Audi RS5 Review
The Audi RS5 Coupe and Sportback are fast and powerful but also rather expensive
Strengths & weaknesses
The Audi RS5 is the highest-performing model in the A5 range, sitting above even the very fast S5 models. It’s available in Coupe (two-door) and Sportback (five-door hatchback) body styles, and all versions come with a powerful V6 petrol engine with 450hp, plus four-wheel-drive and an automatic gearbox.
Although the RS5 has a V6 petrol engine, it’s not the same as the one found in the S5 models that were petrol-powered. The RS5 model uses a 2.9-litre motor with 450hp and this allows a 0-62mph time of just 3.9 seconds. It’s astonishingly fast, but the engine itself isn’t really any more fun to use than the one in the S5.
This means that some of its rivals, including the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe, are more fun to drive. In fact, every other high-performance alternative, including the Lexus RC F and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, has a better engine - but the Audi does have the edge when it comes to daily driving and practicality.
The RS5 Sportback in particular is a relatively practical car, which is impressive considering its supercar-like performance. Yet the S5 model offers nearly as much performance for a much lower price, so the RS5 looks rather expensive in the context of what else you can get for your money.
Updates to the Audi A5 range in 2020 saw a new look arrive for the RS5, but the engine didn’t change, unlike with the S5. This means it makes a bit more sense if you really want a petrol-powered model, as the S5 changed to diesel power with the same update.
Should I get an Audi RS5?
✔ Incredibly fast and powerful
✔ Excellent interior and lots of tech
✔ Quite practical for a performance car
✘ Not as much fun to drive as alternatives
✘ Expensive to buy and run
✘ The S5 is nearly as fast and a lot cheaper
The Audi RS5 Coupe and Sportback are really fast and look great, plus they’re practical enough for daily use and the interior is absolutely top-notch. The Sportback model is even roomy enough for some families and has a big boot, which means it’s an option for someone looking for something that’s as fast as a supercar but practical enough for daily life.
Yet the RS5 is hard to recommend to most people because it’s just not that exciting. If we were spending a chunk of cash this large on a performance car, we’d want it to be fantastic to drive, and the RS5 is just a little too dull when you compare it to direct rivals such as the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63. The Audi S5 presents another issue; this model is very nearly as fast, just as good to drive and costs a lot less to buy.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Best RS5 for
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
Audi RS5 Coupe
The Audi RS5 Coupe is the two-door version. It’s a little shorter than the Sportback model (below), and the front doors are longer to allow access to the back seats by folding the front ones forward. It’s considered to be the more stylish car of the two options, but you can decide which model you prefer the looks of.
The rear seats in the Coupe are smaller than the ones in the Sportback, so they’re not really suitable for adults, at least on longer trips. They are useful for short trips with four people and could potentially accommodate kids more regularly if needed. The boot opening is narrower than the Sportback model’s, though the boot isn’t a huge amount smaller - it’s still quite practical for a coupe.
Audi RS5 Sportback
The RS5 Sportback has more space inside as well as two extra doors, which means it’s the best choice for families. The rear seats aren’t as spacious as those you’ll find in a saloon (such as the mechanically-similar Audi RS4) but legroom is okay, and since you can fold them flat, the boot is much more practical than the one in the RS5 Coupe.
Both models use the same engine, a 2.9-litre V6 with 450hp, and an automatic gearbox with four-wheel-drive. This means performance is virtually identical between the two - it’s really just a decision about styling, because the Sportback is clearly the more pragmatic choice.
- AUDI A5 COUPE BUYERS' GUIDE
- AUDI A5 SPORTBACK BUYERS' GUIDE
- AUDI A5 CABRIOLET BUYERS' GUIDE
- AUDI S5 BUYERS' GUIDE
|RS5||Limited stock: The RS5 base model is very well equipped and there’s no real reason to go beyond it. You get all the tech you could want including sat-nav and digital dials, plus 19-inch alloy wheels, LED lights and sporty heated seats in leather with contrast stitching.|
|RS5 Carbon Black||Limited stock: The Carbon Black model adds 20-inch alloys, black exterior styling details including on the grille, badges and bumpers and some different interior trim pieces. These cosmetic add-ons aren’t really worth the extra money unless you really love how they look.|
|RS5 Vorsprung||Limited stock: The Vorsprung is kitted-out with 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, extra driver assistance equipment, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and ambient interior lighting. It has a lot of equipment but is very expensive - it’s not great value.|
The RS5 is only available with one engine, no matter whether you choose the Coupe or Sportback model, or even if you choose a model before the 2020 update to the range. Your only option here is a 2.9-litre turbocharged V6 petrol with 450hp.
If you are really unsatisfied with this engine then there was a previous RS5 model with a 4.2-litre V8 petrol, which made a much more dramatic sound and needed to be worked hard to provide its power, making for a more engaging drive. It’s a shame that the newer model we’re looking at here has this V6 engine, as it’s not as enjoyable to use as the old V8.
Nor is it as exciting as the straight-six petrol in the BMW M4 or the turbocharged V8 engine in the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe. The Lexus RC F’s V8 motor is far more enjoyable as well, and the V6 in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio proves that it’s not just the type of engine that’s at fault - the Audi’s V6 is just a bit dull to use. Performance is still excellent, though - it’s so fast that putting your foot flat on the throttle for more than a few seconds will see you breaking the speed limit on any UK road.
There are really only two choices in the RS5 range; the Coupe and the Sportback model. There’s no Cabriolet version for this model, and while there are different trim levels, the engine is the same no matter which version you pick.
The different models aren’t much different to drive either, so even if you want the best-handling model it hardly makes a difference to choose between them. The main reason to consider a Coupe over the Sportback is if you prefer the styling and don't need the practicality of four passenger doors and a hatchback.
|Audi RS5 Coupe: Go for an earlier RS5 if you want to get the best value for money. These versions have depreciated more but have the same engine as the newer cars and are just as fast and powerful.|
|Audi RS5 Sportback: The Sportback is the only choice for family life as it’s far more practical than the Coupe version - there’s more room inside, easier access via the rear doors, a bigger boot and a wider boot opening for luggage.|
|Audi RS5 Coupe: There’s hardly any difference between all the models when it comes to performance, so there’s really no best option here. We’ve only chosen the Coupe because it’s slightly lighter.|
|Audi RS5 Vorsprung: The higher-spec RS5 models don’t make much sense. The base model is already really well-equipped and the add-ons you get with the top-spec car simply aren’t worth the huge price increase. Save the money and spend it on fuel, as the RS5 is thirsty.|
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There are quite a few models that rival the Audi RS5 in Coupe and Sportback forms. The Coupe model takes on the BMW M4 and the Mercedes-AMG C63, as well as the Lexus RC F. All of these rivals have better, more dramatic engines than the Audi, and are more exciting to drive as a result. The Lexus isn’t quite as sharp as the Audi but the other German options are more fun to drive overall, too.
The Sportback model is a bit more like a saloon and so it also rivals the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. The Alfa Romeo is much better to drive than the Audi and still quite practical, plus it’s relatively good value as well.
Audi RS5 practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Audi RS5 Coupe is 4.7m long, 1.9m wide and 1.4m tall. It’s 60mm shorter than the Sportback model, which is 4.8m long, but both models are the same width. The Sportback is 10mm taller too, though these small differences aren’t too significant. It will need a large garage to fit inside, just like most modern sports cars.
There’s more space in the back seats of the Sportback model - it’s not just the extra doors that make it more practical. Headroom isn’t the best but there’s still much more space for passengers in this model than in the Coupe, which feels cramped. Rivals such as the BMW M4 are also very tight in the back, though.
|Length 4,723 - 4,783mm||Width 1,866mm|
|Height 1,372 - 1,399mm||Weight 1,707 - 1,742kg|
The Sportback model has a 465-litre boot, while the Coupe version has a still-respectable 450-litre luggage space. One key area the Sportback wins in terms of practicality is the boot door itself, which is hinged at the top of the glass rather than below, which means there’s much better access for larger items.
On top of that, the rear seats fold down in this version to open up 1,280 litres of space in total, which is impressive for a sporty model like this. It’s one of the most practical cars of its type, as a result.
|Coupe seats up 450 litres||Sportback seats up 465 litres||Sportback seats down 1,280 litres|
The Audi RS5 ought to be largely the same as the A5 range in terms of reliability, although the engine is unique to the RS model. It’s hard to get a real read on the reliability of newer models like this but we’ve not heard any horror stories about it - apart from Audi’s poor overall rating when it comes to customer satisfaction.
In the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey for 2021, Audi came in 23rd place out of 29 manufacturers. It’s not good news as it appears owners aren’t too happy with the brand, but other high-end makers like BMW and Mercedes are also rated poorly.
The normal Audi warranty applies with the RS5, which means you get three years of cover up to 60,000 miles. The mileage limit isn’t applied until the third year, so the first two years of the warranty have an unlimited mileage limit. It’s a very standard warranty - rival cars will mostly come with the same, though the Lexus RC F has cover for up to 10 years.
There are also extended warranties available from Audi - you can find more up-to-date details on the Audi UK website. There’s an option for four-year cover for up to 75,000 miles and another for five-year cover for up to 90,000 miles.
|3 years||60,000 miles|
AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £643
The Audi RS5 is a very practical performance car - it has the kind of performance that you usually only find in a supercar, yet in the Sportback model there’s enough room for a family and the car is easy to drive, relatively comfortable on the motorway and has a high-quality and comfortable interior.
However, it’s hard to recommend over the S5 model, as this version has nearly as much performance but at a much more affordable price. The RS5 is also not as fun to drive as rivals such as the BMW M4, so it’s not the best choice if you’re a driving enthusiast either. The RS5 is an excellent all-round car but its high price and underwhelming driving experience mean it’s not the easiest to recommend.
The Audi RS5 Sportback is definitely the model to go for; even if you don’t have a family, the extra doors are bound to come in handy at some point and there’s hardly any difference when it comes to performance. All models have the same engine and gearbox, plus they handle almost identically, so there’s no huge reason not to choose this version.
If you love the look of the Coupe model then you can choose this version instead. An older version will save you money, as the warranty will have expired by now, but extended warranties are available for peace of mind.
If you want to get a model with some factory warranty left then go for one in the lower trim level - not the Carbon Black or Vorsprung models - because they are far better value and all cars in the range get a lot of standard equipment.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example||APR rates available|
|Cash price £12,000||APR 7.90%||Value of loan||From|
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12||Annual mileage of 8,000pa||£25,000+||6.9%|
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55||Term 48 months||£12,000-£24,999||7.9%|
|Optional final payment £4,285.79||Loan value £12,000||£8,000-£11,999||8.9%|
|Total amount payable £14,755.55||Deposit £0||<8,000||9.9%|
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.