTS-V coupe. In the end, your best bet is to test drive each one and see which suits your taste and driving style the best – you’ll surely find one that fits you like a glove. If you’re planning on going for the RS5, you’ll have to wait until June of 2017 when it hits dealers, but it sure looks like it’s a model worth waiting for. What do you thing, though? Let us know in the comment section below.

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    • Priced too high for my taste
    • Little information to go by.

Update History

Updated 10/24/2016: The upcoming Audi RS5 was caught testing around Nurburgring. Check the video to hear RS5’s new turbocharged V-6 engine in action around the ring.

Update 09/19/2016: The next-gen RS5 was caught testing in the wild again. And, while it hasn’t shed any camo, it is now sporting the correct front fascia and fenders. Check out our review below for all of the details.

Update 06/13/2016: Now that Audi dropped the new A5 coupe, we decided to create a rendering for the upcoming RS5. Let us know in the comments section below what do you think about it.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - Robert.moore@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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