Why the 2013 Audi RS 5 Cabriolet Matters: The story here is a simple one. Audi has explicitly announced its intentions to become the No. 1 luxury brand in the United States, and that requires—at a minimum—fleshing out its lineup by deploying the full range of Audi vehicle variants for each nameplate in this country. Thus, the four-rings brand will be introducing diesel-powered TDI models for upper-echelon entries like the Audi A7 and Audi A8, and, more to the point here, even open-air versions of its hi-po entries, such as the 2013 Audi RS Cabriolet.
Audi wouldn’t be bringing the RS 5 Cabrio to America if it wasn’t backed by a strong business case, but the car also fills the more symbolic (yet not-inconsequential) role of providing a direct alternative to the 2013 BMW M3 Convertible. The Audi is a bit more powerful, although both vehicles can cover the 0-60 run in the same 4.9 seconds, and it’s likely be both more expensive and more fuel-efficient, too.
The 2013 Audi RS Carbiolet offers up 450 hp and 317 lb.-ft. of torque, which compares to the 414/295 in the BMW, and, in their fixed-roof configurations, the former is priced at $68,900 versus the latter’s $60,100. MSRPs for the RS 5 Cabriolet have yet to be announced, but a similarly sized pricing discrepancy between it and the current M3 convertible would put the Audi at an awfully steep $77,550—versus a price point of $68,750 for its rival.
Now, at first glance, the 2013 Audi RS 5 Cabriolet may look like it priced itself out of the BMW’s league, but keep in mind that it also features a standard quattro all-wheel-drive system (the M3 is rear-wheel-drive only), a terminal velocity of 174 mph that is 19 mph beyond that of the Bimmer, and a more than 10 percent advantage in fuel economy: The Audi has been certified by the EPA at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway/18 mpg combined, while the best the BMW can manage is 14/20/16.