Andrew Muzamhindo Analyst
The 2019 Audi RS5 Sportback is eye-catching. This is a toy for rich individuals. It will cost you at least US$340 000 to land it in Zimbabwe. It is eye-catching.
Everything on it is neatly-tucked proportionally. Its crisp lines are resonated by a best-in-class interior. Audi’s ergonomics are superb — the flat-bottomed steering wheel settles comfortably in your palm. There is a wide range of adjustment for the seat and wheel.
Front seats combine extravagant bolsters with heating, cooling and massage functions which make them ideal for long drives and the odd countryside road blast.
I can safely say no one knows how to do the interior of a car better than Audi. Those who have driven Audis will testify.
The RS5 Sportback is embedded with premium materials such as Alcantara, perforated real leather, carbon fibre and textured metal look and feel plush, meshing
beautifully with high-tech digital elements throughout the car.
Ride up front and you should be happy with a good amount of head and leg room, but bigger or taller individuals could feel a little enveloped in the back. A
steeply raked roofline cuts into overhead space for backseat riders, though considerate touches such as three-zone air con with rear climate controls help you
A hatchback tail makes the Sportback much more practical than the coupe, giving you a larger loading aperture for a 480-litre boot that grows to 1 300 litres
if you fold the rear seats down.
There are plenty of toys to play with, including Audi’s excellent virtual cockpit dash and head-up display system, a wireless charging pad for smartphones, and
Audi’s remote-controlled 8,3-inch central infotainment screen with sat nav, a 360-degree camera and in-car Wi-Fi.
While this is Audi’s first four-door RS5, the brand previously offered coupe and convertible variants of the model sold alongside its RS4 wagon. Almost every
element of the new car is undeniably better than the old model. The engine and gearbox might not be counted in that category.
Audi replaced a screaming, soaring naturally aspirated V8 pinched from the mid-engine R8 supercar with a twin-turbocharged 2,9-litre petrol V6. Producing peaks
of 331kW and 600Nm, the compact unit is both stronger and more efficient than its predecessor, which will please many potential enthusiasts.
On the other hand the new engine’s maximum power arrives at a diesel-rivalling
5 700rpm as opposed to the old car’s much more exciting 8250rpm. The V6 sounds flat in comparison to the older model, which may be welcomed by people who do
not want to wake the neighbours (or constabulary) on cool mornings.
The boosted motor is much more efficient than the old V8, with 8,9L/100km fuel economy going up to 11 litres per 100km depending with your style of driving.
The RS5 is quiet and comfortable on the highway and on country roads. Its driver assistance systems work well, the adaptive suspension irons out bumps
impressively, and the general driving experience is one of confident competence.
Unlike brasher rivals, the Audi does not bring a purposeful, in-your-face attitude to every drive. This matches well with Audi lovers. They are defined as “not
in your face individuals who enjoy comfort, speed and luxury.”
They are individuals who are not show-offs. You would not tell whether they are rich or just doing okay in life.
You can drive along quietly, giving passengers and onlookers no clue as to the beast lying beneath the bonnet. Some drivers will appreciate that degree of
discretion, while others will be drawn more to its “sportscar like” performances.
Whichever way you go, there is no doubt the RS5 is a bonafide weapon with peerless traction in its class, allowing it to reach 100km/h in 3,9 seconds before
capping out at 280km/h. Now that is super quick.
Better yet, the RS5 is easy to drive at pace, instilling confidence through sure-footed handling and near-unflappable roadholding in most conditions. Sharp
steering allows you to place the car with confidence, powerful and easily modulated brakes arrest the car with no fuss, and quattro traction helps you deploy
all 331kW with a wanton stomp — no need to tiptoe around the throttle.
It isn’t quite as thrilling as the M3 or C63 but its interior beats the two.
The RS5 ticks a lot of boxes — it is a better everyday car, and one that is happy to blow away the cobwebs at a track day or just for that Sunday morning blast
along Borrowdale Road when there is literally no traffic.