For years we’ve been treated to many - BMW M3s, Audi RS4s and Mercedes C63 AMGs to name a few - but there’s always been a little gap in the market for those punters who just don’t really require as much space as an RS4-sized car affords them.
That’s where this car - the coupe version of the RS5 - comes into the mix as although it shares much of the RS4’s DNA, it’s a different kettle of fish when you begin to scratch its look-at-me Petrol Blue surface.
It’s only right to start off by talking about the RS4, though, as without it, the 5 simply would exist. The former - for years - has been the go-to family car for petrolheads who’ve done well for themselves for obvious reasons: pace, all-weather performance thanks to its Quattro four-wheel-drive system, gorgeous interiors and the fact it can swallow everything that’s associated with family life.
The RS5 follows that recipe: Quattro, it has a 444bhp twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre engine, an eight-speed gearbox and a big old boot, but its set-up just feels a little bit more serious thanks to the coupe body on this car.
Looks-wise, it’s just brilliant. Typically Audi RS, bulging arches, wonderful presence. Inside, it’s even better thanks to oodles of quality, expensive materials and the best steering wheel I’ve ever used. Merc may have bridged the gap recently while BMW flounders, but Audi’s interiors truly are second to none and the RS5’s is a shining example.
Start it up and there’s a lovely V6 thrum. Previous RS5s may have had the larger capacity V8, but you certainly don’t miss the extra two cylinders as what you lose in aural gratification, you make up for in accessible pace. Its 444bhp is the same as the outgoing V8, but the way it’s delivered is altogether different - the V6 feels punchier and its power is offered much lower in the rev range.
Fast Audis have regularly been criticised for being too dull, too clinical and lacking fun, but a spirited drive in an RS5 reveals some eye-opening traits. There’s genuine steering feel, a truly brilliant gearbox and point-to-point pace that’s hard to explain. Its relatively heavy mass is disguised well, but that’s only thanks to Audi’s nous and how this car behaves; the brakes are phenomenal and the rate in which the RS5’s V6 piles on speed is alarming.
Quattro does rob a degree of involvement, it’s true, but having the stability and trust in a properly fast car is something that’s needed. Take Alfa Romeo’s incredible Giulia Quadrifoglio for example - exciting, fast and utterly terrifying in anything but bone-dry conditions…
What you get with the RS5 is all the hallmarks of a traditional fast Audi, but this is added to by great steering - at last - and exceptional, all-weather pace that can be exploited no matter the conditions. It’s something special and you should absolutely give it a try if you’re in the market for a £60,000 daily-but-fast car.