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Driven: New Audi RS5 to sell in greater numbers

AggRS5ive: The new Audi RS5 backs up its wider body and lower stance with a 331kW/600Nm 2.9-litre biturbo V6 engine, meaning it has plenty of grunt to match its more antisocial styling.

Latest 331kW/600Nm RS5 firecracker to add 15 to 20 sales a month for Audi

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Audi logo12 Dec 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

AUDI Australia’s flagship RS5 Coupe has landed in local showrooms priced at $156,600 before on-road costs and is expected to contribute an additional 15 to 20 units a month to the strong-selling Audi Sport brand that accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the car-maker’s overall sales.

In its first generation, about 500 RS5 Coupes were sold in Australia since its launch in 2010 – in addition to 31 Cabriolet versions that found new homes since 2013 – averaging approximately 10 units a month.

However, despite the expected 50-100 per cent lift in RS5 sales, local Audi Sport volume will still be led by the more affordable RS3 Sportback and sedan – which kicks off at $80,900 for the five-door and $84,900 for the booted version – that make up nearly as much as a quarter of the A3’s sales mix.

Speaking with GoAuto at the launch of the mid-size coupe, Audi Australia marketing and communications director Anna Burgdorf said the RS3 and RS5 appealed to two different buyer demographics.

“It’s a popular car (RS3), but obviously the very nature of the entry model is that you’re going to get more uptake of the entry-model car because it’s more attainable for people to get straight into an RS model and it’s a different car,” she said.

“It’s a younger buyer, predominately male, but it is a different buyer to an RS5 buyer.”

Compared to the standard A5 customer base, Audi expects the RS5 buyer profile to be more male centric at 90 per cent – 10 per cent more than the donor car – while also skewing a little younger with the typical buyer in their late-40s earning more than $250,000 a year.

The all-new RS5 ditches the 331kW/430Nm 4.2-litre V8 in favour of a lighter, Porsche-derived 2.9-litre biturbo V6.

Power is steady at 331kW but torque rises 170Nm to 600Nm, the former available from 5700-6700rpm and the latter on tap from 1900-5000rpm.

With power sent to all four corners via Audi’s rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed sports automatic transmission, the new RS5 will blitz the 0-100km/h dash in 3.9 seconds.

For comparison, BMW’s M4 starts at $139,990 for the Australian market-specific Pure grade that produces 331kW/550Nm from a twin-turbo inline six and can reach 100km/h from a standstill in 4.0s, while the $163,612 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe develops 375kW/700Nm from a force-fed V8 for a 0-100km/h time of 3.9s.

Built on the MLBEvo platform, that underpins all new-generation A5 and A4 vehicles, the second-gen RS5 sheds 60kg from the outgoing model’s weight to tip the scales at 1655kg with the downsized turbocharged engine saving 31kg alone.

In addition to the RS5’s diet, an idle-stop system has helped lower fuel economy to 8.8 litres per 100km and carbon dioxide emissions are 199 grams per kilometre – a 16 per cent efficiency improvement over its predecessor.

Measuring 4723mm long, 1861mm wide, 1360 tall with a 2766mm wheelbase, the new RS5 has grown in all dimensions except height, while both front and rear tracks have been increased to 1598 and 1588mm respectively.

To emphasise the RS5’s quattro underpinnings, the wheelarches have been widened 15mm compared to standard, and house 20x9-inch wheels wrapped 275/30 rubber all round.

Bringing the RS5 to a stop are front and rear ventilated discs with red-painted RS callipers, while a ceramic brake option is available for $11,900.

Suspension is handled by a five-link front and rear set-up with Dynamic Ride Control as standard that allows for a Dynamic, Comfort or Auto setting.

Equipped with a sport differential, the asymmetrical quattro system can vary torque split from the front and rear from the usual 40:60 up to 15:85 to make the most of traction under the right driving conditions.

From the outside the RS5 is easily distinguished from its standard siblings thanks to more aggressively-styled front facia with quattro-adorned hexagonal grille, large lower air intakes and widened fenders.

The rear also sports a prominent diffuser with twin oval-shaped tailpipes, while a subtle bootlip spoiler is also standard as well as small tail-light-adjacent vents.

Audi also offers a carbon-fibre roof option for $1200 that saves 3kg in weight or a no-cost panoramic sunroof.

Equipped with RS-branded sports seats in the front row with heating, massaging and electric adjustment for the driver, the RS5 also wears a Nappa leather cabin trim with carbon inlays, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel with shift paddles and Audi’s 8.3-inch infotainment system with Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite navigation, digital radio and Bluetooth.

Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, autonomous emergency braking, tyre pressure monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and 360-degree surround view cameras.

Optional packages include a carbon and matte aluminium/black exterior styling package for $10,900 each, an RS design package that adds red-stitch highlights and Alcantara to the cabin for $3300 and the $3900 Technik package that includes a head-up display, matrix LED headlights and wireless phone charging.

Buyers can also option their RS5s in eight different colours including the Sonoma green, Navarra blue, Misano red and Daytona grey for $1846. Nardo grey is a standard colour.

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