Lineup Showcases Fresh Engine, Restyled Appearance and Higher Performance
Coming off of June sales that set an all-time monthly record in terms of deliveries, Audi is targeting more growth with a bevy of new and refreshed models for 2013, including some notable changes for the Audi A5 and Audi S5, as well as the U.S. introduction of the high-performance Audi RS 5. It’s an important mark of confidence in the 5 family, which was originally launched as the more curvaceous coupe alternative to the Audi A4 roster and has done more than hold its own in the marketplace. In fact, sales of the A5 were up a fairly robust 18.1 percent last month, albeit on just 1,607 deliveries.
Let’s see what the new model year will bring, shall we?
The biggest news from Audi’s 5 family is the launch of its best-performing iteration, the 2013 Audi RS 5. The “RS” moniker is reserved for the ne plus ultra of the brand’s performance machines—see also the Audi TT RS—and requires each entry to pass nearly 5,000 miles of testing at Germany’s Nürburgring racetrack.
Backed by that kind of engineering effort, the Audi RS 5 has been configured with a 4.2-liter direct-injection V8 that delivers 450 hp and 316 lb.-ft. of torque, and gets mated solely to one of Audi’s seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmissions. The result: 0-60 comes in just 4.5 seconds, with the RS 5 able to keep running all the way up to 174 mph. The car is highly agile as well, with a revised suspension, standard quattro all-wheel-drive system and unique sport differentials that allow drivers to enjoy life at the limits.
The RS 5 also is distinguished from the Audi A5/S5 by features like its honeycomb grille, carbon fiber interior accents, unique wheel and steering-wheel designs, and added aero enhancers, including a front splitter, rear diffuser, and adaptive rear spoiler. That latter item deploys automatically when the RS 5 tops 75 mph, then retracts when the cars slips back below 50 mph.
The debut of the RS 5 is notable for another reason, too, since it finally gives the brand a competitor for the BMW M3 Coupe, an important halo product from one of Audi’s archrivals. On the other hand, it must be said that the M3 is more than $8,000 less expensive than the RS5, yet just as quick, and the BMW also offers a drop-top version and a true manual transmission for old-school drivers. The Audi has quattro and a significantly higher top speed, but the difference between its 174 mph and the M3’s 155 mph isn’t likely to come into play too often out in the real world.
Audi helped pioneer the use of LED accent lighting in the auto industry, and the company is pushing ye olde envelope yet a bit further with the 2013 Audi A5 and enthusiast-oriented Audi S5. While past models relied on LEDs as a simple underline to the headlights, the freshened design is much more intricate and detailed, as are the cars’ new grilles, bumpers and hoods. The front ends in particular get a more sophisticated presence, with stronger hood lines and new character lines that help frame the headlights, and a smoother overall appearance. Be sure to also notice how the restyled fog lamps provide a visual echo of the LED accents on the headlamps.
Inside, the brand has improved the look and feel of the cars’ MMI (multi-media interface) and audio controls, while also adding a tasteful dash of chrome, and the “Audi connect” feature debuts on the A5/S5, too. Paired with Audi’s “MMI Navigation plus” technology, the result is a comprehensive connectivity and infotainment system that delivers:
Above and beyond these changes, Audi also increased the athleticism of the 2013 Audi S5. The S Line strikes a middle ground between Audi’s traditional models and the ultra-performance RS entries, adding more power, upgraded suspensions and some minor style tweaks. More specifically, the latest S5 welcomes an engine transplant for the new model year: Out is the previous year’s naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V8, in is a supercharged 3.0-liter TSFI V6 with direct injection that enables quicker acceleration and better fuel economy (despite making a little less power). The new tale of the tape: 333 hp, 325 lb.-ft. of torque, a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds, and EPA marks of up to 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway/21 mpg combined—and remember, that’s while carrying Audi’s standard quattro four-wheel-drive setup.
The 2013 Audi A5 will continue to holster its 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, worth 211 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque while able to achieve 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway/26 mpg combined with the EPA.
The cost to vorsprung durch technik in these new Audis—all of which are on sale now—is as follows; also, note that quattro is standard on all except the A5 Cabriolet with the Multitronic transmission, and engine and transmission specs are in parentheses:
2013 Audi A5 (2.0T, manual)—$37,850
2013 Audi A5 (2.0T, Tiptronic)—$39,050
2013 Audi A5 Cabriolet (2.0T, Multitronic)—$43,350
2013 Audi A5 Cabriolet (2.0T, Tiptronic)—$45,450
2013 Audi S5 (3.0T, manual)—$50,900
2013 Audi S5 (3.0T, S Tronic)—$52,300
2013 Audi S5 Cabriolet (3.0T, S Tronic)—$59,300
2013 Audi RS 5 (4.2-liter V8, S Tronic)—$68,900