It's been several years since Audi's famed RS logo was last affixed to the A4 sedan in the United States, and the market has missed a high performance counterbalance to the M and AMG efforts made by the German brand's home market competitors. Snagging the two-door Audi A5 platform - itself based on its compact sedan sibling - the 2013 Audi RS5 is designed to rectify this situation and offer a high class alternative that is especially appealing to drivers who live in climates where winter weather is an annual reality.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Audi RS5.
01. The 2013 Audi RS5 Is A Two-Door Coupe
The 2013 Audi RS5 makes no bones about its sporty appearance, taking the more sedate Audi A5's basic shell and dressing it up to look the high performance part. A revised front fascia provides two enormous air intakes, the gaping maw of a grille features a stainless-look steel mesh pattern, and the rear of the car offers attractive dual exhaust tips. The Audi RS5's rear deck has been garnished with an 'active' spoiler that extends at speeds above 75-mph in order to enhance stability, and optional 20-inch rims are also available with the high end coupe.
02. The 2013 Audi RS5 Offers A High-Revving V-8 Engine
The 2013 Audi RS5 doesn't go the forced-induction route, preferring to swap turbos and superchargers for a tightly-wound 4.2-liter V-8. This eight-cylinder mill comes with an 8,500 rpm redline, which means that driving the car is akin to lighting up a race-ready engine. Output for the finely-tuned V-8 is listed at 450 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, and all of its grunt is available without having to wait for a snail to spin up under the hood. Not only does this make the Audi RS5 an easy car to launch but it also adds predictability on the track, as drivers never have to concern themselves with a sudden burst of power destabilizing the vehicle's course.
03. The 2013 Audi RS5 Features An Advanced Automatic Transmission
Purists will be disappointed to hear that, unlike the Audi TT RS, the 2013 Audi RS5 is not available in the United States with a traditional manual transmission. Instead, Audi has provided the Audi RS5 with the next best thing: a seven-speed, dual-clutch automated manual that is capable of snapping off gear changes faster than a human being ever could. Drivers can choose to set the transmission into Normal, Sport, and Manual modes, with the latter making individual gears accessible via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Even in sport mode, the transmission's computerized brain does an excellent job of determining the right cog for the current driving situation.
04. The 2013 Audi RS5 Comes With Quattro Grip
The 2013 Audi RS5 is outfitted with a performance-oriented version of the brand's famed quattro all-wheel drive system. Unlike in the standard Audi S5, the Audi RS5's quattro system is able to shuttle as much as 85 percent of engine output to the rear axle in an effort to preserve the handling dynamics of a rear-wheel drive car. The car also comes with a torque-vectoring rear differential, which is capable of transferring power delivery from one side of the car to the other so as to help the outside tire while the vehicle is in the middle of a turn. Together, the features do a good job of presenting an all-wheel drive car that is more neutral while cornering, rather than exhibiting the prodigious understeer that is often associated with this type of drivetrain setup.
05. The 2013 Audi RS5 Can Be Had With A Dual-Mode Exhaust
There are many sports car owners who have had the thought that the factory exhaust system on their vehicles simply isn't loud enough to irritate the neighbors. The 2013 Audi RS5 solves this problem quite nicely by offering a sport exhaust option that can best be described as displaying a split personality. For a mere $1,000, the Audi RS5's exhaust note will stay muted and mellow while cruising around town at sedate, law-abiding speeds. Raise the revs up, however, and additional flaps inside the system open in order to unleash the full, sonorous roar of the 4.2-liter V-8 engine.
06. The 2013 Audi RS5 Provides A Launch Control Feature
Even though the 2013 Audi RS5 already comes with standard quattro all-wheel drive the engineers at the brand wanted to make sure that the vehicle could blast down the drag strip as quickly as is inhumanly possible. To that end the Audi RS5 has been outfitted with a launch control system, which, when activated, asks the driver to simply step on the gas pedal to rev the motor up to 5,000 rpm. The computerized clutches take care of the rest, dumping the power as smoothly as possible to all four wheels and sending the coupe shooting forward like a rocket ship with nary a hint of drama, reaching 60-mph in roughly four seconds.
07. The 2013 Audi RS5 Delivers Superlative Handling And Braking
The 2013 Audi RS5 is not a light car by any stretch of the imagination, but technology has conspired to give it handling that is in keeping with its well-regarded competitors. In addition to the Audi RS5's trick quattro all-wheel drive system and torque-vectoring rear differential, the vehicle also comes with variable-ratio steering, well-tuned shocks and springs, and eight-piston front brakes that drag the car down to a stop again and again without any fade. Carbon ceramic brakes are also available as an option for drivers who plan to make track time a regular feature in the life of their RS5.
08. The 2013 Audi RS5 Features A Single Trim Level
The 2013 Audi RS5 offers only one trim level but this base version of the car is very well equipped. Heated Nappa leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, RS logos and stitching throughout the interior, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry and ignition, the Audi Drive Select system, parking sensors, and adaptive HID headlights are standard with the automobile. Additional features are available via options packages, and they include the Audi MMI Navigation Plus package (MMI interface, navigation system, upgraded stereo, rearview camera), the Driver Assist package (adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, dynamic steering), and the Titanium package (body-color side mirrors, the previously-mentioned 20-inch rims, and black exterior trim).
09. The 2013 Audi RS5 Will Eventually Be Offered As A Cabriolet
Some sports car fans simply prefer to go topless, and starting early next year the 2013 Audi RS5 Cabriolet will allow them to do precisely that. The market for all-wheel drive convertibles might a small one, but the Audi RS5 Convertible is determined to serve it and keep those who choose to drive their cloth-top performance car year-round happy when the snow starts to fall. The vehicle has already been shown at the Paris Motor Show, and it maintains almost all of the same styling cues as its coupe sibling and comes with an identical drivetrain. Convertible buyers will most likely have to sacrifice at least a smidgen of performance, however, due to the extra weight of the sans-roof design.
10. The 2013 Audi RS5 Is Aimed At The BMW M3
We've already discussed the fact that the 2013 Audi RS5 doesn't exist in a vacuum and is in fact a direct response to several vehicles already on the market. Perhaps its closest rival is the BMW M3 coupe, a vehicle that once faced off against the Audi S4. The S4 has been repositioned by Audi to take on the BMW 335i, leaving the RS5 to do battle with its Teutonic nemesis on more equal terms.
Also along for the ride - and also sporting an automatic transmission - is the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, and lurking in the background is the malevolent presence of the Cadillac CTS-V, a tweener sedan that can't seem to decide whether it should be kicking sand in the face of the M3 or the larger BMW M5. The luxury performance sedan market is a crowded one, and the RS5 remains the only all-wheel drive member of this illustrious group of automobiles.