Audi rs5 2018

2018 Audi RS 5 Coupe Review - News

Perched atop the ancient Pyrenees Mountains is the tiny Principality of Andorra.

In winter, it’s surely a wonderland playground for the wealthy skiers and snowboarders who visit from neighboring France or Spain. But we’re here in the summer and the slopes are all covered in lush foliage, with the only apparent sign of life in the sleepy villages being a few random mountain bikers or motorcyclists.

A glimpse at the GPS shows a network of roads in Andorra that looks more like a pot of cooked spaghetti than a means by which to get people from point A to point B. In other words, it’s paradise for those who enjoy a good automotive flogging. As luck would have it, we were there to do just that with Audi’s newest high-performance RS 5 coupe.

Mourning the V8

There will be more than a few folks (and you can count me among them) who’ll mourn the previous generation RS 5’s ferocious, high-revving, naturally aspirated V8, replaced now with a twin-turbo V6. It’s an all-new engine, displacing 2.9-liters and putting out 450 horsepower and a whopping 443 pound-feet of torque between 1,900 and 5,000 rpm. That latter figure is 125 lb-ft greater than the old RS 5 and helps propel the new car to 62 mph (100 km/h) in a claimed 3.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h) when equipped with the optional RS dynamic package.

Audi Sport’s engineers did what they could to enhance the engine noise in the cabin through a series of baffles designed to amplify low-end frequencies up to 3,000 rpms. Make no mistake, this is not an electronic soundtrack pumped through the speakers the way a certain unnamed competitor does it, but it’s no substitute for the feral bellow of the old V8. With the RS Sport Exhaust in full-roar Dynamic mode, the car is still pretty quiet, though at highway speeds, drones a bit. Switching off Dynamic mode all but eliminates the mechanical noise from entering the cabin.

Driving Impressions

All that extra torque from the V6 means the DSG dual-clutch transmission of the old RS 5 has been jettisoned along with the V8 in favor of a new 8-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. With the car set in Dynamic mode, shifts are wickedly quick, meaning it’s unlikely anyone will miss the old seven-speed box. In Comfort mode, cog swapping is incredibly smooth, meaning that this transmission does both performance driving and luxury cruising well, and making yet another case for automatic-transmission world domination (even if I do cringe to say so).

ALSO SEE: 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe Review

If there’s one complaint, it’s that the engineers have programmed the new transmission to climb ratios as quickly as possible in the interest of fuel efficiency, even when set to “S” instead of “D.” A manual mode is available with gear selections actuated via plastic paddles that are a little cheap feeling. Unlike other so-called manual modes, the RS 5 won’t automatically upshift; a trait I discovered as I inadvertently bounced the free-revving V6 off its limiter while passing a slow-moving minivan.

While performance and styling improvements were prioritized in the development of this new RS 5, so too was an increase in fuel efficiency. Audi claims a 17 percent improvement with a combined average of 27 mpg (8.7 L/100 km).

The new RS 5’s performance also benefits from Audi Sport’s weight-loss program that has netted a 132-lb (60-kg) reduction thanks largely to the smaller engine, but other key factors like lighter wheels and an optional carbon fiber roof do their part.

Reduced mass helps all aspects of performance and the new RS 5’s handling is as impressive as its forward thrust. Our test machines featured Audi’s electromechanical steering, with an RS-specific state of tune. In Dynamic mode, the steering is not variable, resulting in a direct and linear steering response. It’s a good – and very quick – setup that transmits a decent amount of feel to the driver’s hands.

ALSO SEE: 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet and Audi S5 Cabriolet Review

As part of the RS dynamic package, our cars also included Dynamic Ride Control that presents a notable difference between the stiff Dynamic setting and the truly supple Comfort mode. Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system is set up with a 40:60 power delivery front versus rear, but even when faced with rain-sprinkled hairpin curves and a truly foolish amount of throttle, the RS 5 remained planted and unperturbed.

The grip from the Hankook Ventus S1 evo2’s is astonishing, really, making the car nearly impossible to kick into power-on oversteer. The optional 20-inch wheels are handsome on the RS 5, but they do look an awful lot like the ones found on an up-trim Hyundai Tucson.

Audi Sport’s engineers have baked a lot of control and safety in the handling that will make most drivers look like aces on a race track setting, and help prevent embarrassing trips to the ditch or guard rail. But to be clear, the RS 5 is not as boisterous or as lively as its BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 competitors, or even Audi’s own RS 3. All of these competitors are more engaging and demand more of the driver to get the most out of them. Being the only car in the class with all-wheel-drive, the RS 5 simply doesn’t excite the driver the way the others do, but it makes the Audi a better, all-season choice and is the car that’s surely most livable on a daily basis.

Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional on the RS 5 and provide powerful stopping power as expected, but I would’ve liked a little more immediacy and initial bite from them. For most people, the standard steel brakes will be more than ample.

All the Best Tech

On our second day of driving, we left Andorra before sunrise, relishing the cool mountain air and empty roads, and enabling a truly thrilling ride back into Southern France. With my driving partner behind the wheel (and me not yet fully awake), I was glad to have the extra measures of safety infused into the RS 5 as the unlit, cliff-side corners occasionally turned out to be a wee bit tighter than expected, causing some mid-corner corrections to the driving line.

ALSO SEE: 2018 Audi A5 and Audi S5 Review

It should be noted that the LED headlights are excellent, too.

All this adds up to a car that’s a serious performance machine, but one that even Audi Sport’s CEO Stephan Winkelmann proclaims is the gran turismo model within the RS lineup. The experience within the cabin reinforces that claim. The RS 5 is surprisingly quiet and comfortable, even when cruising along at speeds well above the legal limit. And the optional Bang & Olufsen sound system sends 755 thunderous watts through 20 speakers that creates a full, rich and bright soundscape.

Naturally, the RS 5 is fitted with the marque’s latest technology for both active safety and comfort accouterments including diamond-pattern RS-specific (and massaging) seats, state-of-the-art MMI infotainment system, park assist, and active lane assist among them.

Stylistically, the new RS 5 is a great evolution of the outgoing model, with muscular proportions and wider rear fender “hips” versus lesser A5/S5 models. This is also the first application of Audi Sport’s new design language, in this case presenting black and aluminum-look accents around the lower body, and headlight clusters with dark internals. There’s a new RS 5-exclusive Sonoma green metallic shade that is absolutely stunning and drew in loads of eyeballs out on the road.

The Verdict: 2018 Audi RS 5 Coupe Review

Audi Sport has achieved what it set out to do with the RS 5. It’s a higher-performing, better-looking, and more efficient machine that exceeds its former self in every measurable respect. Whether racing around exotic mountainous roads, or cruising wide open freeways, the new RS 5 is a triumphant machine that is both more comfortable and more accomplished thanks to the advances in technology.

But this progress dictated by smaller, more efficient engines means the RS 5 has also lost some of its character in the process. The absence of the sonorous V8 and the softening of some of the rawness from the RS 5’s persona, has made Audi Sport’s new mid-size coupe a superior grand touring car, but not as wild.

The 2018 Audi RS 5 is starting to show up in German showrooms this month, with its arrival in North America scheduled for the first quarter of 2018. Pricing will be announced closer to its appearance here.

Discuss this article on our Audi Forum

First Drive: 2018 Audi RS 5

As pleasantly aggressive as it is on the eyes, the meaner stance and flared bodywork of the 2018 Audi RS 5 doesn’t tell the entire story behind this reworked coupe. The most significant transformation lurks beneath its creased and widened skin, specifically the swapping of its big, naturally aspirated V-8 for a smaller, torque-ier twin-turbo V-6. Welcome to the inevitable future of Audi Sport, in all its predictably downsized and turbocharged glory.

A Teutonic Tale of Loss and Gain

The turbo trend is a bit of a new car cliché, bringing with it left-brain justifications as well as predictable chatter from enthusiasts about the loss of certain intangibles. The RS 5 enjoys the typical benefits — for starters, the smaller engine weighs 68 pounds less, alleviating some of the nose-heavy weight distribution and shifting the car’s balance rearward by a half percentage point, to 57/43. The figure is still not ideal, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

The RS 5’s 2.9-liter V-6 — also found in the Porsche Panamera — produces the same 450 horsepower as its predecessor but gains a significant 125 lb-ft of torque, for a total of 442 lb-ft. Impressively, that figure plateaus from 1,900 rpm to 5,000 rpm and bests the R8’s base V-10 by a notable 44 lb-ft. Audi’s familiar DSG transmission has been swapped for a ZF-sourced eight-speed with a conventional torque converter because a dual-clutch unit couldn’t handle the motor’s prodigious twist, according to Audi Sport development boss Stephan Reil. Fuel efficiency improves by 17 percent over the outgoing V-8, with the U.S. equivalent of the New European Cycle equating to somewhere in the neighborhood of 19/27 mpg city/highway.

Power is distributed via a Torsen differential, which employs a 40/60 front-to-rear split and can route as much as 85 percent to the rear or 65 percent to the front. A mechanical torque vectoring system uses two clutches at the rear axle to overdrive the outside wheel, with additional brake vectoring at all four wheels.

Longer, More Agile, Roomier

Though it grows in length by 2.9 inches, the RS 5 loses 132 pounds thanks to aluminum components like an instrument panel substructure formed from extruded cross members, bringing curb weight to 3,648 pounds. Front strut domes now use cast aluminum construction instead of welded sheet steel, aiding structural stiffness and steering response. An optional carbon-fiber roof shaves an additional 6.6 pounds but is unavailable on U.S.-bound cars.

The cabin also feels incrementally roomier thanks to a 0.6 inch increase in wheelbase, which adds nearly an inch of rear legroom, helping make the back seats feel almost habitable for average-sized adults. Luggage space increases by 0.4 cubic feet, offering a best-in-class total of 16.4 cubic feet.

Cockpit Action

Climb into the RS 5, and a few aggressive details quietly clamor for attention, particularly the flat-bottomed steering wheel, paddle shifters, and available contrast-stitched leather or Alcantara trim on key controls like the shifter and wheel. Unlike earlier Audi models, the 8.3-inch navigation screen is unfortunately fixed in place. At least the MMI wheel, touchpad, and hard buttons play well together. Also available is Audi’s slick Virtual Cockpit, which transforms the space formerly known as the analog dashboard into a customizable, 12.3-inch TFT screen. Unique to the RS application are displays that make the tachometer change to yellow or red when approaching redline, as well as engine output gauges, tire pressure and temperature, and g-forces.

Our test drive took us from the flatlands of Toulouse, France, to the sci-fi-ish principality of Andorra, a tiny corner nestled in the switchback-laden peaks between France and Spain. Unlike the outgoing RS 5, which howled its way to an 8,500 rpm redline, the new model’s punchier personality is best tapped at low- and mid-range rpms, where the core of its sonic soul also happens to reside. At mellower engine speeds (and in the brief space between shifts), a low frequency hum fills the cabin. It’s subtle and almost soothing but not entirely real thanks to a tiny shaker on a metal flap that allows some of the engine sounds to resonate off the windshield.

Regardless of its authenticity (or lack thereof), the deep frequency sounds are discreet enough to add some much-needed character to the V-6’s repertoire, aiding an otherwise relatively quiet powerplant by lending it an air of personality. It’s no free-breathing, high-screaming V-8 — indeed, it offers an entirely more soft-spoken quality — but at least the V-6 produces refined audio and, in sportier modes a huskier tune and a satisfying off-throttle crackle uncorked via an exhaust valve.

While the V-6 is not as gloriously long-winded as the high-revving V-8 was, it does pack an intense punch. Drop the hammer at low rpms, watch the thin-line digital boost gauge escalate, and feel the whoosh of power as the engine winds up, pressing you firmly into your stitched leather seat. Shifts during mellow driving can be a tad jerky (even in milder driving modes) but become paradoxically more comfortable when the going gets faster. There’s a certain understated quality to driving the RS 5 quickly, due in part to its relatively subdued engine sounds. Squeeze the throttle, and the car’s raison d’être instantly alters; when pushed, the RS 5 can launch to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, eliminating any suspicions of its mild-mannered pretenses. Keep the shifter in its standard mode, and there’s enough torque on hand to deliver strong acceleration. Tap it down for S mode, and power becomes more readily available. Use the Drive mode select toggle for a more aggressive setting, and the revs stay high with quicker upshifts and easier downshifts.

The RS 5 felt appropriately agile on the frantic switchbacks of the jagged Andorran countryside, thanks in part to a new hydraulically linked shock system inherited from the S8 model that’s a part of the Dynamic package (along with sport exhaust and red brake calipers). The system uses valve-adjustable shocks interconnected with hydraulic lines for greater body control, and the system pays off by feeling poised and responsive. Though steering is generally inoffensive, the dynamic steering option does deliver some artificial feeling feedback during certain mid-corner maneuvers. Our tester was equipped with the Dynamic Plus package, which adds ceramic front brakes with massive 15.7-inch rotors, a tire temperature and pressure display, a carbon engine cover, and a top speed limiter that lifts from 155 mph to 174 mph. The brakes, which are larger than the R8’s, deliver effortless stops from breathtaking speeds.

In the case of the 2018 Audi RS 5, does progress equate to excitement? We can’t help but appreciate the idea of a lighter, nimbler, and considerably quicker car that propels its equipment and instrumentation firmly into the 21st century. Does it sacrifice the (semi) analog joy of a naturally aspirated V-8 in the process? Most certainly, yes. But the tradeoffs, at least when executed with a keen eye towards power and handling as they have been with the RS 5, go a long way toward giving drivers something to look forward to in the brave new turbocharged world.

2018 Audi RS 5 Specifications

ON SALE April 2018 (est)PRICE $70,000 (base) (est)ENGINE 2.9L twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6/450 hp @ 5,700-6,700 rpm, 443 lb-ft @ 1,900-5,000 rpmTRANSMISSION 8-speed automaticLAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD coupeEPA MILEAGE 19/27 mpg (city/hwy) (est)L x W x H 185.9 x 73.3 x 53.5 inWHEELBASE 108.9 inWEIGHT 3,649 lb0-60 MPH 3.7 secTOP SPEED 155 mph

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Audi RS5 Coupe 2018 модельного года: обзор и тесты

Audi RS5 Coupe 2018 модельного года – это один из самых элегантных спортивных автомобилей, который на самом деле заслуживает особенного внимания. Уникальная стилистика автомобиля теперь больше отвечает современным тенденциям. К тому же линии стали более выразительными.

Известный немецкий автомобильный производитель Audi начал проводить тестирование новинки RS5 Coupe, которая войдет в 2018 году. Новинка была представлена в качестве спортивного автомобиля с особенной динамикой. При этом отмечается высокий уровень комфорта и удивительная эргономика кресел.

Особенности истории RS5

В 2007 году должна была состояться премьера Audi A4, но эту модель назвали Audi A5. В то же время целевая аудитория познакомилась с «заряженной» модификацией S, которая стала результатом успешного сотрудничества известного дизайнера Да Сильва и конструкторов спортивного дизайнерского ателье Кватро.

Audi RS5 изначально представляли, как удивительный спортивный автомобиль, который будет достойно себя чувствовать не только на треках, но и на городских улицах. Спустя три года инженеры известного немецкого автомобильного производителя начали представлять усовершенствованную модель RS5 с полным приводом.

Премьерный показ особенной модели RS5 в кузове купе состоялся во время проведения салона в Женеве. Машина сразу же стала особенной на автомобильном рынке и начала удивлять массовостью продаж.

Спустя полтора года во время проведения автосалона во Франкфурте состоялась премьера обновленной версии модели. При этом в сентябре 2012 года целевая аудитория сумела познакомиться с открытой версией модели, которая была оснащена мягкой крышей складного вида с электрическим приводом.

Особенности дизайна Audi RS5 Coupe

Тестовый прототип, который проходил тесты в Германии, был покрыт камуфляжем. Однако многие детали все-таки удалось рассмотреть:

  • машина обладает дерзким дизайном со спортивными и агрессивными нотками;
  • при боковом рассмотрении появляется мнение, что задняя часть оказывается немного приподнятой вверх по отношению к передней;
  • лицевая сторона обладает крупной радиаторной решеткой, которая постепенно переходит в бампер;
  • область радиаторной решетки свидетельствует о вертикальном декоративном разделении, которое отмечается только до середины;
  • округлые вырезы находятся по краям нижней части решетки. Можно предположить, что именно здесь появятся противотуманные фары;
  • тестовая машина получила красивые фары, выполненные в виде лезвия ножа. Предусматривается особенная гармония с рельефным капотом и покатой крышей;
  • бампер обладает большими воздухозаборниками, расположенными по краям основания;
  • колесные арки приобрели дополнительную массивность, в результате чего автомобиль получает расширенный облик со спортивными нотками;
  • задняя часть обладает уникальной выхлопной системой, созданной на основе широких патрубков, установленных сразу по две стороны бампера;
  • крышка багажного отделения обладает стандартным дизайном;
  • сложность в экстерьер автомобиля вносится благодаря прищуренным задним фарам;
  • на тестовую машину установили широкие 20-дюймовые колесные диски с пятью спицами.

Именно таким окажется экстерьер уникального автомобиля.

Технические характеристики авто

Купе получит современный двигатель от Audi. Вместо 8-цилигндрового 4,2-литрового двигателя автомобиль получит 3-литровый мотор с шестью цилиндрами. При этом силовой агрегат должен получить тройной турбонаддув, с помощью которого двигатель будет развивать мощность до пятисот лошадиных сил.

Можно предположить, что серийный автомобиль также получит 3-литровый 6-цилиндровый агрегат от модели Audi S5.

В любом случае машина сможет экономично расходовать топливо и порадует оптимальной динамикой. Это объясняется использованием инновационной платформы MLB Evo.

Новинка предлагается с облегченным кузовом. Вес машины уменьшится на 50 – 100 килограмм, но и этого будет достаточно для пиковой скорости и оптимального ускорения. Для достижения первой сотни будет достаточно всего лишь четырех секунд.

Audi RS5 обладает стальными тормозами классического вида, которые раньше предлагались для RS3.

Аналитики уверены: производитель предложит несколько версий Audi RS5.

2018 Audi RS 5 Coupe First Drive Review

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You notice the muted snarl when you nail the gas. Then you notice the soft rustle of wind around the A-pillars, the distant hum of the tires, and the concert hall clarity of the Bang & Olufsen audio system, even at triple-digit velocities. Yes, the 2018 Audi RS 5 Coupe is all grown up—a smooth, quiet, comfortable, connected grand tourer, albeit one that packs a 450-hp punch and, if you tick the right options box, a top speed of 174 mph.

All taut surfaces and sharp edges, the new RS 5 showcases the crisp design language being developed under the aegis of new Audi design chief Marc Lichte. Only the hood, roof, and trunk are shared with the regular A5/S5 coupes: The grille is shallower and wider, the fenders have been pumped 0.6 inch each side, and the new front and rear bumpers are adorned with the usual performance car perquisites such as vents, spoilers, splitters, and diffusers. All U.S. market RS 5s will come with black trim and 20-inch forged alloy wheels shod with 275/30 tires front and rear.

Although 2.9 inches longer overall, the new RS 5 weighs 132 pounds less than the previous model, and 33 pounds of that weight saving is in the body alone, which makes extensive use of aluminum stampings, extrusions, and castings. A carbon-fiber roof panel is available in Europe, saving an additional 6.6 pounds, but it won’t be made available in the U.S.

Inside is another of Audi’s typically classy interiors, rich in stitched leather and soft-sheen aluminum. U.S. spec RS 5s will come standard with carbon-fiber trim—90 percent of buyers of the previous model opted for it—and Audi’s impressively configurable ‘virtual cockpit’ digital instrumentation pack. A new RS-specific head-up display that in shows engine oil temperature, lap time, and shift lights in addition to speed and nav information will make its debut on the RS 5. The 0.6-inch stretch in wheelbase compared with the previous RS5, combined with new slimline sports seats, has given rear-seat passengers almost an inch more kneeroom.

The big news is under the hood, however. At the business end of the MLB Evo platform is the performance version of Audi’s new turbocharged V-6, codenamed EA389. In the A5/S5 the engine is a 3.0-liter, but in the RS 5 it displaces 2.9 liters. The reason? A shorter stroke that helps the fuel/air mixture better fill the combustion chamber. The mixture is helped into the cylinders by two turbochargers mounted in the vee that deliver a maximum of 0.95 boost. Peak power is 450 hp, which is line ball with the output of the naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 that powered the previous-generation car. The key difference is the V-8’s power peak came just north of 8,000 rpm while the twin-turbo V-6 delivers its maximum power from 5,700 rpm to 6,700 rpm.

The engine drives all four wheels—of course—through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission rather than the seven-speed dual-clutch auto used in the last car. In the RS 5 the quattro system delivers 60 percent of the torque to the rear wheels under normal conditions, but it can channel up to 85 percent to the fronts if it detects slip. The rear sport differential can also actively vary the torque to each of the rear wheels to ensure maximum traction, and all wheels can be individually braked to improve cornering agility.

The RS 5 rides 0.3 inch lower than the regular S5. Dynamic Ride Control, which uses steel springs and three stage adjustable shocks connected diagonally via oil lines running through a central valve to reduce diagonal pitching and roll through corners, will be available as an option in the U.S. as part of a Dynamic Pack that includes red brake calipers and the RS sport exhaust with black tips. Those RS 5 owners who want more can upgrade further with the Dynamic Plus Pack, which adds giant 15.7-inch carbon ceramic brakes up front, a tire temperature and pressure display function, a carbon-fiber engine cover, and most importantly ups the car’s top speed from 155 mph to 174 mph.

With its bellowing, naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 under the hood, the old RS 5 had a whiff of hooligan about it, a NASCAR good ol’ boy in a Hugo Boss suit. This new one is a much more cultured ride, and our experience confirms initial impressions after driving six-cylinder versions of the new Porsche Panamera: This Audi engine is a benchmark V-6. But the laws of physics are immutable, and a 90-degree V-6, no matter how well engineered, is never going to feel as free and fulsome as a 90-degree V-8. Audi’s sound engineers have done a spectacular job—the RS 5 growls like a hungry grizzly bear on upshifts and snap-crackle-pops discreetly on downshifts, and it’s all done in the exhaust pipes, they say, not through the speakers—but there’s no disguising the faint graininess in the delivery.

It was difficult to resist the temptation to take the old RS 5’s free-revving V-8 to its 8,300-rpm redline, not just for the hell of it, but also because that’s where the power was. It’s difficult to justify taking the new RS 5’s V-6 much beyond 5,700 rpm, even in Dynamic mode, and not just because that’s where the power curve peaks before running flat through the next 1,000 rpm. The old V-8 developed 317 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. The new V-6 has 442 lb-ft available from 1,900 rpm through 5,000 rpm. It’s a torque monster, and rapid progress is most effortlessly achieved by short shifting before the digital tach starts flashing red to warn of the approaching rev limit.

As a result the new RS 5 doesn’t sound as hellfire fast as the old one and doesn’t feel it, either, thanks to better damping and more consistent steering that help deliver a calmer dynamic demeanor. Yet the stylish Audi coupe proved impressively fast over the switchback mountain passes on our test route through the tiny principality of Andorra, high in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain.

As with all MLB-based performance Audis, the new RS 5 rewards precise corner entry when driven briskly. Although the 2.9-liter V-6 is 68 pounds lighter than the 4.2-liter V-8, its mass is still all right over the front axle; this is not a chassis that naturally wants to rotate in a hurry. But those big front tires deliver a ton of grip, and the RS 5 will go exactly where you point it, especially with the optional Dynamic Ride Control system offering additional support to the outside front corner of the car. Then it’s a matter of a little patience before getting hard on the gas as the corner opens up. The Audi digs deep into that rich vein of torque and, with the rear diff carefully monitoring the traction algorithms, slingshots out of corners.

At low speeds in Dynamic mode, the suspension still returns sharp vertical motions on a rough road, but there’s more finesse to it all than in the old car, and as speeds increase the ride calms down nicely. Again, the Dynamic Ride Control system seems a worthwhile option, deftly quelling excessive diagonal pitch and roll motions. For daily driving, switch the Audi Drive Select to Auto mode, let the eight-speed automatic do the thinking, and sit back and enjoy the RS 5’s quiet and comfortable cruising capability. There’s plenty of power on tap when you need to pass or plug a gap in fast-moving freeway traffic. There’s no need to fuss over whether you’re in the right gear—torque is your friend.

The 2018 Audi RS 5 is more restrained car than either the old RS 5 or AMG’s loud and urgent C63 S Coupe, and that’s just the way the folks at Audi Sport say they want it to be. The new RS 5, they insist, is the grand turismo of the Audi Sport RS lineup, a car designed to be driven long distances at high speed without raising a sweat. It’s still quick—the claimed 0-60-mph time of less than 3.9 seconds is right in C63 S territory—but it’s more relaxing. Understand that, and you won’t be disappointed. First cars arrive in the U.S. in the first quarter of next year, with a price tag expected to be around $70,000.

Audi chases economy as well as performance

It might be the performance engine of the new Audi V-6 lineup, but the twin-turbo EA389 engine uses an innovative combustion process developed by Volkswagen Group engineers to save fuel. It’s called the B-cycle, and it is essentially an evolution of the Miller cycle process invented by American engineer Ralph Miller in the 1950s and used by Mazda in the supercharged 2.3-liter V-6 that powered the Millenia sedan more than a decade ago.

The basic idea behind a Miller-cycle engine is to leave the intake valve open on the compression phase longer than normal and using a turbocharger or supercharger to compensate for the fuel-air mix forced out of the cylinder and through the open valve by the rising piston. The advantage is the mechanical compression ratio can be kept high—it’s 10.0:1 in the EA389—and the compression phase short. Combustion takes place in a relatively small volume, and the expansion phase is longer than normal, enhancing efficiency.

Audi compensates for the Miller cycle’s inherently smaller cylinder charge with twin turbochargers and the two-stage Audi Valvelift System (AVS). At higher load and engine speed ranges, AVS closes the inlet valve later. The opening time increases from 130 to 200 degrees crankshaft angle, while at the same time the valve lift increases from 0.2 inch to 0.4 inch.

Another key element of the Audi design is the central position of the injectors in the combustion chamber. The common-rail system directly injects the fuel into the combustion chamber at 3,625 psi to ensure a homogeneous spray pattern and a uniform propagation of the flame front.

Audi claims the B-cycle system, which has been specifically designed to be most effective under partial throttle loads, helps the EA389 deliver 17 percent better fuel efficiency (as measured on the European cycle) than the 4.2-liter V-8 it replaces, despite producing the same power and 39 percent more torque.

First Drive: 2018 Audi RS5 Coupe

TOULOUSE, France – Times are changing if you’re a driving enthusiast. If you take it just at face value it seems that with the introduction of every new car, European automakers are trying to sap the fun out of driving. Big, honking V8s are getting scarce and are being replaced by smaller-displacement engines with fewer cylinders; manual gearboxes are going the way of the dodo and are being replaced by automatics; more and more driver aids are infiltrating the sanctum of the cockpit.

However, if you take a deeper look into these seemingly uninspiring trends you’ll notice that these smaller engines are turbocharged and are more fuel efficient, while producing at least as much power and often more torque than their larger counterparts. Those automatic transmissions offer up more gears with tighter ratios than their clutch-driven equivalents, often producing quicker acceleration and better fuel numbers. And while those electronics are designed to keep you safe, many are also designed to improve driving dynamics.

The 2018 Audi RS5 Coupe is an ideal example of how these factors combine to produce a faster, lighter, more efficient car that is loads of fun to drive.

The biggest change to the new RS5 is under the hood, where a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 replaces the previous model’s 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8. While the V6’s 444 horsepower is just a shade under the V8’s 450 hp, peak torque is up substantially to 443 lb.-ft. from the V8’s paltry 317 lb.-ft. It’s the same engine you’ll find driving the latest Porsche Panamera 4S. This smaller, lighter engine is responsible for about half of the RS5’s 60-kilogram weight reduction.

This newfound power pushes the RS5 from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds. The engine is also 17 per cent more fuel efficient, claiming 8.7L/100 km using the European test cycle.

Although the sound of the V6 lacks the guttural roar of the V8, it has nonetheless been tuned to provide a delightfully muscular aural tone, including some exhaust burbling when upshifting and downshifting, especially when Dynamic drive mode is selected, which opens a sound-enhancing valve in the muffler. Exhaust sound is not enhanced electronically, which to this enthusiast’s ear is a good thing.

Where the new engine really trumps the old is in midrange power delivery, which is surprisingly forceful. Pressing on the pedal just halfway down to make a pass results in an almost instantaneous forward rush that eventually presses your body hard into the seat if your foot continues all the way to the floor. Turbo lag is almost nil, and the engine pulls hard from just under 2,000 rpm until power flattens at more than 5,500 rpm. It really makes short order of the straight bits between the bends in the serpentine Pyrenees roads on the way from Toulouse to the tiny principality of Andorra.

The engine drives all four wheels through a new eight-speed automatic, and even if you’re a bona fide manual-shift devotee, you can’t help but appreciate its slick operation. It is tuned to change ratios almost as quickly and forcefully as a dual-clutch gearbox—not having known it was a true automatic it would have been difficult to tell the difference. It is also very responsive, downshifting dutifully when the gas pedal is depressed, and changing gears with almost no delay when using the paddle shifters, up or down. Gears are closely spaced, which makes using the paddles an engaging, amusing endeavour on winding roads. Steering is very precise, belied only by a steering wheel that is weighed a bit too lightly for my preference, even in Dynamic mode. Drive modes are easily selectable through a pair of buttons, though they are small and require that you look away from the road to find them at the bottom of the centre stack.

The quattro AWD uses a variable central differential that delivers 60 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels under normal conditions, but can vary torque up to 70 per cent at the rear and 85 percent at the front depending on the amount of traction available.

My tester is equipped with the optional electronically adjustable Dynamic Ride Control suspension, ceramic brakes and firmer sport steering. In Comfort mode the suspension is comfortably compliant, providing an everyday friendly ride. Switching to Dynamic mode firms it up enough to reduce body lean to almost nothing, though it does send jarring jolts through the seats on sharp bumps, exacerbated by the optional low-profile 275/30R20 tires (265/35R19 tires are standard). Of course, the beauty of the system is that if you find the suspension too firm, yet prefer the throatier exhaust note, and more aggressive throttle and transmission mapping of Dynamic mode, you can select Individual mode and fine tune your settings.

The interior also exudes high performance, with firm yet supportive leather front bucket seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, aluminum pedals and Audi’s configurable virtual cockpit instrumentation. A 1.5-cm longer wheelbase adds a bit more room inside, and there’s 2.6 cm more shoulder room up front, and 2.3 cm more knee room for rear passengers. But don’t kid yourself; this isn’t a family sedan and you should only allow adults you don’t really like back there – it’s tight. There’s also 11 litres more trunk space at 465 litres.

Among the standard driver aids are adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, park assist, and there’s also optional torque vectoring to assist cornering.

The smaller turbocharged engine and automatic transmission might put off some driving purists, but they should know that the 2018 RS5 Coupe gives up nothing in terms of driving pleasure, and is now a faster, lighter and more engaging car. The new Audi RS5 Coupe will be arriving at dealers in the first quarter of 2018, with pricing to be announced closer to its launch date.

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